Un homme magnifique
Le Grand Entretien: Mark Williams et Peter Davies parlent avec un homme qui nous adorons
Background: Emad = Cult Man.
Setting: The Queen Hotel, Chester. Emad has a cup of tea (avec du lait et des sucres - les deux). He's wearing a white jumper, baggy forn trousers and is sporting a black woolly hat.
First of all, thank you for agreeing to do this interview…
'It's no problem at all - I'm happy to do it because you are fans of Wrexham.'
How are you finding life in Britain?
'It's a nice country. I like England and I like Wales. I've just been walking in the mountains of Snowdonia and it was wonderful. I like Wrexham as a town - the team is good, as are the fans.'
How would you compare French and British football?
'They're different! In France we keep time more and the game is played at a slow pace. In Britain the game is played very quickly. I think I still need to adapt to this. There are also too many games in this country. In France we play one game per week; here it's usually two. I feel OK with this, but I still need to adapt.'
You've been in and out of the Wrexham first team…
'You're right, I have been in and out of the side and I don't really know why. I'm an individual and I've got to learn more about the British game. I can be very dangerous when I'm going forward but I also need to learn how to keep the ball and play as part of a team.'
How are you when you're left out?
What does the manager say?
'He explains things to me and I respect his choice. The team have had a lot of good victories recently, with new players in the side, and that is good.'
There have been rumours that Flynn and yourself have fallen out. True?
'Not at all.'
How do you view Flynn?
'He's a very good coach and manager. He's got many qualities and I respect him a great deal. I talk to him a lot and I am getting to know him very well. I didn't know of him before I came here but I'm now aware of his playing career and his strengths as a manager; and, as I said, I have great respect for him.'
How would you describe yourself as a player?
'I like to go forward and I like to do exciting things - but I must learn to stay back on some occasions. It's about tactics and I need to adapt.'
You have got a contract until the summer. What then?
'I want to stay but it's the manager's decision. Football is a strange game to predict!'
You've played most of the time at left-back but most fans seem to think that you're more an attacker than a defender…
'Well, left-back isn't my real position. In France I've played as a forward and a midfielder as well.'
Are you happy at left-back then?
'Yes and no.'
Where would you like to play - ideally?
'Anywhere on the left. I'm a natural left-sided player and I enjoy having the opportunity to play upfield. I suppose I prefer a more attacking role to playing in defence.'
How did your move to Wrexham come about?
'Well, I had a trial at Cambridge United but when I joined them they were having a tough time in the league and I didn't speak English. Cambridge really needed players quickly - players who could adapt swiftly to the situation they were in. Later, my agent contacted Brian Flynn. He told the manager that I'd played at left-back when I was 15, 16, 17, but that I had also played in midfield and attacking roles.'
What about the language barrier?
'It has been a big problem. When you don't speak English it can be very difficult - on the field and off the field. Sometimes it's frustrating; at other times it's not. But it's something I've got to live with.'
You must know that the fans love you. When you hear the 'EMAD EMAD' chants how does it make you feel?
'Very good - it helps my morale.'
How would you compare soccer fans in Britain and France?
'In France they're very quiet - tranquille. In Britain it's really really different! Wrexham have very good supporters.'
Merci beaucoup Monsieur!