Sam 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.

Sam Sodje

Appearances: 81+2 Goals: 9

Date / Year of birth: 25th May 1979

Position: Centre-back

Season of first appearance: 2002/03

Season of last appearance: 2003/04

Also played for: Sheffield Wednesday (0), Sheffield, Stevenage Borough, Grays Athletic, Brentford (100,14), Reading (5+3,1), West Bromwich Albion (10,1), Charlton Athletic (46+10,6), Watford (1,0), Leeds United (7,0), Notts County (13+18,2) and Portsmouth (9,0)

Irrepressible, athletic Greenwich-born defender who left England for Nigeria in 1983 and played some professional football there as a teenager.

After returning to England Sam had a spell on Sheffield Wednesday's books before joining Northern Counties League club Sheffield FC in the summer of 2000. Their manager Dave McCarthy later recalled Sam's time with the club in an interview with The Non-League Paper and said "We gave him a trial against Ossett Albion and after ten minutes he took a kid out neck-high ! He could play, though, and I gave him a contract. Around Christmas Sam said he wanted to go back to London to live with his family. Another brother, Efe, was at Stevenage, and he wanted to get Sam there, so Paul Fairclough - then their manager - rang me. We were entitled to a fee, so I told him I wanted a couple of grand, or a 20 per cent sell-on clause. He was having none of it, and because I didn't want to let Sam down, we eventually agreed on a set of shirts. Three months later, a package arrived. It contained four footballs, two which were yellow and no use, and two of which had no bladder. As promised, 16 shirts were in it, too. Trouble was they were two different styles and there were four number 15's - and they were wet !"

Sam's older brother Efe, a Nigerian international, had actually left Stevenage before he signed for the club and Sam was soon loaned to Grays where he spent most of the remainder of the 2000/01 season.

He scored once in 11 Isthmian League outings for Grays before going back to Broadhall Way.

On 10.4.01 Sam made his first team debut for Borough in a 4-1 win at Leigh in the Conference and on 28.4.01 he was sent off for picking up a second yellow card in a 0-0 draw with visitors Doncaster that was shown live on Sky Sports. By the end of the 2000/01 season he'd made a total of eight senior appearances.

He started the 2001/02 campaign in Stevenage's first team and on 18.9.01 Sam was sent off 17 minutes into a Conference game at Margate after bringing down Leon Braithwaite with a scything challenge. At the end of the season he was released having scored twice in a career total of 27 appearances for Borough (three as sub).

On 6.8.02 Sam played for Billericay in a pre-season friendly against a Tottenham X1 and scored with an overhead kick in a 2-1 defeat but a few days later he found himself in a Margate shirt.

The Thanet Times said he was Margate's "outstanding trialist" in a 1-0 win over Millwall in a friendly at Hartsdown Park on 10.8.02 and noted how Sam "leapt like the proverbial salmon to regularly frustrate the visitors' strikers". The paper also praised him for "two off-the-line clearances" and said Sam made "a real impression on the home fans". His younger brother Akpo was also in the Margate side but left the club before the start of the 2002/03 season proper.

Sam made his competitive debut in a Conference match against Morecambe at Margate's adopted home in Dover on 17.8.02 and had an instant impact by forcing the ball home from a Paul Lamb corner to level the scores at 1-1. There were no further goals and the Thanet Times said Sam was "probably the Blues' man of the match as he put in a commanding performance" at centre-back.

In his next outing on 20.8.02 Sam headed an own goal in a 1-1 draw at Kettering and his eventful start to his Margate career continued on 24.8.02 when his foul gave away a penalty in a 1-0 defeat at Northwich. The Thanet Times felt Sam's challenge had actually been outside the penalty area and said that he had "already established himself as firm favourite with Blues fans".

The Isle of Thanet Gazette said Sam was "again in fine form" as Margate beat Forest Green 3-0 at Dover on 26.8.02 whilst the Thanet Times described him as being "ever-dependable" in its report on a 2-1 win over Doncaster at Dover on 21.9.02. The Non-League Paper said Sam was "excellent again" in a 1-0 defeat against Chester at Dover on 5.10.02 but in its report on a 4-1 defeat at Farnborough on 8.10.02 the Isle of Thanet Gazette said Sam "went from hero to villain inside three minutes". After making a tremendous interception to prevent a near-certain goal Sam was then slow to clear and lost possession which resulted in Farnborough scoring.

