Akpo Sodje

*Indicates unconfirmed information. Figures in brackets after English team names indicate all appearances made and goals scored in competitive matches for Football League clubs from 1888 onwards. For Scottish League clubs the figures show details of all competitive appearances and goals scored from 1946/47 onwards.

Akpo Sodje

Appearances: 14+9 Goals: 6

Date / Year of birth: 31st January 1981

Position: Striker

Season of first appearance: 2001/02

Season of last appearance: 2001/02

Also played for: Globe Star (Nigeria), Queens Park Rangers (0), Stevenage Borough, Hayes, Macclesfield Town (0), Gravesend & Northfleet, Heybridge Swifts, Erith & Belvedere, Huddersfield Town (2+7,0), Darlington (19+27,9), Port Vale (47+6,16), Sheffield Wednesday (19+25,9), Charlton Athletic (12+24,6), Hibernian (14+17,7), Tianjin Teda (China), Preston North End (6+11,7), Scunthorpe United (13+3,6) and Tranmere Rovers (5+6,0)

Unorthodox 6' 2" tall striker who was born in Greenwich to Nigerian parents - the youngest of ten children - and began his career in Nigeria as a full time professional with Globe Star in the National Division 2.

After returning to England Akpo played in some pre-season friendlies for Northern Counties League club Sheffield FC in the summer of 2000 and his older brother Sam was also with Sheffield at the time.

In February 2001 Akpo joined Queens Park Rangers and scored once in three reserve team appearances before joining Conference club Stevenage on loan in March 2001.

He scored on his debut after coming on as a substitute in a 2-1 win at Morecambe on 31.3.01 but later went off injured and returned to Loftus Road without playing again.

Akpo was released by QPR at the end of the 2000/01 season.

In the summer of 2001 Margate tried to sign him but Akpo ended up starting the 2001/02 campaign as a non-contract player with Conference club Hayes. During the early part of the season he also played several times for Macclesfield's reserve team, scoring in a 2-0 win at Chesterfield in September 2001. His older brother Efe, a Nigerian international and former Macclesfield player, said at the time "Akpo has huge potential and always gives 100 per cent. I believe he could do a great job for Macclesfield and that fans would take to him just as they took to me."

Akpo ended up staying with Hayes and scored twice in six games for them before Margate finally got their man at the end of September 2001. Manager Chris Kinnear told the Isle of Thanet Gazette "Akpo is an exciting player and we are pleased to welcome him to the club" whilst Kinnear's assistant Kevin Raine said "He is quick and he is strong. He's got a lot of aerial ability as well."

Akpo made his debut in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Barnet in a Conference game at Hartsdown Park on 29.9.01 and the Thanet Times said "while the new man showed good pace and flashes of skill it is clear that more time will be needed for him to settle into the system". His next outing was as a substitute in a 3-0 win at Chester on 6.10.01 and the Thanet Times said Akpo's "second appearance for the Blues was more impressive than his debut...his tremendous acceleration from a standing start left the Chester defence worried".

On 9.10.01 Akpo scored his first goal with what the Isle of Thanet Gazette called a "fantastic 25-yard strike" as Margate won 2-1 at Yeovil. The BBC Kent Online website described the effort as "a superb individual strike" as Akpo burst through from a deep position, beat a defender and then fired a powerful drive into the bottom corner of the net. He celebrated the goal by sliding almost the width of the pitch towards the travelling Margate supporters but Akpo injured his hamstring in the process and had to be substituted not long afterwards. The Gazette said he "had impressed with his pace and power". Akpo's hamstring problem restricted his outings over the weeks that followed and he only made four substitute appearances in Margate's next ten games. On 8.12.01 he came off the bench in a 2-2 draw at Leigh and the Thanet Times said that he squandered "two golden chances to make it 3-1" when Margate were a goal ahead.

