Eugene Dadi was only at Pittodrie for a brief spell but he enjoyed his time at the club and speaks to us about his love for the club, city and fans of Aberdeen Football Club and hope one day to return to the fans he calls special!
Eugene, when you were a teenager, you attended the Sochaux football academy, do you think this helped you throughout your career?
“Yes, for sure. In the 80’s and 90’s, the Fc Sochaux academy was one of the best in the country (France). I’ve been lucky to learn how to approach the game from this club. Yes It did help me to avoid the traps through my career till here as I am still playing at 37.”
You have had to play football in many different countries over the years but you quit football for 2 years when your father died, this was obviously a difficult time for you?
“Yes, It wasn’t easy to cope with. I think any teenager would have struggled.”
What did you know of Aberdeen as a club and as a city to live in?
“It would have been difficult not to because of his (Sir Alex Ferguson) story. European Cup Winners Cup and his great players etc of 83.”
“The city was just great. But a bit surprising to find out sometimes that the sky was just black at lunch time! I forgot sometimes that a beach was there but, yes a beautiful city.”
“I remember a friend there telling me one day ‘shame Aberdeen were in Aberdeen, it could have been even better!’ with a laugh. I don’t agree now since I left the club- my biggest mistake for doing that!”
What was it like to play under Ebbe Skovdahl?
“It was ok, we had a good bunch of boys and we were enjoying playing together.”
How did the fans treat you?
“Ah the fans, the best I never had! They brought up the first ‘Who’s your Dadi’ chant! The chant that has followed me my whole career. I was special to them I think? They definitely are special to me.”
“When I came back to Pittodrie in a difficult and sad time of my life, they were there for me, they treated me like I never left. That moment was just unforgettable for me.”
One of the highlights of your time at the club was the 2-0 win over Celtic at Pittodrie, what do you remember of this match?
“It was a good game I believe, Celtic came at Christmas time without losing a game in the season up until that point I think. We gave to the fans the nice early Christmas present that they were looking for. Some of them still remind me often on my Facebook page about the incident with me and my former team-mate Bobo Balde during the game, I think they did liked it!”
What did you think of the Old Firm when you played them?
“Enjoyable! It always been good to play them in their stadium. The atmosphere was so good, I’m playing football to enjoy those moments. Playing Celtic was even more special also because I was playing against Bobo. Every striker in the league was scared of ‘the beast’ but me, it was just a former mate from Toulouse. I was always up for it, Really Enjoyable playing against them.”
What was your view of Scottish football in general?
“Very good League, fast and strong. I wish I had played in Scotland before Toulouse; I would have, no doubt been a better player and had a better career in France. It prepares you to the next level.”
You also played in England, did you enjoy the British style of football?
“I am an African born, learned my trade in France and travelled around. My style of play changed when I came in UK, as I was saying about Scottish football, It prepared me for the next level. In England I was ready, I understood, and enjoyed this kind of football. The physical part of it etc.”
What will you remember most from your time at Aberdeen?
“People have been very kind with me from day one from on and off the pitch. I’ll remember also the freezing cold weather and definitively the big club, Aberdeen FC and the fans.”
What have you been up to since leaving the Dons?
“Hoping to come back one day!”
Do you have any interests outside of football?
“I love music, I’ve been trying to learn playing guitar recently and I do love fashion too. I’ve create my own fashion label ‘Uge clothing’. I’ve been busy with it outside of the game.”
What does the future hold for you, any ambitions left in or out of football?
“Hopefully Aberdeen Football club! I’d love to offer my services. Scouting future talents for the Dons, from Africa, Europe and Asia. This is where I wished I had spent the last 22 years of my career. (I hope someone upstairs in the offices read this.) Or the manager Craig Brown. I am here if you want me!”
As featured in the Red Matchday Magazine from Aberdeen Football Club.