The breakdown in the relationship between England footballer, Dele Alli and his birth parents became public knowledge last August when the 20-year old Tottenham Hotspur FC rising star decided to ditch his surname ‘’Alli’’ on the back of his shirt saying he felt “no connection” to the name.
Now his parents, though divorced, have teamed up to speak publicly of their despair and desperation to restore relationship with their estranged son who was last season’s PFA Young Player of the Year award winner.
Kehinde Alli,47, a Nigerian, met Denise, 53 in 1995 in Milton Keynes while he was a postgraduate student at De Montfort University; they married Dele came a year later, joining two older children of Dennis. The marriage ended three years later.
Denise and Kehinde want Dele Alli back in the family
Kehinde got a job in Canada in 2000 but visited the UK regularly and supported Denise and all the children as the couple stayed close.
Kehinde who is now a successful executive returned to Lagos, Nigeria with then eight year old Dele where he lived and attended a £20,000-a-year international school. When work demand took Kehinde to Houston, Texas, He was not going to leave his boy behind; Dele was the groomsman at his Dad’s wedding to his wife, Lola in 2006.
Dad’s wedding in Houston Texas
When Dele’s talent for football began to show forth, his father let him returned to England aged 11 to pursue his passion. “It was hard for me to let him go but I knew it was the best thing for him and his ambition,” Kehinde said.
Dele returned to Milton Keynes and lived with Denise while playing for junior side City Colts; youth scouts from MK Dons soon spotted and at 13, Dele began training at MK Dons five days a week.
“For convenience, he began staying at his best friend’s house during the week, before coming home at weekends. It was hard to let him live away from home, but we did not have a car and I was finding it hard to get him to training myself.’’ Denise said while also denying allegations that Dele’s friend family adopted him due to her alcohol abuse.
Dele’s parents were not invited when he signed his first professional contract for MK Dons, aged 16 and his £60,000-a-week big move to Tottenham in February 2015.
Denise recalled the last time in 2015 when she saw him leaving: “He was in great spirits and said, ‘I love you mum’. I had no idea that would be the last time I would see him. It still leaves me shocked.”
Dele gradually withdraw from family, return home less and changed his phone number, missed family events and finally cut contact completely.
Kehinde, an oil and gas entrepreneur says: “Not being able to see or speak to him hurts a lot. His brothers and I watch all his games on TV and they ask me, ‘Why won’t he see us?’
“Dele has apparently told his sister I was never there for him growing up, but I can’t understand that. He lived with me for years and I have always been there for him both emotionally and financially.
“Up until he was an adult I paid for every holiday he ever went on and all his costs. I bought him his first car when he passed his driving test. Now he is turning his back on the family who love him.”
Dele Alli growing up in Lagos Nigeria
Denise on her part once stood at the entrance of Tottenham’s White Hart Lane stadium after a match last year to speak to Dele but instead of stopping to speak to her he simply walked to his car.
Tearfully she recalled the sad day: “I didn’t have a ticket for the game but I went to the ground because I wanted to try and see Dele. I waited outside after the match and when Dele came out, I quietly said to him. ‘Dele… it’s me… your mum’.
“He didn’t stop. He just looked at me, said he was busy and drove off. I was in tears, it was heart breaking. “Some fans who had overheard asked if I was really his mum and why he was treating me like that. I told them, ‘I just don’t know’.”
“When I got home I had a call from a man who said he represented Dele. He accused me of shouting to Dele, which I didn’t, and said if I tried to do it again I’d be banned from the ground for life. It was horrible.”