Akpo made his first start for over two months when he wore the number eleven shirt as Margate travelled to Dagenham & Redbridge on 15.12.01. The Daggers won 4-1 and he also started the following match - a 1-0 home defeat against Dover on 26.12.01. Akpo was still troubled by injury and after the Dover game he only featured four times as a substitute in the next eight games. In the last of those sub appearances Akpo scored his first goal for over four months as Margate drew 1-1 with Braintree in an FA Trophy tie at Hartsdown Park on 23.2.02. The Non-League Paper said it was "probably his best game so far for Margate". Akpo then made his first start since Boxing Day as Margate lost 3-1 at Stevenage on 2.3.02 and the Thanet Times said he was "ever-popular" and "again looked impressive in attack". It was the start of a good run in the side and Akpo wore the number ten shirt in each of the next seven matches.

His run of games also resulted in a scoring streak and Akpo was on target in three consecutive matches starting with a goal in a 2-1 win at Braintree on 5.3.02. The Isle of Thanet Gazette said he was "revitalized" and "now seems to have settled into the side". The Thanet Times said Akpo "showed blistering pace and immense power" in the second game of his goalscoring run - a 4-3 home win over Woking on 9.3.02 - and he also struck in a 4-2 win at his old club Hayes on 12.3.02.

On 19.3.02 Akpo got his sixth goal of the season in a 2-1 win at Folkestone in the Kent Senior Cup but on 25.3.02 he had to go off with a recurrence of his hamstring injury as Margate drew 0-0 at Dover. The Isle of Thanet Gazette said Akpo had been as "hard-working as ever" before his departure ten minutes from time. He missed two matches before returning to the side for a 0-0 draw at Nuneaton on 6.4.02 and Akpo picked up a knee injury midway through the first half that looked likely to force him off. However he carried on with his knee heavily strapped although he was clearly in a lot of discomfort and his mobility was severely restricted.

Akpo missed the next five matches and didn't feature again until the last game of the season - the Kent Senior Cup Final against Gravesend & Northfleet at Hartsdown Park on 6.5.02. He played with his knee almost immobilised by strapping and eventually went off after 74 minutes as Margate were thrashed 5-0. The Isle of Thanet Gazette said "you had to feel sorry for him. He has played just once in the last five weeks, had his right knee heavily strapped and barely looked capable of running towards the end of his spell on the pitch". It turned out to be Akpo's last competitive appearance for Margate and in all he'd scored six goals from 23 outings (nine as sub).

He contracted malaria in the summer of 2002 but recovered to feature in some of Margate's friendlies ahead of the 2002/03 campaign and scored in a 3-1 win over Welling on 27.7.02. He drifted away from the club before the start of the season proper and in September 2002 Akpo joined Gravesend & Northfleet.

He was booked for celebrating another players goal in one of his earliest outings for the Fleet and Akpo was also sent off in his last game for the club - a 2-1 defeat at Halifax in the Conference. He was released early in November 2002 having scored twice in nine appearances (four as sub).

After leaving Stonebridge Road Akpo trained with Kent League club Maidstone but turned down the chance to sign for them and towards the end of November he linked up with Isthmian Premier League outfit Heybridge Swifts.

He went on to score five goals in 24 appearances (five as sub) for the Swifts during the remainder of the 2002/03 campaign.

In the summer of 2003 Akpo dropped down a level to join Southern League Eastern Division club Erith & Belvedere and he scored 20 goals for them from 37 appearances (two as sub) during the 2003/04 season despite the Deres finishing second from bottom of the league.

He was linked with Conference clubs Woking and Barnet in the summer of 2004 but in July 2004 Akpo joined League One outfit Huddersfield on trial. His brother Efe was on the club's books at the time. Akpo scored in his first two friendly appearances for Huddersfield and their manager Peter Jackson said "He is big and strong and can obviously find the back of the net. He is still very raw and he will continue to train with us and we'll be looking at him closely." In September 2004 Akpo was given a three month contract after a fee was agreed with Erith & Belvedere and shortly afterwards Jackson said "He has settled in well and is definitely enjoying his time here. He has done well in training and scored in both games he started in the pre-season campaign but he is still very raw. He is big and strong, but needs to get fitter. I would like to assess him over a longer period." Within a week of signing a contract with Huddersfield Akpo made his debut for the reserves in a game against Scunthorpe Reserves and scored from 25 yards. Peter Jackson said "The word 'raw' has been used to describe him by everyone, but there is no denying that there is potential there, which is why I brought him to the Galpharm. Three or four divisions is a big step up for anyone, but he is coping with it well and he is a better player because of it. He will continue in the reserves, but may break into the first team if he continues to improve like he is doing."

