West Brom striker Brown Ideye has revealed the nightmare end to his spell at Dynamo Kiev. In the final months of his successful stay in Kiev, Ideye and his team-mates were caught up in the violent unrest that flared up between the Ukrainian government, opposition protesters and pro-Russian rebels.
Ideye immediately sent his wife and two young children home to Nigeria, but there was no escaping the sounds of the riots and gun battles for him and his colleagues.
“It was very difficult because sometimes we were sleeping and hearing gunshots,” he recalled.
“Sometimes the club had to call us in the middle of the night to come in. A car would come to pick us up and take us to the club-house, where we were safer.
“The club was great security-wise. They made sure they had security in every player’s house. But I still didn’t feel comfortable even with this security.
“I am a God-fearing person and feel if something is going to happen it will happen, even if you have a packed, trailer-load of security.
“I was not sleeping, I didn’t feel good, my family were calling me every day asking ‘are you OK?’
“We would be training and hear gunshots and we would have to go inside to do gym work – not stay out on the pitch.”
The fears for his safety and the enforced separation from his family proved the final straw for Ideye, who made up his mind to leave Ukraine. Albion expressed an interest but it still took the striker a while to convince Dynamo hierarchy to let him leave.
He said: “I played for three years there and after this problem I had a meeting with the president of the team and told him that I wanted to leave.
“Playing in England in the Premier League was my dream. He said ‘OK, if we have a good offer we will let you go’.
“It became difficult because they didn’t want to let me go because it would be difficult for them to have a new striker.
“But I am here now. I just said to him ‘I can’t come back here with my family with the problems here.’ He said he would do anything that would make me happy.”
Ideye’s move to England ticked one major box in his quest for happiness, but his off-field life will remain incomplete until early-December.
That’s when his wife, a trained hairdresser, and their two daughters, aged four and two, finally make the move from Nigeria to his new home in Sutton Coldfield.
He said: “I want to have them here but their school term in Nigeria finishes in the first week of December and pulling them out of school and bringing them here would not be easy.
“Before I left them back home my wife came here and we visited some schools but the terms had already started and they didn’t have space for them.
“We just sat down together and decided it would be better for them to finish the term in Nigeria and then be here for the first week in December, so we can spend as much time together as possible.”