On 12.10.02 he scored his second goal in a 2-2 draw at Halifax and the Nationwide football website said Sam was Margate's best player in a 1-0 win over Southport at Dover on 19.10.02. Its report called him "a real find" whilst adding "he dominated at the back and did not miss a single clearance throughout the 90 minutes". The KM Extra newspaper concurred and said that Sam was "again in command". He was on target again in a 3-2 defeat at Scarborough on 2.11.02.

On 16.11.02 Sam was part of the Margate side that drew 1-1 at Leyton Orient in the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup and was impressive in an unaccustomed midfield role. The Thanet Times said he was "excellent on his surprise switch from defence" and Sam almost capped his performance with a sensational goal when having run from his own half and evaded several tackles he finished weakly. He lined up in midfield once again for the replay at Dover on 26.11.02 and won what proved to be the decisive penalty for Margate when he went down in the box as a corner was swung in. John Keister converted the spot-kick that gave Margate a 1-0 victory and Sam told The Sun "The ball came over from the flank and I was definitely pushed. It was the right decision and we deserved to win." The Isle of Thanet Gazette said he "gave a towering display". Sam also played in the disappointing 3-0 defeat against Cardiff at Dover in the 2nd Round on 7.12.02.

On 28.12.02 he made his first competitive appearance at Hartsdown Park as Margate drew 2-2 with Kettering during their brief return to their traditional home and the Thanet Times said he was "excellent". The paper praised Sam for a "brilliantly-timed tackle" and by then his strong challenges combined with his aerial ability and boundless enthusiasm had firmly established Sam as a cult hero amongst Margate supporters.

The Thanet Times said Sam "produced a classic last-ditch tackle" to prevent Northwich player-manager Jimmy Quinn from scoring in a thrilling 4-4 draw at Hartsdown Park on 18.1.03 and on 21.1.03 Sam scored in a 2-1 win at Gravesend & Northfleet. On 15.2.03 he got the only goal of the game with an acrobatic header as Margate won 1-0 at Barnet but at the start of March 2003 Sam had to serve a two match ban after picking up ten bookings. The Thanet Times said he "didn't put a foot wrong all afternoon at the back" in a 0-0 draw with Burton at Dover on 15.3.03 and said Sam "demonstrated his ultra-cool talents when he calmly chested a Craig Dudley cross back to (Phil) Smith".

On 1.4.03 he made his only substitute appearance of the season when he came on to play up front in a 3-0 win at Erith & Belvedere in the Kent Senior Cup semi-final and on 19.4.03 Sam almost scored a stunning goal in a game against Farnborough at Dover that ended 0-0. The Thanet Times said he "picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and sprinted forward, beating four defenders and breaking into the clear only to see his shot parried" in what was fast becoming a trademark sortie up field. Sam had better luck on 26.4.03 when he scored his sixth goal of the campaign in a 3-1 win over Scarborough at Dover and on 30.4.03 he played as Margate won 2-1 at Welling to claim the Kent Senior Cup. His older brother Steve, himself a former Margate player, came on as an extra time substitute for Welling but was sent off ten minutes later having managed to collect two bookings. The Isle of Thanet Gazette said Sam had "impressed with a dominant show at the back". He won the 'Supporters Player of the Year' award for the season having scored six times in 48 appearances (one as sub).

In July 2003 Sam had a trial with League Two club Yeovil and went on a tour of Belgium with them. Chris Kinnear told the Isle of Thanet Gazette "Sam Sodje wants to play in the league, but if he doesn't get that the only club he wants to play for is us. It's down to whether anyone in the league wants him." Sam wasn't taken on by Yeovil so then tried his luck with full-time Conference club Chester, playing in some of their pre-season friendlies. At the end of July Sam told the Thanet Times "I don't know if there's any chance of anything happening at Chester, I'm keeping my options open and I'm just trying to improve my game. I've enjoyed my time at Margate and it's somewhere that's in my heart."

As August 2003 began Margate's assistant manager Kevin Raine told the Isle of Thanet Gazette "It's odds-on that Sam will be a Chester player soon. It's a shame, but that's the most likely situation." However just after the start of the 2003/04 campaign proper Margate announced that Sam had rejoined the club and signed a contract. The Isle of Thanet Gazette said it was a "surprise return" and Chris Kinnear explained "Sam wanted to try his luck obtaining full-time football with Yeovil, unfortunately that did not quite work out for him. But we are delighted we have been able to agree terms to bring him back to Margate. Sam will certainly bring another element to the squad. I know the supporters will be looking forward to seeing him in action !"

