LOCAL MP CUTS THROUGH TCHAMI RED TAPE

Published: 25th August 2000

Dundee United have concluded the signing of Cameroon international striker Alphonse Tchami on a two-year deal. Twenty-nine-year-old Tchami - formerly of Hertha Berlin, Boca Juniors and Al Wasl in the United Arab Emirates - agreed terms with United Manager Alex Smith earlier this week, but was forced to watch his new team mates from the sidelines while awaiting international clearance from the UAE Football Association.

Clearance finally came late on Thursday afternoon thanks to an eleventh hour intervention from Dundee West MP Ernie Ross. Having come up repeatedly against overseas red tape, the Club contacted Ernie Ross yesterday to seek his help. Mr Ross - who has extensive contacts in the Arab world and has helped United on many previous occasions - was able to speak directly to the UAE Ambassador in London and within a couple of hours the matter was resolved.

The MP's intervention means Tchami is likely to make his United debut against Dunfermline on Saturday. "We're extremely grateful to Ernie Ross for his help," said Club spokesman Niall Scott. "We're in no doubt that but for his intervention we would still be trying to get clearance and that Alphonse would probably not have been able to play at Dunfermline."

The red tape dispensed with, Manager Alex Smith has confirmed his new striker will be involved at some stage on Saturday. "We'll be using him and I'm just happy this thing has finally been sorted - it took far longer than it should have," he said. "It's a relief for the boy because I think it has been worrying him for the past few days - but now he can concentrate on his football."