The news that Akpo, the most volatile Sodje in terms of club movement, had joined Tranmere lit a fire under me to draw up a few numbers about the family Sodje.
They’ve been favourites of mine ever since I first saw Efe playing, which was probably in his Crewe days, all things considered. I was dimly aware of Steve, and then Sam shot to fame at Brentford, and then Akpo joined Huddersfield before things got very Jimiconfused when Onome appeared at York.
They’re a determined bunch and have one thing in common. No matter what you might expect from a Sodje, you’re never entirely sure what you’re going to get.
Efe was a solid defender in his day and a wonderful header of a ball (I remember his debut against Derby County – he looked like he could head the ball to the top of Mont Ventoux. In fact, he looked like he’d hidden a bit of Mont Ventoux in his bandana before he took the field) but he was also particularly fond of swinging an elbow and not above a red card – a feature I think you can describe as typical of the Sodjes.
That interest has maintained, so here’s some numbers about everybody’s favourite footballing family.
Most Stable Sodje.
You might not know it to look at him, but the Sodje who has made the most club appearances in the same spell for one club is Efe. They don’t stick around for long wherever they may start off.
In fact, he fills five of the top ten spots. Here’s the graph.
Clubs Of The Sodjes.
Currently, twenty-three clubs in the top four levels of the English pyramid have had a Sodje represent them in a league game, with Tranmere in line to be the 24th. Queen’s Park Rangers have had a Sodje on their books, but never used him. That figure doesn’t even include those who are in the Blue Square Premier; Luton Town, for example, or Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League.
Here’s the graph (Barnsley and Watford might appear to be 0, but they’re both 1).
All in all, then, 27% of the 92 clubs have been able to field a Sodje at one time (remember Macclesfield were part of that number for a long time, too).
The Sodjes, then, are a big part of football, particularly lower league football. If you haven’t had one play for your club, you can be pretty sure you’ve had one play AT your club. In fact….only Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Fleetwood Town, Fulham, Manchester City, Newcastle United, Newport County, West Ham Utd and Wimbledon haven’t seen their team play against a Sodje. That’s 11 of 92.
Sodjes are everywhere, almost everywhere, that I go.