After missing Margate's first two games of the new Conference season Sam made a hugely popular comeback in a 1-0 defeat against Exeter at Dover on 16.8.03. The Thanet Times said he came on as a substitute "to the delight of the Margate support" and with his first touch Sam headed the ball out of the Exeter keeper's hands and into the net following an Adrian Clarke free-kick. The 'goal' was rightly disallowed.

Sam made his first start in a 1-1 draw at Tamworth on 23.8.03 and then had a long run in the side, playing in Margate's next 17 matches. On 6.9.03 he got his first goal of the season in a 2-1 defeat against Chester at Dover and Sam then scored the only goal of the game to secure a win at Halifax on 20.9.03. The Thanet Times said he "leapt in typical style" to head home a Darren Annon free-kick.

On 11.11.03 Sam scored an own goal as Margate lost 2-1 to Woking at Dover and on 15.11.03 he was sent off after picking up two bookings in a 2-1 defeat at Hereford. Chris Kinnear told the Thanet Times "Sam didn't deserve a second yellow card but that was the way the game was going." He had to serve a one match ban - missing a trip to Chester on 29.11.03.

On 27.12.03 Sam was sent off again as Margate lost 3-1 to Gravesend & Northfleet at Dover. He was dismissed for violent conduct following a clash with future Margate player Steve McKimm and the Thanet Times' match report had the headline "It's Sam The Ban". The paper said he'd "made a fine start to the game with an imposing aerial performance" before his early departure.

In his last outing before serving a four match ban Sam turned in an impressive display as Margate beat Forest Green 2-0 at Dover on 4.1.04 and the Thanet Times praised a run where he "characteristically waltzed through the Rovers defence". Sam returned from his suspension in a 2-0 win over Halifax at Dover on 8.2.04 and on 11.2.04 he scored in a 2-0 win over Worksop in an FA Trophy tie played at Ashford. The Isle of Thanet Gazette said he "buried a brilliant header from 12 yards".

Margate beat Telford 1-0 at Dover on 21.2.04 and Sam picked up his third red card of the campaign when he was dismissed in the closing stages after collecting a second booking. He became the first Margate player ever to be sent off three times in a season. Chris Kinnear told the Thanet Times "It was ridiculous sending-off. Sam got head-butted in front of the referee and the referee said he couldn't do anything about it." The paper said Sam had stood out in Margate's defence and was "at the heart of its solidarity".

After featuring in a 2-0 win over Welling in a Kent Senior Cup tie played at Ramsgate on 2.3.04 Sam started a three match ban and played in midfield when he returned to the side in a 3-1 defeat against Hereford at Dover on 20.3.04. The Thanet Times said he "held the midfield together well".

On 27.3.04 Sam was sent off yet again as Margate won 1-0 at Burton, it was his fourth red card and he'd collected them all in the space of 13 Conference appearances. Sam received his marching orders for what was deemed to be a stamp on Burton's Jon Howard but it was a very controversial dismissal and Margate hoped to appeal using video evidence. Unfortunately the film footage was blurred and couldn't be used. Margate's secretary Ken Tomlinson told the KM Extra newspaper "Sam was flabbergasted to get a red card. He jumped in the air to get out of the way of Howard's tackle, which was a bad one anyway and when he came down he just landed on the guy. There was no malicious intent and after Sam was sent off Howard was booked and we even got the free-kick."

Sam started Margate's next three games but after a 3-0 win over Farnborough at Dover on 3.4.04 his latest suspension kicked in and ended his season. Sam's ban was for six matches and Margate only had five left to play during 2003/04. In all he'd managed to make 35 appearances (one as sub) and scored three goals. In its round-up of the campaign the Isle of Thanet Gazette said it had been a "typically tough show from the popular defender" but added Sam had "missed too much time through suspensions".

In June 2004 Sam got his move to the Football League when he signed for League One club Brentford on a free transfer. The Bees' manager Martin Allen said "I have decided to take Sam Sodje into this football club after watching him play for Margate on several occasions. He is an excellent man marker with pace and is very strong in the air, who will need to improve the technical side of his game. However with full time training and extra hours put in on the training ground I am willing to 'take a chance'. He is young, athletic, hungry and wants to succeed and it will be interesting to watch his development during the forthcoming campaign."

