The Monday Profile: Anwar Uddin
Uddin is of course well known as a trailblazer among British footballers of South Asian origin, a group that is surely only ready to increase in size over the next few years. Whilst the likes of Harpal Singh, Zesh Rehman and Baichung Bhutia enjoyed bit part roles higher up the pyramid, Uddin’s contributions have been arguably more significant. Having participated in an FA Youth Cup triumph with West Ham, he initially struggled to impose himself, but found a natural home by the Thames Estuary. Barking and Dagenham may have a reputation as troubled borough, but the offensive headlines garnered by the BNP should not overshadow the fact that most of its residents are honest, working people from a cornucopia of ethnic backgrounds.
For it’s hard to think of a purer, more genuine product of the East End than Uddin. Brought up near to Brick Lane – in many ways, Britain’s Ellis Island – he is the sole representative of the Bangladeshi community to have played in the Football League but the fact that he has so far resisted overtures to play for the country of his heritage shows how much of a Londoner he is. His energetic, dominant style caused many a problem for lower league status and his appointment as Daggers captain confirmed his leadership qualities.
Now 28, he has finally closed the book on his unforgettable spell in East London and moved to the leafier pastures of Barnet. A dire start including a 7-0 thumping at Crewe will have provoked jitters but the Bees, seemingly forever scrapping these days and reliant on basket case clubs to occupy the bottom two slots in League 2, have bounced back to record 4 points from 9. At 28, it’s unquestionable that Uddin brings major experience to the table and he’ll be a canny recruit for the North Londoners as they attempt to keep their heads above water.