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Where Are They Now - Mat Doumbe

The Where Are They Now series travels back to more recent times with Peverell Green taking a look at the career of Mat Doumbe.

MAT DOUMBE - Born 28th October 1979 Drancy, France.

Known to Argyle fans as Matt Doumbe but was born with the much grander name of Mathias Kouo- Doumbe.
He began his football career as a thirteen year old with A.A.S Sarcelles in France, at the same time he was offered a place at Clairefontaine, an elite French training academy which had developed players like Nicolas Anelka, Louis Saha, William Gallas and Thierry Henry, unfortunately for Mat his parents turned down the offer preferring him to concentrate on his schoolwork.

In 1999 Mat moved to Paris St-Germain, while there he was selected to play for the French U-21 team in a game against Romania. He was released from the Paris club at the end of the 2000-01 season after sustaining a serious ankle injury.

Alex McLeish, manager of Hibernian, took a chance on his damaged ankle and signed Mat for the Scottish Premier League side in October 2001, although he didn't play first team football at all that season he was still given a one year deal in June 2002.
He finally made his debut on 18th August 2002 in a 4-2 defeat at home to Rangers with Mat conceding a penalty. During the season a new manager, Bobby Williamson, had taken over at Easter Road and Mat started to make more appearances.
At the end of the season Dundee United offered cash and David McCracken in exchange for him but Bobby turned the offer down. In 2004-04 Mat scored his first goal for the club, in a 2-1 defeat at home to Celtic.
Mat played in the Scottish League Cup final at Hamden Park but his team were beaten by Livingston.
The season ended with Mat out of contract with rumours of Rangers showing an interest for him, that came to nothing and when his old manager, now in charge of Argyle, Mat re-joined Bobby Williamson and moved to the Westcountry in May 2004 on a free transfer.
While at Hibernian he made 54 appearances and scored 2 goals.

Mat made his debut in a first round League Cup match at Yeovil in a game that sticks in the memory of all those who were there. Yeovil took the lead when Lee Johnson, the managers son, had accidently scored while attempting to return the ball to the Argyle goalie. Gary Johnson then sportingly told his players to remain in their places when Argyle kicked off and Steve Crawford walked through the Yeovil players to equalise.
It didn't make a lot of difference though with Argyle losing 3-2 after extra time.

Mat scored his first goal on 28th September in a 1-1 draw at Preston and followed it up in the next away game when he scored in a 1-0 win at Rotherham. Mat's impressive performances led to rumours of Everton being interested in signing him. With Tony Pulis now in charge at Home Park and the emphasis on defence Mat became a regular in the Argyle team.

In 2005-06 Mat hardly missed a game in a defence that conceded only 46 goals in 46 games with only four teams in the Championship conceding less goals, they kept fourteen clean sheets including eight 0-0 draws. Mat scored one goal that season when he got the second in a 3-1 win at home to QPR with Paul Wotton and Nick Chadwick also on the scoresheet.

As expected Tony Pulis returned to Stoke at the end of the season with Ian Holloway arriving for the start of the 2006-07 season. The new manager brought a more attacking style of play with him which meant Mat not playing so many games. The team scored a lot more goals than the previous season though, scoring the same at home (36) as they had for the whole of the previous season, they conceded a lot more, 62 compared with 2005-06, but the fans were happier with the attacking style.

When the 2007-08 season started Argyle were had the feeling this could be the year they finally joined the elite of English football, the charismatic Ollie had built a team capable of beating anyone in the Championship. When they beat Charlton 2-1 at the Valley in front of a midweek travelling Green Army of 2,000 they rose to fourth in the league. As we all know after flirting with a play-off position for most of the season when Ian Holloway left to join Leicester the impetus was gone.
Paul Sturrock returned to the club but the fans hopes and dreams were gone. Mat more or less faded from the first team as the new manager preferred a defensive partnership of Marcel Seip and Kristian Timar.
With Timar not recovered from a serious head injury he picked up in the last game of the previous season at Wolves, loan signing Craig Cathcart was paired with Seip with Mat filling in when he was required.
He did manage to score another goal; he scored the first in a 2-2 draw at home to Charlton with a goal from Emile Mpenza rescuing a point in the dying seconds.

With Argyle struggling Paul Sturrock was replaced by former goalscoring hero Paul Mariner. Even with a new manager Mat still found it difficult to hold down a regular position. Despite having another year to run on his contract at the end of the season he was allowed to have a trial at Millwall. Although that didn't work out his contract was cancelled by mutual consent.
While at Argyle Mat made 142 appearances and scored four goals.

7th August 2009 Mat joined MK Dons and made his debut for them the following day in a 0-0 draw at home to Hartlepool. In his first season he made 39 appearances with the Don's finishing 12th.
The following season Mat made 51 appearances as his club reached the play-offs but were beaten in the semi-finals by Peterborough.
He missed the start of the 2011-12 season due to an ankle injury he picked up in a pre-season friendly, after playing for most of the season he missed the run in at MK Dons again reached the play-offs but were again beaten in the semi-final, this time by Huddersfield.

After playing 28 times in 2012-13 with his contract up Mat was released after making 141 appearances and scoring 12 goals.

In July 2013 he had a trial with Port Vale but despite manager Mickey Adams wanting to sign him Mat and the club couldn't agree terms.
In September 2013 Northampton manager Aidy Boothroyd signed Mat on a one year contract.
He made his debut on 21st September in a 3-0 defeat at Mansfield, it wasn't particularly successful with Mat giving away a free kick for the first goal and scoring an own goal for the third with a spectacular thirty yard volley.
Despite being 34 Mat is still a regular in the Northampton team.

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The Journalist

Writer: Peverell Green Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday January 13 2014

Time: 10:57AM


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