Sam signed a two-year contract and made his debut for Brentford in a 4-1 defeat at Bristol City on 30.8.04. In his third outing for the club at Torquay on 11.9.04 Sam headed his first goal to level the scores at 2-2 and earn the Bees a point. Shortly after that Martin Allen said "I must admit it was a bit of a risk taking him on, especially as he was sent off four times last season. But sometimes you have to take the gamble - sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don't."

Sam was a fixture in the Brentford side and on 19.2.05 he earned rave reviews for his performance as the Bees drew 2-2 at Premier League Southampton in the FA Cup. He set up the first goal with a storming run from his own half and Sam then headed Brentford's equaliser. The Sun said he was "near faultless in defence." In the aftermath of the Southampton game Sam spoke about Martin Allen and said "He's got players he thinks can do what it takes...he makes us believe that we are really the best and he gives us the courage to go out and play with no fear. He doesn't have any fear so why should we, the players, be scared of anything ?" Sam also touched on his disciplinary record with Margate and said "I was a silly boy and had too many bookings. Actually, I had about four sendings-off. But I haven't had a red card this season...the manager just told me to get on with my game."

Later in February 2005 Martin Allen said of Sam "how he's not playing for Nigeria I do not know" and in an interview with the Non-League Paper Allen said one of Sam's 2003/04 dismissals for Margate was for "trying to perform a tracheotomy on a centre-forward". Allen added "he used to kick my centre-forward at Barnet all over the place and never let him have a kick." In the same article Sam said "I always knew I would play at a higher level one day" whilst Chris Kinnear commented "there's nothing malicious about Sam...he just goes for the ball - and if someone gets in the way he just doesn't see them. We got him when no-one else really wanted him, but all he has ever wanted to be is a full-time footballer - and he's done it. To his credit it is unbelievable how high he can jump, he scores a few goals and he's got a head like a slab of concrete. On the other hand nobody knows why he does what he does sometimes. In training he kicked people, not maliciously, it was just that he didn't see them. He makes silly noises as well, but that's just Sam and all the lads at Margate loved him. He still keeps in touch."

Sam rounded off his first campaign as a professional by winning Brentford's 'Supporters Player of the Year' award and he scored eight goals from 50 appearances during 2004/05.

In the summer of 2005 Sam was linked with possible moves to Premier League clubs Blackburn and West Ham but he ended up staying with Brentford for the 2005/06 season. In November 2005 he was chosen for the Nigeria squad and Martin Allen said "Sodje's rise from Conference football has been meteoric. He is an exceptional defender and to have one of our players receive an international call-up is a first for me."

Sam made his debut for Nigeria in a 3-0 defeat against Romania in Bucharest on 16.11.05 and the friendly match was unusual as Nigeria only arrived in the country four hours before kick-off and didn't have a full squad. They were only able to name one substitute and Sam's appearance made him the first former Margate player to go on to win an international cap since Mike Renshaw who'd played for the USA in the 1970's after one outing for Margate during 1968/69.

In January 2006 Sam worked for the BBC during their coverage of the African Cup of Nations and on 28.1.06 he was picked out for special analysis by the 'Match of the Day' team as Brentford beat Premier League Sunderland 2-1 in the FA Cup. The presenters paid particular attention to an amazing solo dash down the left that took Sam from his own half into the Sunderland penalty area - the kind of run he'd made so often during his time with Margate.

On 31.1.06 Sam turned down a move to Championship club Southampton despite a fee being agreed with Brentford and Martin Allen said "To say that I am happy is an understatement." Shortly afterwards the Sunday Times said Sam was "ebullient, tough, athletic and seemingly irrepressible."

On 6.5.06 he picked up his first red card in league football in a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth and Sam ended the 2005/06 campaign having made another 50 appearances for Brentford. He scored six goals.

In July 2006 Premier League newcomers Reading paid Brentford £350,000 for Sam's services and their manager Steve Coppell said "It is just astounding how high he leaps to head the ball. He has a prodigious leap and he is quick too. He can sometimes look clumsy on the ball or look very good on the ball. He is still learning the game but is excited at the challenge of being at this level. He wouldn't be ideal for every club but for this particular club at this particular time he is the right type of personality with the right ability."

