The Minder Who Sorted Out Chopra And Barton

Last updated : 11 August 2013 By Footy Mad - Editor

The Moroccan-born multi-lingual Bouskouchi was well used to helping players and their families out of scrapes - and assisting in crises.

lThey have become an increasingly important staff member for clubs, particularly with more foreign players being signed from different cultures. But it is not all lighter moments that people can look back on fondly.
There was a scary incident at Ipswich involving former Toon striker Michael Chopra.

Gangsters claiming they were owed huge sums as a result of his gambling addiction turned up to look for him a couple of winters ago and sources say the player had to be hidden behind a hastily constructed pile of snow to dodge them.

Bouskouchi, now 64, has been involved in many dramas. One infamous incident that did make the front pages was City's 2004 Christmas party when Joey Barton stubbed out a cigar in the eye of a junior player, Jamie Tandy.

Bouskouchi was there, in charge of a security team of five bouncers. He says the confrontation got out of hand when Barton joked he was going to set fire to Tandy's fancy dress sailor outfit. A fight ensued.

'My job is to protect the players' privacy and keep them safe from outsiders,' said Bouskouchi. 'You're not expecting them to start on each other but it happens.' 

The Chopra incident, though, did show that far graver issues also have to be confronted. 'The bottom line for a player liaison is to construct a "no excuse" environment for players.'

Michael Chopra has a long-standing gambling addiction for which he has received help from the Sporting Chance clinic.

In 2011, a trial of a drugs gang in Newcastle heard that Chopra owed £250,000 in gambling debts.

Last year he was found guilty at a British Horseracing Authority hearing of corrupting horse races and profiting from horses losing. He was banned from racing for 10 years.


PLEASE join Newcastle Utd-Mad on Facebook:-