On 11.9.04 Akpo made his league debut as a substitute in a 3-0 win at Port Vale and on 28.9.04 he started for the first time as Huddersfield beat Morecambe 3-0 in a Football League Trophy tie. In November 2004 his contract was extended to the end of the 2004/05 season and by then Akpo had scored nine goals in ten starts for Huddersfield's reserves. Peter Jackson said "It has been a big step up for Akpo to come from non-league and into our squad, but I like what I've seen so far and now he's got another six months to try and impress further, he's very determined to make a career after being released by QPR and he has many of the right attributes. He's big and strong, quick and he scores goals with a tremendous shot in either foot, so I think he's worth looking at to the end of the season."

Having made nine first team appearances (all but two as a substitute) for Huddersfield without scoring Akpo was loaned to League Two club Darlington in March 2005.

He made his debut for Darlo when he started in a 2-0 home defeat against Kidderminster on 26.3.05 and Akpo went on to make six more appearances before the end of 2004/05, all as a substitute. On 7.5.05 he scored his first goal in league football when he struck in a 3-1 home win over Cheltenham. It was Akpo's only goal of the season and having returned to Huddersfield he was released in May 2005. Peter Jackson said "I told Akpo that I am not going to offer him a contract, but I know he is still waiting for news from Darlington. I know he really enjoyed his time here and he has really enjoyed it up there. I really hope he gets fixed up somewhere and proves me wrong because he is a decent player who did brilliantly in the reserves for us this season and he's a good kid." Akpo had scored 15 goals in 17 appearances for the reserves.

In the summer of 2005 Darlington signed him on a permanent basis and Akpo went on to score eight goals from 39 appearances (21 as sub) during the 2005/06 campaign. His tally included a hat-trick in a 4-4 draw at Chester on 27.8.05. Shortly after his treble Darlo's manager David Hodgson said "His attitude has been second to none since he came to the club and he deserved his chance. He has come in and has taken his chance well."

In May 2006 Akpo signed for League One club Port Vale after failing to agree terms on a new deal with Darlington and David Hodgson told Darlo's website "He is a willing lad and he is prepared to learn. When you go up a level you tend to learn off better players. He has aerial abilities, he has improved on the technical side, on ball retention and bringing people into the game. He's a good lad and a good player. I've spoken to him about what he is going to be faced with higher up and I hope he gets off to a good start."

Akpo did indeed make a good start to his Port Vale career as he scored on his debut in a 3-0 win over Leyton Orient on 5.8.06 and three days later he got the only goal in a 1-0 win at Oldham. On 10.3.07 Akpo scored four times in a 5-1 win at Rotherham and had his first three goals inside the opening 30 minutes of the match. He ended the 2006/07 season having scored 16 times in 50 appearances (six as sub).

Akpo played three more games for Port Vale without scoring in the opening weeks of the 2007/08 campaign before Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday signed him for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £300,000 on 31.8.07. He signed a four-year contract and on the same day his brother Sam joined Championship club Charlton on loan. Port Vale chairman Bill Bratt told his club's website "Akpo put in a transfer request, but he has done things in the correct way. He wanted to play in a higher league and he's never mentioned money once. Although we had turned down a few other bids, it was decided we wouldn't want to keep a player that might be dissatisfied." Sheffield Wednesday's chief executive Kaven Walker said "It's a fantastic signing for us, we've been chasing him for some time now. He'll add power, pace and hopefully goals to the squad, we're trying to give our manager Brian Laws all the tools he needs for promotion."

Akpo made his debut for the Owls as a substitute in a 1-0 defeat against Bristol City at Hillsborough on 1.9.07 and scored his first goal for Wednesday in a 2-1 win at Plymouth on 3.11.07. He went on to score seven goals before the end of the 2007/08 campaign and played 21 times in all.

Akpo was hit by injuries during 2008/09 and only made 11 first team appearances for the Owls, scoring twice. He continued to struggle for fitness and form during the opening months of the 2009/10 season and in November 2009 he was loaned to Charlton.

