WATN - Efe Sodje
Sodje arrived in British football with Stevenage Borough. He spent three years in the non-league with Boro, making 40 appearances, before newly promoted league side Macclesfield Town paid £30,000 for his services in 1997.
Macclesfield was where he made his name, and where he had the faithful of an entire club in awe. He made 85 starts for the Cheshire club in just two years and was a massive favourite at Moss Rose before his departure for Luton Town on a free transfer in summer 1999.
Sodje's time at Luton was less impressive. He spent just one year at Kenilworth Road, during which time he was shipped out to Colchester on loan.
After being released by Luton Town, Sodje signed a three year contract at Gresty Road and was instantly a firm first choice in the heart of the Alex defence. His red & white bandanna and no nonsense defending helped endear him to the Alex faithful and it wasn't long before Sodje was a fans favourite.
In his first season at the Alex he made 37 appearances as he also broke into the Nigeria national side. His second season was to prove to be a major year in Sodje's career. Despite playing in a side relegated from the Championship that year, he'd proven himself enough to be included in Nigeria's squad for the World Cup 2002. He became the first player to represent Crewe Alex at a World Cup as he made two appearances - one against Argentina and one against England. In both games he was played in a unfamiliar position of right back but still managed to be one of Nigeria's best players at the tournament.
He returned to league football to an almost hero's welcome when Crewe travelled to Northampton, with both Crewe and Northampton fans and officials looking to meet and talk to Sodje. The extra media coverage and hype may have taken it's toll on Sodje though. In a season where the Alex romped to promotion back to the Championship, Sodje became a bit of a yo-yo player. From the middle of the season he struggled to hold down a regular place and soon had to settle for a spot on the bench, and when he did get his chance he was red carded inside 20 minutes in a home game against promotion rivals Wigan Athletic.
With his contract up at the end of the season it came as no surprise, but with much disappointment from some sections of support, that Sodje left the club.
Sodje went on to join Huddersfield that summer. It was a familiar story too, whilst their fans were cautious of their new signing it was just a matter of weeks before they were singing his praises and selling bandannas in the club shop. Huddersfield were just the latest club to taste Sodje-fever.
Between 2003-2005 Sodje made 70 appearances for the Yorkshire club and helped them to promotion from League Two in 03-04. Before the end of the 04-05 season though, and after three red cards that season, Sodje signed on a free for Yeovil where he won his second promotion from League Two in as many season.
He spent just a year at Yeovil before joining Southend on a free. Despite 18 months at Roots Hall though, Sodje only managed 34 league starts and his move to Gillingham in the summer of 2007 came as no real surprise. However, it turned out to be one of Sodje's poorest moves. A managerial shake-up saw him fall out of favour at Gillingham after just 12 league starts and in February 2008 he joined his current club Bury on loan. Where he is undoubtedly a fans hero...