Kayserispor and Cameroon midfielder Landry N’Guemo, who played for Celtic on loan from AS Nancy in the ill fated 2009/2010 season, talked to us earlier in the year about his time at the club, and he spoke about almost joining the Premier League the season before joining the hoops, Bobo Balde, playing alongside Scott Brown and eh, Wikipedia vandalism.
‘Celtic are well known all over the world, and before I joined them I had already knew about them when I was growing up in Cameroon, and when the chance came to move to them on loan I jumped at it. Who wouldn’t ? It was an easy decision! I had almost moved to the UK the season before as a few Premier League clubs were interested in signing me, and I had some talks with those involved, but the moves never materialised, but I was happy to join Celtic, even if it was only on loan’.
N’Guemo was given the number 6 jersey, which was previously Bobo Balde’s, and he said it was an honour. ‘Bobo Balde was a terrific player, so to take the squad number 6 after him was an honour, but there was a lot of pressure with that as well. He was a good man, and a big personality, and I tried to live up to that as much as I could’.
Despite crashing out of the Champions League early that season to Arsenal, Landry was blown away by the atmosphere in that match, and to this day insists that the feeling of walking out of the tunnel at Celtic Park to the deafening noise is something that will stay with him forever, as he remarked ‘That was unbelievable. I won’t ever forget the noise before that game. Walking out of the dressing room, into the tunnel and then onto the pitch with the fans in full voice will always give me goosebumps. Thinking of it now gives me them! It would have been even better if we had won the game of course, but Arsenal were just too strong on the night, but the Celtic fans that night were just great, even at 1-0 down they never stopped backing us. I was thankful.’
Of course, things at the club didn’t get much better after that defeat to Arsenal, and we would crash out of the League cup and blow our chances of wrestling the title from Rangers before the end of 2009, before a disastrous semi final defeat to Ross County at Hampden in 2010, and Landry couldn’t understand how badly they had flopped as he said ‘We had such a talented team. Going forward, the options we had were so good. We had Aiden, Shaun was great, Paddy McCourt was gifted and we had Scotty (Brown) as well. I was sad for the fans, and my team-mates, for how things turned out. Scott Brown was my favourite player to play alongside, and he’s a good man, he was enjoyable to be around when I was at the club and I’m happy that he is enjoying a lot of success at Celtic now. He deserves it.’
Despite being one of the players who came out of the 09/10 season with some credit, Landry returned to France when Celtic and Nancy could not agree a transfer fee for a permanent deal, and that was a regret for N’Guemo who said ‘I was really disappointed with that. I wanted to come back to Glasgow, I enjoyed my time at Celtic, I enjoyed my time in the city, and my family did as well. Why would I not want to join one of the biggest clubs in the world on a permanent deal ? These things happen in football and you have to get on with it, but it’s something I was disappointed with, however it was a real pleasure to play for Celtic in any case'.
We also challenged the Fake News phenomenon and quizzed Landry on his apparent falconry hobby, and asked does he REALLY have a white tailed eagle named after George Weah and he shot that down very quickly! ‘No! Absolutely not! Where did you hear this? It’s definitely not true so someone has too much time on their hands making this up!’
Landry, thanks for debunking this mental rumour, but I am also gutted it is not true.