Sam said "I am here to work hard and play football - that's all I do. I'm not going to start going on about me doing great things. I'm here to work hard and the fans will tell me if I am good or not. It is every player's dream to play in the Premiership, and I am delighted to get this opportunity. I have come a long way in the last two years and this move is a big challenge, but I believe I can do it. It's not easy to walk into a Premiership dressing room and pick a shirt. You've got to fight for it and anytime I'm called upon I'll be ready to give 120% of my performance to the team. I've come from a long way down the ladder and so for me there's no going back now and I'm not just here to make up the numbers. I never had any doubts I would make it. That's why I never took another job, even though I was just a non-league player. I'm confident I can make the step up. If I go five or six games without scoring a goal it does my head in. I scored ten in one season. I can come up at set pieces or I can just over-lap and get forward." Recalling his time at Margate Sam said "It was not the best playing in front of just 700 people every week but that was a big crowd for us !"

Margate director Keith Piper told the Thanet Times "The club is delighted for him, it's fabulous news. He always maintained he was going to be a league player at some stage. Every year he wouldn't sign his contract until two weeks into the new season, when he came to terms with the fact that nobody was going to sign him. The turning point was a game at Barnet when Martin Allen saw him play. He decided that if he went to a league club he would come back for Sodje and he took him to Brentford. Now he's in the Premiership with Reading - it shows what can be achieved." Piper added "I remember him standing out for a number of things. He was either totally outstanding and dominant or he would make basic, silly mistakes. Even watching him at Brentford I saw the same Sam Sodje."

Sam had his first outing for Reading in a friendly against Lanna Golf of Sweden's Division Six on 5.8.06 and scored twice as the Royals won 10-1. He made his competitive debut on 26.8.06 as Reading lost 1-0 at Wigan in their first Premier League game and Sam picked up a booking. It was almost two months before he featured again - as a substitute in a 4-3 defeat at Liverpool in a League Cup tie on 25.10.06 - and after starting a Premier League game at Liverpool on 4.11.06 that Reading lost 2-0 Sam fell out of favour once more.

He returned to first team action on 30.12.06 when he came on as a substitute as Reading took on Manchester United in a Premier League game at Old Trafford watched by over 75,000 people. Sam made his entrance in the 59th minute and quickly picked up a yellow card. In the 69th minute he was booked again so ten minutes after coming on he was sent off. Reading ended up losing 3-2.

In his next outing on 9.1.07 Sam got his first goal with a typical towering header as Reading beat Burnley 3-2 in the FA Cup 3rd Round. It was only his fifth appearance for the club but he only played twice more in the next two months.

In March 2007 Sam was loaned to Championship club West Bromwich Albion and their manager Tony Mowbray said "Sam will bring both a real competitive edge and athleticism to the team. He's as big a presence in the opposition box as he is defending in his own penalty area because he attacks the ball exceptionally well." Sam made his debut for the Baggies in a 1-1 draw with Birmingham at The Hawthorns on 18.3.07 and scored his first goal for the club in a 2-1 win at Norwich on 9.4.07. He made a total of ten appearances and the last of them was in the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley on 28.5.07. West Brom lost 1-0 to Derby and Sam became the first former Margate player to play at the new Wembley.

In July 2007 Sam was left out of Reading's 24-man squad for the Peace Cup tournament in South Korea and Steve Coppell said "We left out Sam Sodje because we're taking a lot of centre-backs. He's the unfortunate one to miss out."

In August 2007 Reading agreed a fee for Sam with Sheffield Wednesday but the deal fell through and he played as the Royals won 1-0 at Swansea in a League Cup tie on 28.8.07. Sam was sent off on 58 minutes after picking up two bookings. It turned out to be his last game for Reading.

On 31.8.07 Sam joined Championship club Charlton on a season-long loan and his brother Akpo joined Sheffield Wednesday the same day. Sam made his debut for the Addicks in a 2-0 win over Norwich at The Valley on 18.9.07 and scored his first goal in a 3-0 home win over Cardiff on 10.11.07. In all he made 27 appearances for the Addicks and scored twice. Sam was sent off once - seeing red after just 30 minutes of a 1-1 draw at Norwich on Boxing Day 2007.

In September 2008 Reading loaned Sam out yet again, this time to Championship club Watford but he only played once there - in a 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United on 27.9.08 - before going back to the Royals in October 2008.

Sam spent months in Reading's reserves before joining League One outfit Leeds on loan in March 2009. He made his debut in a 2-0 win over MK Dons at Elland Road on 28.3.09 and had six more outings before the end of 2008/09. Sam played in both legs of the League One Play-Off semi-final against Millwall in May 2009 but it was the Lions who progressed to the final with a 2-1 aggregate win.

