I FELT honoured to be the first black player at Everton for many years. That is something they'll respect back home. Also I became the most expensive African player, which is something I'm really proud of too. I think I'm doing pretty well here so far, but we're losing at the moment, which isn't good for me or my team. The pace is incredible - not something I am used to - but I feel I am getting better with every game and I am trying to lose some weight so I can stay fit.
I am still stuck in a hotel, which is boring, however my fiancee has arrived, which is better, and Vinny Samways is new here too and he was staying in the same hotel until last week. The people in Liverpool are lovely. I'm already being recognised when I go out, which I like, though it can be difficult. There was more of that in Belgium, though, where the kids took me as a role-model. However, I miss my friends and family there. I was 16 when I went there and I stayed with foster parents for four years - they kind of became my parents and I miss them a lot.
Nationality: Nigerian. Signed from: Club Bruges, September 1994 ( pounds 3m).
Ronnie Ekelund Southampton
EVERYTHING is different to the way it was at Barcelona. That was such a big club that playing there was like having a job, there was no social life. Yet I was lucky because there was another Danish player, Michael Laudrup, there. But there is a social life at Southampton, which is good as I think it's very important that you have something outside your football - you have to be happy when you go training and not feel like you are going to work. So though I have only been here for two weeks I'm not lonely at all. I learned English at school in Denmark which makes it a lot easier, I have my girlfriend here and the Southampton lads are a nice bunch. We had one golf day and they are always asking if there is anything they can do. The football is also very different. The English style is to go as hard as you can for 90 minutes, but people lose the ball a lot; I think sometimes you play it through too fast. In Barcelona, the pace of the game would change up and down, but here it is full speed all the time - it took a bit of time to get used to it.
Nationality: Danish. Signed from: Barcelona, September 1994 ( pounds 500,000).
Cobi Jones Coventry City
IT'S a great experience to come and play here. In the United States Soccer Federation, everyone wanted to go and play professionally overseas and here, probably the most competitive league, is as good a place as any. I find the very football exciting: it's very direct, but very straightforward and attacking and it's very intense when you have to play two games a week. But I was intent on keeping my own style of football when I came here. I think it's a style that should do well in English games. It has been enjoyable so far and the players are making me feel at home, but I went through a long work- permit problem when I arrived here so I wasn't too happy. At first I was a bit lonely, but now I'm starting to meet people, a little through the rest of the team, but also just from walking round town and having people recognise me, and I've got to the stage when I can pick and choose who I stay in touch with. I miss the warm weather of Los Angeles - and Coventry's not even that bad yet, but I know it's coming. Generally, though, I think I'll enjoy the lifestyle.
Nationality: American. Signed from: United States Soccer Federation, August 1994 ( pounds 300,000).
Nii Lamptey Aston Villa
WHEN I first heard I was coming to England, I was very happy, as were all my family. And I knew about English football from watching it every Sunday. But when I began my first training session, I thought that it was very different. There is a lot of five-a-side and sprinting, whereas in Belgium we had more man-to-man and two-on-one. The way we play is also new to me: in Belgium you try to run with the ball but here you have to run up and down most of the game even without it. It's very different, enjoyable, but not easy to do. I am trying to do it with the help of the gaffer, he is giving me confidence and I'm learning quicker now.
It was hard in other ways at the beginning because I didn't know anybody and everything was new, even driving on the other side of the road. But now I am used to it and all the team, Dwight Yorke, Dean Saunders and Phil King especially, have been very friendly. And I now have a house with my wife and daughter in Birmingham, quite near Dwight Yorke. I miss my family in Ghana a lot, but that was the case in Belgium anyway.
Nationality: Ghanaian. Signed from: Anderlecht, August 1994 ( pounds 1m).
Robbie Slater Blackburn Rovers
GETTING on here has been no problem - I've found people in the North very friendly - but my wife was seven months pregnant when I arrived and she is expecting any day now. I'm still in the hotel, but she's gone back to France to have the baby. I'm lucky in that Chris Sutton and Tony Gale are in the hotel, so we stick together, play snooker together, that sort of thing. However, it is quite different to Lens,where there was a very strong family atmosphere in the club: we used to go to each others' houses and we'd all go out to eat once or twice a week together. It's a bit more business-like here. Everyone's been friendly, but there are limits - I probably prefer it the way it was. But if I miss anything, it's speaking French. An Aussie speaking French always seemed ridiculous, but I loved it. On the pitch, the pace of the game was the first thing that struck me, I thought 'This can't go on', but it did. I think I've handled it OK, but I'm still trying to adapt. If you play in the midfield on the Continent, you get a few touches, but here you really don't.
Nationality: Australian. Signed from: Lens, France, July 1994 ( pounds 300,000).
Ilie Dumitrescu Tottenham Hotspur
WHEN I came here it was very difficult for me but now I am happy and there are no problems. At first there were: with the language, with the driving even, with many things. It was a big change for me as I have lived all my life in Romania. It has been especially difficult learning English because I am a Latin and Romanian is very different. However, I am having lessons and I think I am getting better quickly. I am very happy here as Tottenham is a big, famous club and I have made friends with the players quite easily. It is also good for me to have Gheorghe (Popescu) here as as he is another Romanian. Also I have got two children here with me and my wife and we live in a house which Ossie (Ardiles) found for me near where he lives in Broxbourne. I like the football here very much: English football is strong football, I think the rhythm is better than Italian and Spanish football. However, I am very sorry that we have been losing games, we have very good players here and I think that in the future we will be a very strong team.
Nationality: Romanian. Signed from: Steaua Bucharest, July 1994 ( pounds 2.6m).
Jurgen Klinsmann Tottenham Hotspur
IF YOU come to a different country and you play a team game such as football it is much easier: you just play and after one or two training sessions you feel at home. So settling here has been no problem for me. It would certainly be different if I were in business, for instance, but with sport it is quite easy. The players were all very good, Teddy Sheringham and Ian Walker, for instance, came to see me and checked I had everything I wanted. Every club I've been at has been different, each with its own environment. What I particularly like here is that people always give their best even in training; in France or Italy they take it easy during training, here I can be in competition every day. And I enjoy the matches because it is a very offensive style: all the English teams like to attack. I don't really miss anything, London is such a cosmopolitan city, there are such a lot of nationalities, you can find everything you need. But I do find I am saying the same things all the time, everyone asks for interviews and exclusives. But everything has been said about me that can be.
Nationality: German. Signed from: Monaco, July 1994 ( pounds 2m).
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