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FEATURE | Living on the peripheries with Louis Saha

When I met Louis Saha in a Parisian nightclub, I made the fatal error of getting too close to him. He spun me, much like he would have done, say, Jean-Alain Boumsong on a misty Saturday at St. James’s Park.

This is generally how I behave when I encounter famous people. I turn into a freak who does freakish things. Basically speaking, I am a freak, but the haze of celebration exacerbates these issues.

What I was trying to achieve in my bacchanalian stupor was to show Louis Saha a picture of himself playing for Newcastle.

I wanted unilateral proof that it really was him. And to prove this, I wanted to show him a photo from one of his lesser known stints in English football.

It turns out that Louis Saha, like most people, does not enjoy being harangued by idiots in his spare time.

The sinistral swingman spun me across the dancefloor, pirouetting all over my hopes and dreams. I often reflect on this encounter with relative shame. I cannot escape Louis Saha.

Even after I stopped living in Paris, the spirit of Louis Saha pursued me. Scores of Louis Sahas occupy my dreams. I run this problem past my doctor who tells me not to worry. I turn around for one moment and my doctor is Louis Saha.

I stagger off the examination table in a frenzy, only to learn that I was lying on Louis Saha this whole time.

While the former Manchester United and Everton striker occupies too much of my time, he never made quite the same impression on the French national team. Saha featured only 20 times for Les Bleus, scoring a modest four goals in the process.

The Parisian born bagsman fell victim to the talent pool of his French generation, falling behind in the pecking order to the likes of Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, and Nicolas Anelka among others.

The same could be said for his time at Manchester United where he largely played back-up to Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

In truth, Saha spent his whole career on the peripheries, and was largely content with his role.

Post career, Louis has dipped his feet into the world of talent management, setting up his company AxisStars in 2018 to help players transition into a world beyond football.

The former Champions’ League winner looks at peace in his new career, just as he did in his former life as a silky striker.

So the next time you approach Louis Saha on his day off, just say something nice to him, a fond memory from footballing folklore perhaps.

Don’t be a freak like this writer, peering through the pince-nez of bygone shame. You will regret it.


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