READING, England (AFP) - From fish and chips to Mr Bean, Andre Bikey has embraced the local culture with enthusiasm since joining Premiership newcomers Reading on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow.
But what the Cameroon defender likes most about life in England is not feeling the need to carry a gun for his own protection from racist thugs, as he did while living in the Russian capital.
Bikey has played a key role in helping turn Reading into surprise candidates for a UEFA Cup place in their first season in England's top-flight.
Now, the former Espanyol centre back is hoping his performances will persuade manager Steve Coppell to take up the option of a permanent 1.5-million-pound deal that would allow him to turn his back on Moscow for good.
"I still have three years left on my contract with Lokomotiv but I don't want to go back there," Bikey told AFP. "I'm happy at Reading and want to stay long-term.
"There's a different mentality living in Russia and it's very hard to live there being black. I have a gun for protection. You can get hurt out there. I nearly got badly injured once when three men followed me but I ran away and got into a taxi.
"Friends of mine have been attacked in the street. It can be a very frightening place to live."
In contrast, Bikey and his Portuguese wife have settled quickly in Reading, a fast-growing town an hour to the west of London, and he feels equally at home on the pitch.
"The Premiership is much more physical than anywhere I have played before," he said. "You can go in hard on opponents without giving away a free kick every time you make a tackle.
"The games are much more exciting and every week you are playing in front of packed stadiums.
"In the past I have not stayed anywhere very long. I played in Spain for Espanyol for one year and then moved to Portugal for six months.
"I have played in Russia for the last couple of years but this is the best football I have played.
"I love the English people and I love their humour. In Russia people take themselves too seriously but over here you are encouraged to laugh.
"I have always enjoyed watching English comedy programmes on TV - Mr Bean is the best. He is a crazy man. I bought the DVD as soon as I came to Reading and watch it every day after training.
"I love the food too. I had never had fish and chips before I came but now I eat them all the time.
"Reading feels like home. At the moment I am only on loan but I would love to stay for good."
Still only 22, Bikey has set his sights on emulating the achievements of the likes of Didier Drogba, but he very nearly missed out on the chance to make an impression on Coppell when he was sent off for head butting an opponent during Reading's pre-season tour of Sweden, when he was still on trial.
Bikey recalled: "What I did in Sweden was stupid and had it not happened I would have signed full-time. Thankfully the manager gave me another chance and hopefully I am rewarding him with my performances.
"Reading are a great club and at the start of the season we just wanted to stay in the Premiership. Now we are safe for next season the objective is to get more.
"It would be fantastic for the club in the first season in the Premiership to make Europe and that is what we are striving for."
The tough-tackler is also hoping he will soon be flexing his muscles in the Cameroon national side after being forced to miss their latest African Nations Cup qualifying games because his work visa had expired.
"That was unfortunate but there will be other opportunities to play for my country," he said. "I spoke to the manager and he was very understanding.
"It has always been my ambition to play for Cameroon and moving to England has helped raise my profile in the national team.
"We have a lot of players to chose from so you have to be playing regularly in one of the major leagues to get noticed. That is extra motivation for me to do well with Reading."
|Rivals scared of Ibrahimovic, says United team-mate Herrera|
|Schmeichel pays tribute to Ranieri|
|Yaya Toure wants to play with Neymar and Coutinho|
|Mourinho: It´s more difficult to win now|
|I didn´t sleep for six days – Conte motivated by last-gasp title loss|
|It all depends on success - Klopp knows trophies are a must|
|Barkley targets finishing above Liverpool|
|Championship Review: Birmingham ease pressure on Zola with derby win|
|Mourinho could start Rooney in EFL Cup final|
|Comeback kid Le Bihan moves Nice level with Monaco|
|Leicester job an amazing opportunity - Rowett pitches to replace Ranieri|
|Deschamps free to pick Benzema, Le Graet reveals|
|Valencia request new time for Barcelona fixture|
|Rabona-fide brilliance! Watch Kovacic´s marvellous strike in Real Madrid training|
|Hull´s Silva cools Hernandez CSL rumours|
|Frustrated Allardyce accepts Palace players are struggling|
|Sampaoli tells Sevilla to learn from Real Madrid errors in ´most important game of the year´|
|Raiola ready to cut off Balotelli´s tongue after latest red card|
|My dream died after Leicester sack - Ranieri|
|Schalke sign Bentaleb from Tottenham|
|Puel welcomes Mkhitaryan´s EFL Cup final absence|
