They Played For Both: FGR

In keeping with the recent ‘series’ I’ve done, here are three players that have represented both Forest Green and The Imps.

Delano Sam-Yorke

When Delano arrived on loan from Cambridge in 2014, it was considered something of a coup. Since relegation our recruitment hadn’t been exciting, aside from perhaps Paul Farman and Tom Miller it had been muted. Gary Simpson had set about changing that in 2013, but when in came to loan players we still seemed destined to pick up reserves from the likes of Alfreton or Stockport.

Delano Sam-Yorke was different. He was a big and robust striker that had made his way up to Cambridge United after a brilliant spell at Basingstoke. He looked every inch the professional footballer, and after scoring twice on his Cambridge debut it was surprising that he failed to force a place in the first team at the Abbey Stadium.

Just after New Year in 2014 he pitched up on a two-month loan, and on just his second appearance for City he bagged a goal as we over ran Alfreton 4-1. His hold-up play as well as his physical presence had Imps fans praying he would stay, and goals against Hyde and Chester helped his cause. His form alerted his parent club, and he returned at the end of his loan spell to help fire Cambridge into the Football League. He cored twice against Halifax in the play-off semi-final to seemingly earn his place as a Football League player.

Just after the start of the following season he was back on loan, and fans went into meltdown. We must be proper contenders if we’re able to sign players such as Delano Sam-Yorke, that was the belief. He had come from a league club and that meant he trusted we’d be one soon also. We weren’t, and not long after he joined the manager that signed him, Gary Simpson, was gone.

Delano wasn’t the whirlwind he’d been when we first brought him in. He liked 3-3 draws, scoring in games with that result against Gateshead, Southport and Forest Green. He scored three more times in the season, but was also sent off twice as his Imps career petered out, much like our season. At the end of the campaign he left on a free transfer.

He rocked up next at Forest Green, obviously they’d been impressed with his performances against them. He wasn’t the revelation they hoped either, a 16 blank appearances saw him loaned out to Boreham Wood. He spent unsuccessful time at Woking before moving to his current club, Maidstone.

Jefferson Louis

Louis scoring for Banbury against Mangotsfield. He gets around.

38-year old Louis is something of an enigma in the game. He’s not only had more clubs than Tiger Woods, but more than the whole PGA Tour combined. At last count he boasted at least 38, so it was little surprise he’d played for both Forest Green and Lincoln.

His FGR spell came in 2004/05, just six clubs into his mammoth career. He had previously become known when, having scored the winner in his first club’s (Oxford) televised FA Cup Second Round clash with Swindon, he was captured naked live on television celebrating the U’s drawing of Arsenal in the next round. Despite bearing his arse live on TV, the BBC received no complaints about his celebrations. He joined Forest Green after a spell on loan with Ebbsfleet, having scored for Fleet in a 5-1 win over a pre-vegan FGR. He played just ten times for Rovers, scoring twice. One of his goals was another grand FA Cup goal to earn the Villagers a first round replay against Bournemouth.

21 clubs and seven years later he appeared at Sincil Bank, by now nothing more than a ‘gun for hire’. David Holdsworth was great at hiring in help, and so for a brief while, Jefferson planted himself at Sincil Bank.

Along with his cousin Richard Pacquette he made a living out of rocking up at a club, banging in a few goals before disappearing into the night. For Lincoln it was a stay of a couple of months at the end of the 2011/12 season. We weren’t scoring goals, Steve Tilson had left and the squad was low on confidence. David Holdsworth knew where to find him, and in he came. He scored in the first minute of his Imps career as we drew 3-3 with Braintree and then again a few days later as we drew 1-1 with Kidderminster. He helped us to a 2-1 win over Hayes and Yeading with a goal, and scored against Fleetwood as Jamie Vardy hit a double for them in a 2-2 draw. He came and served his purpose, scoring six in 14 games to keep up that impressive goals to game ratio. Then he was gone, still another ten clubs to visit before he hung up his boots, if he actually has. Somehow I get the impression that out there, somewhere, Jefferson Louis is still club-hopping, even if it is in his local Sunday League.

Paul Green

Now we’re talking, no loan superstar here, no mercenary club-hopper either. Paul Green was the real-deal, a stylish and cultured right back whose promising career was blighted by injury.

Green was a dependable and cautious full back signed from Aston Villa in the infamous transfer window of 2006/07. That window is often pointed out as the ‘start of the demise’ as far as the play-off years were concerned, but the arrival of Dany N’Guessan came on the same day as Green. Both were players of immense quality. After a couple of games coming off the bench he started his first match as we went down 2-1 at home to Mansfield, in which future Imp Nathan Arnold scored the winner.

Although failure in the play-offs that year marked a start of the decline for Lincoln, Paul Green went on to prove himself worthy of praise in a succession of poor Lincoln sides. He enjoyed a wonderful campaign in 2007/8 season, winning the Player of the Year, Player’s Player of the Year and the Website Player of the Year. I’m not overstating it when I say he could have gone on to play at a much higher level.

He suffered a series of debilitating hip injuries and never managed to ascend to the heights his early form had threatened. He made just 34 outings in the two-year prior to relegation, and on dropping out of the league he was released by Steve Tilson. It was a foolish decision looking back, when he did play the year we went down he looked to organise the inexperienced defence. We lost four games heavily at home that season (6-1 Rotherham, 5-1 Shrewsbury,  4-0 Gillingham) and Paul Green did not play in a single one of them. When he was out, we missed him.

It is rumoured that Green was one of the players told by Steve Tilson in March of 2011 they wouldn’t be retained. He then proceeded to play him in every game of that abysmal run-in than cost us our league status. Green looked half-fit and a shadow of the player he had been. At the end of the season he was released, joining Tamworth. He got his revenge on Tilson, he was in the Tamworth team that beat us 4-0 the year after and earned Tilson the sack.

After Tamworth he joined Forest Green, but he was still dogged with injury. He missed the first two months of the season on the treatment table, a now-familiar set-back for him. He eventually made his Forest Green Rovers debut in October 2012, ironically against Tamworth. He settled in with a run of games and went on to pick up three man-of-the-match awards in his first six games. Typically he netted his first goal for FGR against City as they thrashed us 4–1.

He returned to Tamworth until leaving them in the summer to return to the National League with Solihull Moors. He’s still only 30-years old and has made five appearances so far this season, three as starts.

1 Comment

  1. Jefferson Louis is currently joint top scorer in the Southern League Premier Division with 6 goals for Banbury United this season.

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