South East Wales

Match day book launch for Cardiff City announcer

Ali Yassine
Image caption After 10 years as an announcer Ali Yassine says he has no plans to stop

Cardiff City's matchday announcer Ali Yassine wants to encourage more people to read as he launches his autobiography.

Was It Something I Said is Yassine's personal view of following and working for the Bluebirds.

He says the idea for the English-language book came after he wrote a shorter Welsh-language version for the Welsh Government's Quick Read Week.

He said he "loved" writing the book to reminisce about events over the years.

"I could have done the book twice as long... remembering the highlights of the last 10 years," he said.

"I talk a lot about the fans, about Cardiff City, but most of the book is my experience, the fun I've had on the tannoy."

Yassine added that he had so many memories not all of them had made it into the book.

"Cardiff had played Ajax from Holland and after all the home fans had left the Dutch were kept behind for their own safety," he said.

"I'm a huge reggae fan and I put on a Bob Marley song, Three Little Birds - and they all started dancing.

"I hadn't realised it was the club's song.

"After that I kept playing reggae numbers as it was distracting the fans from causing trouble and every time I put a tune on 300-400 people were dancing."

Raising a laugh

The TV producer and director, 48, who works with Cardiff City Council as a media adviser, has a home crowd of about 22,000 people at each home game.

He says he always tries to turn a "banal statement into something to smile at" with his announcements.

Even a car blocking another in the car park can raise a laugh, and a football chant.

Paying tribute to Cardiff fans who have passed away is also part of the job.

"They are mentioned in the programme but I like to give them a bit of a biog and then ask for a round of applause, because this is a family club, it's not just about taking people's money."

Over the years there have been quite a few marriage proposals.

"The other is to the men whose wives are in labour. I congratulate them on the fact they have their priorities right - coming to watch Cardiff City - but add they should go home if they want their wives to speak to them again.

"There's usually a cheer when someone is seen running down the steps and everyone knows it's them."

Welsh at Wembley

Yassine got his announcer's job at the club after writing in to offer his services as a manager.

His 'claim to fame' includes being the first announcer to use the Welsh language at Wembley.

"When we got to the semi-final (against Barnsley in the FA cup) I asked if I could speak in Welsh and I did my five minutes bilingually."

The book, published by Y Lolfa, might mark his 10 years as an announcer but he has no plans to stop.

"I'm here until I drop. It's a passion more than a job.

"I'm not the longest serving person here. It's a club that encourages you to stay.

"I started watching when not a lot of black people went along to see matches, let alone played, and there were very few women at a game.

"Usually people start to go along with their family, but my father wasn't interested in football so I went along with friends."

His four children are now fans of the game and he hopes that the book will be enjoyed by people who enjoy football, love Cardiff City and maybe would not normally read.

"As one of the fans says in the book, 'I've had five wives, eight children, but only one football club', and that explains the passion for Cardiff City."

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