With all the signings the club announced this week, one in particular seemed to capture the attention of the supporters.
David Diedhiou had already established himself as a fan favourite at Clarence Park, in no small part to the passion and desire he brought to the equation every time he stepped on the pitch. So naturally, it was reassuring to know he’d be pulling on the yellow and blue for at least another season when the announcement of his new deal was announced on Wednesday.
That aside, this story has another angle, another reason to be proud. Our towering midfielder has just completed a mammoth 1100 hours of voluntary work for the NHS over the last three months in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and continues his efforts in supporting the community whilst working full time throughout for a major logistics and delivery company ensuring whilst we could not shop, we were still able to get goods delivered to our homes.
“It was just something I felt as though I had to do” explained Diedhiou.
“The sacrifice which everyone at the NHS makes on a daily basis is just staggering and when I broke my finger playing for the club last season, they were amazing. The level of care I received for something so trivial really gave me a new perspective of the job they do, so the decision to volunteer was a easy one”.
“With everything that was going on around the country, hundreds of families being effected by this virus, I knew there was something positive I could contribute to help.”
The club have continuously emphasised the importance of our key workers and praised them continuously through social media but the degree of commitment shown by Diedhiou has taken it to a whole new level, something which doesn’t surprise City manager Ian Allinson.
“To have a full time job, then to volunteer that much time to such a wonderful cause is really just the measure of the man. He’s a very good player, an even better person and I’m glad he’s at St Albans City”.
Having featured 18 times for the Saints last season and with the managers’ praise still ringing his ears, Diedhiou believes the squad being assembled certainly has the potential to make their mark once the new campaign finally begins.
“There’s obviously been a great vibe around the signings and with new faces come new expectations, so we have to focus all that positivity into bringing the squad together and making sure we’re ready to go when he season starts”.
“The manager has a clear vision of how he wants his team to play football and you can see from the additions he’s made that there will be a young, hungry element to it. That’s why I feel having the likes of David Noble, Tom Bender and myself also returning will help provide balance and influence to a side which already boasts an abundance of quality.”
“We believe in ourselves and it’s a great privilege to play for this team, we just have to work hard to translate that potential into results”.
In a world with so much uncertainly, and so much negativity, one thing is for sure; with having a person like David Diedhiou on our side – the privilege is certainly all ours.