Matty Hayward – @mattyhayward96
We’ve signed a left-footed centre back, to replace a left-footed centre back. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. His name is Ali Omar, but what’s he about?
I mean, it’s not an exaggeration or a joke to say this man does not have a career; not a football career at least. He’s been on the books at Stevenage, QPR – he had a four-month loan spell at Grantham from QPR, about which there is literally no information online – and Tower Hamlets – whom he captained – before joining Barnsley after a successful trial period in January 2020.
Otherwise, there’s just nothing to say. Omar hasn’t made a first team appearance for any of the professional clubs he’s been on the books of. He played regularly for – and captained – Barnsley’s under 23s as they found their way to fourth in the Professional Development League North (the second tier of English U23 competitions) and was named on the bench for the Tykes’ Championship game at Watford.
View from Previous Clubs
Ali was clearly rated highly at Tower Hamlets – the old stomping ground of Hull’s Randell Williams – whose Facebook page said on his departure:
“We had the privilege of signing Ali Omar as he came out of QPR, he understood our vision and believed in our philosophy. He wore the captain’s armband and led the squad out to many hard-fought battles. In the end the war was won, Ali Omar signed in the January 2020 transfer window to Barnsley and is progressing with every game he plays. We wish you all the best Ali with the venture ahead of you. We look forward to our next gem moving into the professional game”
Most/Least Likely to
Most Likely to
- Have his physicality consistently referred to. I mean, yeah, he’s a big lad. But we needn’t bang on about it; there’ll be more to his game
- Be in competition with a new centre back: Lewis is a presumed starter, and we’ll need to add at least one more defender to the squad who’ll be after Omar’s spot
- Put someone into row Z
Least Likely to
- Shrink. This lad is clearly a leader with a great character, having skippered his two previous teams, and will probably be viewed as a potential long-term successor to Asa with the armband
- Take any nonsense
If you can hear a slightly unpleasant, woody noise in the distance, it’s the barrel being scraped. And I’m sorry about that. The truth is, it’s hard to write anything insightful about someone who has played very little senior football and about whom there is almost nothing written on the internet. I could do a 1,000-worder diligently analysing his introductory photo and extrapolating from nonsense assumptions, but that’d be entertaining for me only.
His experience at under-23 level isn’t completely unimportant, but we know all too well that men’s non-league football is not always right for lads who are good at youth level; it’s not always up their street. This is a classic case of having to trust Gary, Pete, and the hours they spend on Wyscout. It’s clearly a punt on someone unproven, but so was – just for example – Joe Lewis. If anyone can spot a hidden gem at this level, it’s the Johnson Brothers. Trust the process.