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Yemi Odubade – Remember the Name

What do football clubs from Yeovil, Doncaster, Carlisle, Exeter and Dagenham have in common? They’ve all been promoted from the Conference National since the beginning of the 21st century and have all gone on to gain at least one more promotion and establish themselves as solid Football League sides. Their models for life in the league will doubtless have been scrutinised by the management, players and fans of Stevenage FC, who after enjoying their romp to the Conference title last term will hope to make waves instead of just making up numbers in their first ever season as one of England’s elite 92 sides. If the Hertfordshire club are to enjoy continued success, having a striker on form to bag the goals to fire them up the League Two table will be vital. That man could well be Yemi Odubade.

Andy Drury of Stevenage Borough celebrates scoring with team mate Yemi Odubade during the FA Carlsberg Trophy Final between Barrow and Stevenage Borough at Wembley Stadium on May 8, 2010 in London, England.

 Odubade celebrates with teammate Andy Drury

Having just turned 26, Odubade is getting towards the age at which many footballers’ careers peak, and although he is by no means a household name, he is likely to draw more than a few appreciative glances as Stevenage travel up and down the country over the next nine months. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, he first arrived in English football with Sussex County League club Eastbourne Town as a teenager in 2001. He excelled at the seaside, putting his stocky, muscular build to very good use, with his pace, power and composure even at such a young age far too much for amateur defenders to handle. His goals for Town, 64 in 85 games, caught the attention of League Two side Yeovil in 2004, and he made the move to Somerset after a successful trial. The twenty year-old Odubade never made a significant first team breakthrough at Huish Park though and moved back to Eastbourne less than a year later, this time signing for his former club’s more illustrious neighbours and rivals Eastbourne Borough who were about to start their first campaign in the newly formed Conference South, the sixth level of the English footballing pyramid.

Once again life was good for Odubade in the holiday town as he averaged a very impressive goal every other game that season, netting on nineteen occasions in total and enjoying a run to the first round proper of the FA Cup. Borough met League Two outfit Oxford United in the competition, holding them to a draw and forcing the tie to a replay. Odubade impressed Oxford manager Brian Talbot across both matches and was snapped up by him for a fee of £25,000 the next summer. Oxford had just been relegated to the Conference and Odubade took his chance at the level. Three years, 145 games, 32 goals and one player of the year award later, he was released by The Us, primarily for financial reasons, and signed for Stevenage. He is held in very high regard by the Oxford fans and, as they also witnessed their side win promotion to League Two last season, he is sure to be given a warm reception by them when the two clubs meet for the first time in the Football League on Boxing Day.

Odubade shields the ball

Odubade’s 2009/10 season, his first with Stevenage, was an unequivocal success as he found the net on sixteen occasions, including a fine hat-trick against Barrow. This tally, made all the more impressive when it is considered that he did not become a regular starter in Graham Westley’s side until last November, was enough to make Odubade Stevenage’s top marksman as they won the Conference with a magnificent 99 points, denied the magic 100 only after bankrupt Chester City’s results, which included two losses against Stevenage, were expunged from the records.

There are a number of characteristics that make a top forward and Odubade has them all. He’s renowned for his pace, is strong, shows considerable composure with the goal in his sights and has a leap that belies his 5’7″ frame, allowing him to cause many far taller defenders problems in the air. On top of this, he demonstrated with his key role in Stevenage’s Conference success that he has a cutting edge and will to win. He even tasted League Two promotion with Yeovil five years ago despite only appearing four times for the Glovers. Who’s to say that Stevenage won’t follow in the footsteps of Yeovil, Doncaster, Carlisle and the rest by pushing on from the Conference to achieve Football League Glory? With Odubade on his game fans everywhere will take notice and they will have every chance of doing so. Yemi Odubade – remember the name.

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  1. Rushden-till-i-die

    2 August, 2010 at 19:36

    Yemi is, in my opinion, absolutely poor!! He’s played against us about 6/7 times now and scored once from the penalty spot, and done nothing noteworthy apart from that. If Odubade scores more than 10 goals this season, then I will change my name to Elvis Presley. Fact.

  2. I*T*P*L

    2 August, 2010 at 21:14

    Fair dos Rushden, admittedly you know more about non-league football than me, but for the breakthrough player task in the FJC I wanted to pick someone a bit different for the young Premier League players that at first spring to mind.

