Ian ‘Moose’ Abrahams chats to London-based Greek Cypriot football journalist Michael Yiakoumi ahead of Thursday’s visit of AEK Larnaca to London Stadium…
There are some fantastic journalists in the Press Box when you go to the game, there are some brilliant characters, and some are just the most friendly and helpful people with some terrific stories to tell.
One of those is a man I’ve known for well over a decade. He is not, by any stretch of the imagination, one of the most famous journalists in this country, but among the Cypriot community in London he is certainly a well-known and much respected figure.
With London being such a diverse and multicultural capital of the world, there are many news outlets for the various diaspora who live in our great city.
Among them is the Greek Cypriot weekly newspaper Parikiaki. My good friend Michael Yiakoumi writes for this publication, which was first printed in 1974 and is based at the Cypriot Community Centre in Wood Green, North London.
With an estimated 300,000 people with Greek and Greek Cypriot heritage living in the UK, the newspaper and its website have grown in the last 50 years and are now available in Greek and English.
Michael oversees the football content and, to his colleagues in the Press Box, is a recognisable, knowledgeable, and extremely friendly character.
“I was born here and I’ve always been a football fan and, as I was living round the corner from Arsenal, obviously they were my team, but when I started doing sports journalism, I actually became more of a neutral actually, because I started following all the clubs,” he told me.
Working as he does for a Greek Cypriot newspaper, I asked Michael how he has enjoyed following players from Cyprus and Greece when they have played in the Premier League and EFL down the years.
“I’m always looking out for the Cypriot players and I always go and watch them play, meet them and speak to them and that’s good for our newspaper because it’s a Cypriot newspaper,” he confirmed.
This makes Michael a very well-connected man.
For example, when Euro 2004 winner and Greece midfielder Giorgos Karagounis was at Fulham between 2012-14, Michael got to know him, and when Sokratis played for Arsenal from 2018-21 it was clear to see their friendship was both professional and also personal.