Akpo linked up with his brother Sam at The Valley and it was the first time they'd played together in the same side. He made his debut in a League One game at Yeovil on 21.11.09 and scored Charlton's equaliser in a 1-1 draw after Sam had been sent off. At the start of January 2010 Akpo went back to Sheffield Wednesday but on 1 February 2010 he started another loan spell with Charlton and stayed there until the end of the 2009/10 campaign.

Akpo's Wednesday contract expired in May 2010 and he immediately signed for Charlton on a permanent basis. He took his record for the Addicks to six goals from 36 appearances (24 as sub) before joining Scottish Premier League club Hibernian on 31.1.11 - the day of Akpo's 30th birthday.

He signed an 18 month contract with the Edinburgh outfit and made his debut in a 2-0 home win over St.Mirren on 2.2.11. In his next outing Akpo got his first goal as Hibs beat visitors Kilmarnock 2-1 on 12.2.11 and by the end of 2010/11 he'd scored six goals in 15 appearances (two as sub).

Akpo then made a further 16 appearances for Hibs, mostly as a substitute, during the first half of the 2011/12 season but only scored once more before being released at the end of January 2012.

As February 2012 drew to a close he made a surprise move to China, joining Super League club Tianjin Teda and thus became the first ever former Margate player ever to play in the country.

Akpo made nine appearances for Tainjin and scored once - in a 2-1 defeat at Qingdao Jonoon on 16.3.12 - before being released on 1.7.12 and returning to England.

Later in July 2012 Akpo joined League One club Preston on trial and on 31.7.12 he scored twice in a 4-1 friendly win at AFC Wimbledon. After top scoring for Preston during their pre-season games he was signed on a short-term contract in August 2012.

Akpo made his competitive debut for Preston as a substitute in a 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury in League One on 21.8.12 and then scored his next outing as a substitute to secure a 1-1 draw at AFC Bournemouth on 25.8.12. Akpo made his first full appearance in a 4-1 home win over Crystal Palace in the Football League Cup on 28.8.12 and again found the net before scoring in a 4-1 win over Swindon at Deepdale on 2.9.12 to make it three goals in as many matches. He eventually scored seven times in 17 appearances (11 as sub) for Preston, including two goals in a 4-2 win at Morecambe on 9.10.12, before rejecting an extension to his month-to-month contract in December 2012 and leaving the club.

At the start of January 2013 Akpo signed for Scunthorpe as a free agent and said "I'm feeling good and I'm glad that everything is sorted and I've got the chance to work with Brian Laws again... There's no doubt that we'll be able to stay up. We've been having a bad time but that is all changing now." He made his debut in a 2-1 win at Colchester in League One on 12.1.13 and scored his first goals with a brace in a 2-1 home win over Portsmouth on 5.2.13. The Pompey side that day included his brother Sam. By the end of the 2012/13 season Akpo had scored six times in 16 outings (three as sub) but Scunthorpe were relegated to League Two and he was released by the club.

In July 2013 Akpo signed a one-year contract with League One outfit Tranmere and their manager Ronnie Moore told the club's website "He's a big, powerful centre forward who leads the line well and can score goals."

Akpo made his debut for Tranmere in a 3-1 defeat at Walsall on 3.8.13 and after being in and out of the side for the first few months of the season he dropped out of the first team picture in November 2013. He'd failed to score from 11 outings (six as sub) when he was loaned to Conference club Macclesfield in February 2014. It was Akpo's second spell with the Silkmen, over 12 years after his previous one, and Macclesfield's player-assistant manager at the time was his brother Efe.

Akpo made his second debut for Macclesfield as a substitute in a 3-2 defeat at Woking on 22.2.14 and made four further appearances (two as sub) without scoring before his loan ended in March 2014.

He was released by Tranmere in April 2014 having not featured in the first team since returning from his loan spell.

Akpo's full name was Idoro Akpoeyere Ujoma Sodje and as well as his professional footballer brothers Efe and Sam who both played for Nigeria he had another brother Steve who played for many Kent non-league clubs including Margate. Akpo also had a brother called Bright that played Rugby League for teams including Sheffield Eagles, a sister who was a successful athlete and a cousin - Onome - who played non-league football.










2001/02 (MFC)

14 (53)








     Played in Kent Senior Cup Final (06.05.02 - lost 5-0 at home to Gravesend & Northfleet).