    Judging from Odubade’s statistics and the little I’ve seen of him play, partly from videos of him scoring goals on Youtube, of which there are many, he’s a talent and maybe he will make a breakthrough in the Football League this season.

    If he doesn’t, well it’s the quality of the article not the player that this is judged on and if he does, well I expect an apology, Elvis. 😉

  3. Rushden-till-i-die

    2 August, 2010 at 21:33

    I just hope whoever judges this task has a sound enough knowledge of lower-league football because this is a brilliant piece of journalism, no desputing that!

    Yemi always LOOKED like he could make it in the League when he first signed for Oxford, I mean he’s quick, strong, and has a great leap on him for someone so diminutive. But sometimes when i’ve seen him play he just hasn’t looked that interested, and never seemed to keen to join the play, instead waiting for the ball to arrive at his feet. I think this was particularly showcased this season at Stevenage, where despite a hatrick against Barrow (i think? :S), he only really scored the odd goal. Also, he was rumoured to have a massive bust-up with Westley last year, which is why he only started about half opf their games…

    Anyway, I think if he gets on the goal trail early, he has the potential to be lethal. Maybe the reason he looked so poor is because our defence is so good? 🙂

  4. John Verrall

    3 August, 2010 at 15:16

    Nice article. Very well written. May I ask how you get a background around your pictures?

  5. I*T*P*L

    3 August, 2010 at 18:04

    Thanks for the compliments Rushden and John, are you both taking part in this edition of the FJC too?

    John, once you have pasted the picture you want into your article, hover over it and two small boxes will apear on it. Click on the one on the left, which opens up picture options. Go to advanced options and there is one for border. Type a number into the box, the higher the number the thicker the border. I used 3 here. Then click update and it will apply the border, automatically in black, but you can change it to any colour you like by changing where it says black to a different colour. I hope that helps.

  6. John Verrall

    3 August, 2010 at 23:19

    Firstly, yes I am competing in this FJC as well. Secondly, thanks for that, I will give it a go on my next article I think. It really makes the article stand-out.

  7. Andy SBFC

    4 August, 2010 at 09:37

    As others have said, a good well written article.

    RTID, Yemi certainly did seem to drift in and out of games at the start of last season, but from about Christmas onwards was one of our best players, for all the reasons stated so far. I didn’t go to your place so can’t comment on the game.

    Regarding the Oxford connection, i’m not sure about that such high regard, last summer the general opinion from their fans on our forum was good riddance, they thought he was a luxury player, and didn’t do very much in his last season with them.

    Looking forward to Saturday!

  8. juandeful

    4 August, 2010 at 16:45

    A fantastic article, and it is good to see you back in the challenge. I have always had a soft spot for Stevenage, but most of my knowledge of them comes from Football Manager, when I usually try and shift Odubade.

  9. Adas

    4 August, 2010 at 17:19

    Being a Stevenage fan, I’ve seen Yemi play a fair bit in the last season and can confidently say he will not live up to this billing. Even last season he looked lacking in confidence and ambition and, although he has the pace and more strength than others like him, never cuts inside and will never win a goalbound arial battle against even the most shaky defenders. As for his shooting, he’s been known to miss absolute open goal opportunities especially when the ball comes in from a low cross- he just plain misses the ball. The one hat-trick he got last season was lucky to say the least, as he hit one through a crowd when it dropped at his feet and the keeper fumbled one of them. He also seems to end up playing a lot of the time with his back to goal and doesn’t even attempt to turn most of the time. Although popular with Stevenage fans, I doubt he’s the man anybody will be pinning hopes on in the coming season.

  10. Yellow Band

    4 August, 2010 at 23:01

    “he was released by The Us, primarily for financial reasons” – don’t make me laugh, he was released because he wasn’t good enough. Brian Talbot was a desperate idiot to sign him, especially on the contract he offered.
    He was popular amongst our more easily pleased fans because, in a rubbish run of teams he ran around a lot (especially compared to the lazy fool Rob Duffy) – ran around like a headless chicken mind you.

    Odubade was a symbol of all that was rubbish about recent seasons at Oxford United until Chris Wilder took over – settling for second best. No more…

  11. Rushden-till-i-die

    5 August, 2010 at 11:28

    I for one would like place emphasis on Yellow Bands comment ‘Brian Talbot was a desperate idiot’, because he was a complete muppet at times. And you spelt Duffy’s name wrong mate, I thought it was Rob Duffy-Penalty, because thats what it always says on Sky Sports News lol…

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