For today’s feature, a player who has played for Doncaster and Lincoln, I could have written a book.
The proximity between the two clubs means that many, many players have worn the red and white of both, and yet I needed to pick one a little obscure, who you may or may not remember. For that reason, let me see how much you remember about Guy Ipoua.
Pronounced G-ee Ip-oooh-A, the Cameroon striker had a decent career in England, although it’s doubtful either Lincoln or Doncaster fans remember him all that fondly. He had quite an upbringing, spending time on the books of AS Nancy, Torino, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid. He eventually wound up at Bristol Rovers, but three goals in 24 saw him released. Yeah, I know, Madrid to Bristol is a big jump, but there was a trial at Crystal Palace. It feels a bit ‘Maheta Molango’, coming here and trying his luck, only to wind up in the lower reaches of the Football League.
After the Gas, he reportedly had trials with Torquay, Wycombe and St Johnstone, but didn’t get a deal. He did eventually pen a contract with Scunthorpe, which is where he made his name. In 1999/00 he bagged nine goals in his first 23 games, but then didn’t score all season as the Iron were relegated, having replaced us in the third tier. The following season he was at his most prolific, smashing 18 goals in just 29 outings. Naturally, there was a goal against us, on Boxing Day 2000 in our 1-1 draw. He even scored seven in a week, hitting a hattrick as the Iron thrashed Hartlepool in the FA Cup, then banging in four as they demolished Mansfield 6-0.
As the season wound down he got a move to Gillingham. The fee was thought to be low, just £25k, but he was poised to leave for free at the end of the season. That was a jump to the Championship (or Division One as it was back then), but he didn’t impress at Priestfield, failing to score in his first few months. He scored a modest seven in 39 in the second tier for them the following season, before being released. He could have gone to MLS to play for Dallas, enjoying a short spell with them, but instead moved to Scotland with Livingston. It wasn’t a good move for him; he made just two appearances all season, both from the bench.
In 2004/05 he played for Doncaster and the Imps. He signed permanently for them in what is now League One, but failed to establish himself. He was loaned to Mansfield, where he drew a blank in five matches. Another five games followed for his parent club, before Keith came calling.
We needed a striker to replace the outgoing Marcus Richardson, and Ipoua was Keith’s answer. His pedigree was obvious, he’d been prolific in the fourth tier for Scunthorpe, but he looked a shadow of his former self. He made his debut for the Imps as a late sub during our 3-1 defeat against ten-man Rochdale, then got a single minute of action in our 2-0 win at Boston. Four more second-half sub appearances came his way, including 42 minutes as we went down 3-2 to Wycombe at the Bank. That game always sticks in my mind; we were 3-0 down to a Nathan Tyson hattrick at half time, and Ipoua replaced Matt Bloomer, who had been decimated by the future Forest man.
He didn’t do enough to please Keith, and returned to Doncaster upon conclusion of his loan spell. He next turned up at Hereford in the Conference, bagging three in three at the start of the season. During the campaign, he drifted out of the side but came back sensationally in the play-offs. He scored the winner in extra-time against Morecambe, then came on with just 15 minutes left of the final against Halifax, with his side trailing 2-1. He levelled, and they went on to score again and earn promotion.
He moved to Forest Green the following season, but made just a couple of appearances before returning to his native Cameroon with Oryx Douala.