It has been over a decade since cries of ‘Abooooooouuuuuu’ were heard ringing out across Upton Park. The Ivorian-born former France Under-21 international became something of a cult figure in his short time at West Ham, and although he was eventually loaned out to Ipswich Town, Walsall, Troyes and Kilmarnock during his tenure at the Boleyn Ground, he is a character that will live long in the memory of many West Ham fans. But the question still remains, whatever happened to Samassi Abou?
Harry Redknapp once famously said of Abou that;
“He don’t speak the English too good”
So it was probably for the best that after West Ham he found himself back in France playing for AC Ajaccio. He made 60 appearances for the Corsicans before moving on to Lorient for the 2002-03 season, but he surely cannot have been loved more than he was at Upton Park.
Originally thinking he was being booed, Abou soon realised the crowd were chanting his name, especially after a particularly eventful January 1998, where he opened his West Ham account in a 2-1 defeat in a Coca-Cola Cup quarter final against Arsenal. He then went onto grab a brace in arguably his best performance for the Hammers in a 6-0 mauling of Barnsley four days later, before being sent off in an ill-tempered clash at White Hart Lane towards the end of the month. Subsequent to this, Abou only scored three more times for West Ham, with two of these goals coming on the final day of the 1997-98 season, in a 4-3 thriller against Leicester City at Upton Park.
Although he never found the back of the net again for the east London outfit, he managed 5 more appearances for the Hammers before being shipped off on loan to Walsall in October 1999. As for what happened to him, well, after playing for Lorient during the 2002-03 season he dropped off the radar somewhat and besides some fatuous rumours about him being in the vicinity of Basildon, plying his trade as a coach driver, there’s not really much more to go on!
So if you know of the whereabouts of Abou, or just wish to share your memories of the man who made Don King’s barnet look positively stylish, feel free to comment below.
Perhaps Samassi Abou’s Finest Hour in Claret and Blue: