- There’s no-one like Mo. We’ve become very close, so it’s almost become like a father-son relationship in some respects and it was an honour to be best man at his wedding. I still remember this nine-year-old coming over from Somalia, a lovely lad with a cheeky sense of humour and a beaming smile you couldn’t help but warm to. It wasn’t easy for him to start with. He struggled with the language so found it difficult to pick up what was being said in lessons. Other kids would wind him up and he’d get into fights and trouble in his first year.
He got credibility by playing the joker a bit. His mates would get him to do his lion impression — very good it was too — which would drive the teachers mad. Part of it was just him wanting to fit in.
His running? Wow. We had a race during one lesson and even though he’d head off in the wrong direction once he hit the front, he always effortlessly recovered the lead. It was all so natural; the challenge was to harness it. He didn’t have a passport and the barriers thrown in his way were huge as his schoolboy career took off. I spent countless hours, rowing with officials or untangling red tape, just to facilitate his path.