|Arsenal chairman concedes Gunners are playing for pride against Bayern|
|Melbourne City 1 Sydney FC 3: Bobo double helps leaders back to winning ways|
|Kohler refuses to write off Gotze|
|Ranieri will be remembered in 2,000 years, says Mancini|
|You don´t owe anyone - Henry tells Rooney to make China move if it makes him happy|
|I was not an Italian spy! - No ulterior motive for Conte in Eddie Jones meeting|
|Inter coach Pioli expects tight Roma clash|
|Mourinho: Leicester should name stadium after Ranieri|
|Conte: Ancelotti the best Italian coach in the world|
|Carrick in, Mkhitaryan out for Manchester United in EFL Cup final|
|Klopp compares Ranieri sacking to Trump, Brexit triumphs|
|Ranieri did not lose Leicester dressing room, insists Shakespeare|
|Conte willing to risk sack to lead Chelsea to Premier League glory|
|Disapponting for managers around the world - Premier League bosses react to Ranieri sacking|
|Ribery ready for Bayern Munich comeback|
|Celtic fined for Manchester City crowd trouble|
|Vardy´s goal decline and Mahrez´s assist struggles: The Opta stats behind Ranieri´s Leicester demise|
|Bayern boss Ancelotti vows never to repeat middle finger gesture|
|Medel urges Sanchez to quit Arsenal for Inter|
|Europa League draw: Manchester United to play Rostov, Lyon v Roma|
|Aubameyang dry spell worries me - Tuchel|
|Varane a doubt for Napoli as Real Madrid confirm muscle injury|
|Leicester job favourite Mancini: I am sorry for my friend Ranieri|
|Allegri welcomes back Bonucci following apology|
|Montella targets lengthy AC Milan stay|
|Lineker cries after Ranieri is sacked|
|Ranieri sacking ´the biggest shock in a decade´|
|Wenger ´witch-hunt´ has gone too far, says Bilic|
|Lewandowski better than Benzema, Suarez, Costa - Matthaus|
|Sticks and Stones may break my bones - Man City defender unhurt by criticism|
|Atletico Madrid v Barcelona: Simeone´s men primed to land on punch-drunk Barca|
|Pogba no machine like Messi or Ronaldo, says Mata|
|Oxlade-Chamberlain adamant Arsenal ´more than capable of competing for title´|
|Monaco star Falcao was almost lost to baseball|
|FC Dallas 4 Arabe Unido 0: Champions League semis beckon for Americans|
|No gratitude in football - Spalletti saddened by Ranieri sacking|
|Alli not to blame for Tottenham´s Europa League exit - Pochettino|
|Mourinho pays tribute to axed Leicester boss Ranieri|
|Europa League Review: Spurs crash out, Stindl stuns Fiorentina, Lyon destroy AZ in record-equalling|
|Bastia punished over Balotelli abuse|
|Eriksen blames Tottenham´s shock Europa League exit on poor finishing|
|Ranieri sacking a brutal reminder of football´s necessary lack of sentiment|
|Tottenham 2 Gent 2 (2-3 agg): Alli sent off as Kane own goal sends Spurs out|
|Jokanovic signs new Fulham deal|
|Serie A top three setting ´incredible´ pace, says Eder|
|Ranieri sacked by Leicester City|
|Coutinho: Klopp lets us do whatever we want|
|Lampard to be honoured with Chelsea tribute|
|Bolasie set for second knee surgery|
|Rooney rejects Chinese fortune to stay at United|
|Falcao has silenced his critics - Jardim|
|Clement backs Mawson to shackle Chelsea stars ahead of ´special´ Stamford Bridge return|
|Happiness more important than money - Bacca rejects new China approach|
|Lewandowski the perfect number nine, says Jancker|
|Digne tips PSG for fifth consecutive Ligue 1 title|
|Cedric thinks Euro 2016 final will help against Manchester United|
|Infantino praises progress on Qatar 2022 worker conditions|
|Manchester United have strength in depth to win quadruple, says Young|
|Ibrahimovic on PSG´s Barca victory: Win or lose, they talk about me|
|Robbery, Thiago irreplaceable at Bayern - Matthaus|
|Griezmann will ´definitely´ join Manchester United, claims Petit|
|Manchester United selling Rooney now would be odd - Neville|
|Rooney named China´s fifth most popular player, Ronaldo on top|
|Payet always loved Marseille - Digne|
|Arsenal midfielder Cazorla set to miss rest of season|
|Alba wants Isco at Barcelona|
|Bilic worried injuries will derail Carroll´s England hopes|
|Aguero ability was never in doubt for Fernandinho|
|Nani thigh injury tempers Valencia´s Real Madrid joy|
|Matip confident Liverpool will make top four|
|Rooney still has the quality to play in Europe, says Bilic|
|Koscielny wants Wenger to stay at Arsenal|
|Pogba record will soon be broken - Kahn|
|Ramos hurting but calm after Real Madrid´s Valencia setback|
|De Boer would love to manage in the Premier League|
|Wenger criticism is impossible - Nasri defends embattled Arsenal boss|
|It´s good to talk - Sagna urges better communication from Manchester City defence|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Vargas scores as Tigres UANL are held|
|Jovetic: We were much better than Leicester|
|Victory star Berisha set to debut for Kosovo|
|Pjaca keen for more chances after first Juve goal|
|Allegri hails ´champion´ Alves|
|´Going to China? Madness´ – Keane urges Rooney to stay in Europe|
|Nuno rues Telles red as Porto retain hope|
|Socceroos to host Brazil in Melbourne|
|Sampaoli rues Schmeichel heroics|
|Sevilla president unimpressed by ´unjust´ winning margin|
|Allegri praises Pjaca for attitude change|