With foreign players joining English football in their numbers during the summer and January transfer windows, Tom Page takes a look back at one of the first foreign signings ever to play in the North-East.

Hartlepool United currently have such foreign imports on the books as Fabio Yantorno, the Uruguayan midfielder, and Icelandic striker Armann Bjornsson.

However, before the South American and Nordic men joined Pools, their first non- EU signing was an Egyptian forward known as Tewfik Abdallah, who was also known as Tawfik or Abdullah.

Abdallah started his career at his home town club of Al Ahly Sporting Club, but he decided to follow the fortunes of another Egyptian import into the English game.

Forward Hassan Hesazi was the first to travel north to England as he joined non-league Dulwich Hamlet FC in 1911.

It was another 12 years until Abdallah graced these shores, and his first stop would be Derby County.

There, he played 15 games, scoring one goal before he left for Scottish side Cowdenbeath and a loan spell in Wales at Bridgend Town. While in the Valleys, he scored 15 goals.

His striker’s instinct was enough for the then manager of Pools, David Gordon, to snap up the services of the inside forward and he moved on trial in March 1924, before agreeing to stay until the end of the season.

He made his debut on March 15, 1924, and the 28- year-old lined up with his new team-mates at Victoria Park in a Third Division North tie against Wrexham.

He managed to grab a debut goal and saw his new side win 4-0. He found his chances limited in the first team, and was restricted to another ten games, where he would only taste two more victories and no more league goals during the rest of the season.

Abdallah moved on to the US the next season, where he found more success with Providence Clamdiggers, scoring 24 times in 62 appearances.

Since Abdallah in 1922, there has been an influx in foreign players and notably more Egyptians have joined Abdallah in playing in the region.

There have been big names such as Mido, Mohammed Shawky and Ahmed Elmohamady, who have plied their trade with Middlesbrough and Sunderland respectively during the past ten years, and the North-East has proven an interesting prospect for North African footballers.

He might not have made the impact to become a Hartlepool icon, but he does go down in the history books for United for being the first non-European player to don the blue and white stripes.

• If you have any memories of Tewfik Abdallah, write to Echo Memories.