Tony Bloom was a quietly impressed observer on the day Simon Adingra shone when playing AGAINST Albion.

It was at their training base in Lancing, on a hot and sultry summer's afternoon which turned unexpectedly chilly when the sun dropped and the wind got up.

Adingra was playing for Union St-Gilloise, the team he had joined on loan after signing for the Seagulls.

It was the first friendly of pre-season. Time to look for clues. What are the new boys like?

Most eyes that evening were on what Julio Enciso would offer in attack.

Will Deniz Undav score goals? How might Michal Karbownik do in midfield? What about Kacper Kozlowski?

Could Matt Clarke or Jan Paul van Hecke make an impression on Graham Potter in defence?

Van Hecke, looking somewhat less cultured than he does now, certainly left an impression on a couple of opponents.

Adingra lined up on the left-hand side for USG and was quiet – for a while.

Then he played his way into the game.

“His pace and direct running are a handful for the Albion back three,” we reported in our in-game updates.

Adingra caught the  eye. He fired way off target early in the second half but we told readers: “You can see why he was feeling confident enough to try it!”

It was promising stuff, both for Albion and for USG, and Bloom had a knowing smile when it was pointed out that his signing in the opposition team looked a prospect.

Adingra went on to star on the Union wing even more so than his predecessor Kauro Mitoma had done.

Three teams were virtually neck-and-neck at the top going into an extraordinary final day of the league season.

Adingra scored against Club Brugge to take USG to within touching distance of the title – before it all went wrong in the last few minutes even as the title trophy was being rushed via helicopter to their stadium.

That agonising afternoon will maybe have made glory in Abidjan all the more special.

He knows all too well that football is quite happy to rip up fairy-tale scripts.

Union, heartbroken that afternoon, are currently ten points clear at the top of the table while Adingra is flying high for club and country.

Even then, he must have wondered what the next few weeks held as he left Selhurst Park with a hamstring problem, while most of our attention was on Mitoma heading to the team bus on crutches.

Albion do it right with their international players.

Team-mates sent good luck messages to Adingra via the club’s social media channels before the final versus Nigeria.

They were quick to congratulate him at full-time – on the win, the assists and his young player of the tournament award.

The club's welcome for Alexis Mac Allister after the World Cup was noted back in Argentina.

Equally, they will be delighted to have a champion of Africa in their ranks.

Mac Allister in Qatar, Adingra in Abidjan. Lewis Dunk in Germany next?

That is the dream. It might be asking too much – of England certainly.

But, after what Ivory Coast have done, it feels like everything is possible.

How Simon Adingra’s fairy tale developed….

Dec 21: Adingra makes his 15th consecutive start for Albion but is taken off at half-time in the 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. 

Dec 27: Roberto De Zerbi confirms Adingra suffered a hamstring injury at Palace and says he is likely to be out for four to five weeks.

Jan 2: Speaking after a 0-0 draw at West Ham, De Zerbi says: “If Adingra plays for Cote d’Ivoire, I’m the first fan of Cote d’Ivoire.” But he stresses Adingra and Kaoru Mitoma, away with Japan, must first be fully recovered from injuries.

Jan 3: Adingra and Sebastien Haller both miss the first day of Ivory Coast training in San-Pedro. They do their own work away from the squad in the hope they will be able to play some part in the knockout stages. Both miss the friendly versus Sierra Leone a couple of days later.

Jan 13: Ivory Coast kick off with a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in the absence of Adingra and Haller.

Jan 16: Adingra returns to training with the squad.

Jan 18: Adingra and Haller are still ruled out as Ivory Coast lose 1-0 to Nigeria.

Jan 22: Adingra gets on towards the end of a 4-0 defeat by Equatorial Guinea while Albion fans are gathering at the Amex for the match against Wolves. It looks like he will be back in England soon – probably for the next game, at Luton.

Jan 22: Later in the evening, a first lifeline arrives as Ghana concede twice in injury time to draw 2-2 with Mozambique and finish third on two points, one fewer than Ivory Coast.

Jan 24: Ivory Coast head coach Jean-Louis Gasset is sacked.

Jan 24: That evening, Zambia lose 1-0 to Morocco which means Ivory Coast make it through after all, as the fourth-best third-placed team. They can thank a goal by Hakim Ziyech.

Jan 29: Adingra goes on as sub and plays through extra-time as his team beat Senegal in a shoot-out.

Feb 3: While Albion are beating Crystal Palace 4-1, Adingra gets on after 86 minutes with his team 1-0 down to Mali, scores on 90 and helps them win it in extra-time.

Feb 7: With four players ruled out by injury, Adingra starts and helps win the semi against DR Congo.

Feb 11: Victory in the final with a man-of-the-match performance and two assists, the second of them to set up Haller for the winner. That lonely hotel room in San-Pedro feels a long way away.