Who are ya? Noe Sissoko

Name: Noe Sissoko
D.o.B: 2nd June 1983

Previous Clubs: Stage Malian of Bamako (Mali – 1998-2000) Olympic Club of Bamako (Mali – 2000 – 2004), Dreux (France – 2004), US Créteil-Lusitanos (2004/05), Swansea (2005)

After flying into the United Kingdom at the beginning of the month, only to check-out just days later for ‘personal reasons’, a move for Sissoko, a man whose very identity has been rife in messageboard speculation since a ‘French midfielder’, seemed to be over as soon as it had begun.

Image courtesy of the Notts County Official site
Gudjon gets his man
Another flight into the country a few weeks back saw the 6"4 man-mountain witness his first piece of Notts County action, as he was a spectator for the 2-1 victory over Shrewsbury Town. And from there on in, the deal – although we didn’t know it – was as good as done.

Still, little is known of the man, the legend that is Noe Sissoko. Until now, that is . . .

Much like his new Notts teammate Eugene Dadi, Sissoko is an African-born player who moved to France to learn his trade, and to break into the professional game. It is there where the similarities end, however.

Hailing, originally, from the country of Mali on the west coast of Africa, a state that gained freedom from France forty-five years ago, Sissoko is one of a whopping sixteen siblings – including Liverpool’s Mohamed Sissoko.

Whilst Mohamed moved away from his native Mali at the age of 13 to pursue a career with Auxerre, Valencia and, later, Liverpool, Noe was left to concentrate on football in Mali’s domestic league. Whilst his much-famed younger brother brushed shoulders with a who’s who of Europe’s best young talent, Noe was to bide his time with two of his hometown’s local sides, Stage Malian and Olympic Club of Bamako.

Spending six years with the two Bamako clubs – a town situated on the banks of the River Niger, Sissoko would finally get his chance in Europe with a move to French side FC Dreux before being moved on oncemore to French second-tier side Créteil. This, however, not before the player was subject to an intensive period of inspection and analysis from coach Jean-Michel Bridier prior to the player signing on a free transfer around Christmas ‘04.

'Little Mo' Sissoko
The player, then 21, signed a deal that was set to keep him at the Paris-based club until the summer of 2007, with his new employees regarding the player as one with sufficient ability to go on to represent his native Mali at international level.

That dream, however, never materialised; and despite a respective 1,400€ weekly wage along with a lucrative ‘victory bonus’ of 300€ per game, Sissoko would later terminate his contract with the club at his own request, having served just nine months of the original thirty-one agreed.

After leaving his home country amidst doubts of whether or not he had the capabilities to ‘make it’ on the continent, the player could so easily have given up and been swept into obscurity, paling under the shadow of success of his somewhat more successful, younger sibling.

Sissoko, as reflected in his combative attitude on the field, is made of sterner stuff, however.

A tough-tackling, no-nonsense man on the pitch and the class clown off it, Sissoko, determined to prove his doubters wrong, made the short trip across the channel to play for a contract in the English game, notably with then League One leaders Swansea City.

He impressed sufficently to be offered a three-month deal by the Welsh outfit, but - due to problems with his partner's work permit - had to reject the offer and return home.

Sissoko would return to France for the turn of the year, before receiving the call from Gudjon Thordarson. The rest, as they say, is history.

Things, however, are never that straight forward, as the club learnt when – after the player was scouted by numerous other English clubs – Notts made an initial swoop for the player at the beginning of January. Sissoko, however, failed to attend for his trial period due to ‘personal reasons’ despite having already flown into the United Kingdom.

As if more steel were needed . . .
The deal, after that, seemed dead, with a disappointed Gudjon speaking of another seemingly fruitless transfer endeavour.

A few weeks on and, out of nowhere, the club’s official website announced the signing of the highly-rated 22-year old after the player signed a deal that would keep him with the club till the end of the current campaign.

With his match fitness way down on the rest of the squad, Sissoko featured for all of forty-five minutes in a specially arranged run-out at Rushden & Diamonds today, a game that saw star-studded Magpies second-string run out 2-0 victors, with Steve Scoffham and Stacey Long with the goals.

Whilst the player is expected to be named in the squad for Saturday’s visit of Grimsby Town, it seems highly unlikely that Sissoko will be in from the start. With the midfield set-up of David Pipe, Mike Edwards and fellow new-boy Lee Crooks looking a hard trio to dislodge given the side’s recent run of form, Noe will simply have to bide his time. Something which, given his rotten luck at a host of clubs world-wide, he should have few objections to.

Noe will don the number 18 shirt vacated by defender Adam Tann last month.

For an in-depth look at all of Gudjon’s transfer activity, click here.

For word on Sissoko’s league debut for the club, be sure to check back to Notts County MAD over the weekend.