On 29.5.09 Sam played for Nigeria in their 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland 1 at Fulham's Craven Cottage and a couple of days later he was released by Reading. He was linked with numerous clubs including Bristol City and Leeds and told the Reading Chronicle "I have nothing to prove to anyone. People have their opinions but I know that when I'm fit and playing regularly I'm a good player. But I've loved my time with Reading. I love the fans and I love the club."

Sam picked up another Nigeria cap in a famous 1-0 win away to France on 2.6.09 and the home side included the likes of Nicholas Anelka and Franck Ribery.

In July 2009 he was expected to sign for Leeds but they had doubts about Sam's fitness and he ended up joining Charlton of League One on 1.9.09. He told the Sky Sports website "I'm local to the area so Charlton is my club and I can't wait to get going. I had a few other clubs interested but this move is the one that's right for me. I loved it here before. This club is in my blood."

Sam made his first appearance in a 2-1 home win over Exeter on 26.9.09 and in November 2009 he was joined at The Valley by his brother Akpo who signed on loan from Sheffield Wednesday. A game at Yeovil on 21.11.09 was due to be the first time the two of them ever played together at senior level but Sam was sent off after 29 minutes before Akpo came off the bench at half-time to score as the match finished 1-1. That meant that Sam and Akpo had to wait until 1.12.09 before they were on the pitch for Charlton at the same time - in a 2-0 win at Brighton.

Sam was sent off again in a 2-2 draw with Swindon at The Valley on 26.12.09 and in January 2010 he was left out of Nigeria's squad for the African Nations Cup in Angola. In an interview with Sam said that his exclusion from the list of 32 was not an indication that he would also be left out of preparations for the 2010 World Cup. He added "I'm disappointed a little bit. It is surprising for a 32-man list and my name is not involved but, you know, it's life. I wish them the best. Hopefully, they can go there and win it. Hopefully, my chance can come again and I put myself back in it. It's up to the manager. If he thinks he doesn't want me there, it is his opinion. But, hopefully, I will get my chance again."

By the end of the 2009/10 season Sam had scored four goals from 29 outings for Charlton and in April 2010 he was invited to Nigeria's pre-World Cup training camp in England. Sam told "I have been waiting for this moment to prove my worth, which many are well aware of. I am a good player who works hard for the success of the team and I have no doubt in my ability to grab a shirt in the final team list to the World Cup." Unfortunately Sam didn't make the squad.

In July 2010 he signed for Greek club Skoda Xanthi but Sam's contract was terminated after just a few days and the official reason given was because his family, especially his newly-wed wife, opposed the move.

In August 2010 Sam started an extended trial with Championship side Portsmouth but they didn't offer him a deal and in October 2010 he was linked with a move to League One side Sheffield Wednesday.

At the start of November 2010 Sam ended up joining Notts County and became new manager Paul Ince's first signing for the League One club on a contract running up to June 2012. Sam made his debut for the Magpies in a 2-0 win over Gateshead in an FA Cup tie at Meadow Lane on 6.11.10 but shortly afterwards he went to Nigeria and didn't return to England until February 2011.

Ince had left County by the time Sam got back to the club and after making his comeback in a 2-0 defeat at Leyton Orient on 5.3.11 he played regularly for the remainder of the 2010/11 campaign, making 12 appearances in all without scoring. Sam was sent off in the last game of the season as Notts County drew 1-1 against Brighton at Meadow Lane on 7.5.11.

In July 2011 he was transfer-listed by the Magpies new manager Martin Allen, his former boss at Brentford, but Sam still featured fairly regularly during 2011/12. In February 2012 former England international Keith Curle took over as County's manager and he made Sam available for emergency loan. His Notts County contract was due to expire in three months' time and Curle said "It's important some of the players who aren't getting match practice get some game time. They'll be able to showcase the abilities they've got between now and the end of the season to hopefully earn a contract here or somewhere else." Sam didn't get a loan move and in May 2012 he was released having scored twice from 19 outings for County during 2011/12. Shortly afterwards he returned to Hartsdown Park to play in Bill Edwards' testimonial on 12.5.12.

During the first half of the 2012/13 season Sam didn't have a club and kept fit by training with Charlton and Dagenham & Redbridge before being signed by League One club Portsmouth on a short-term deal at the end of January 2013.

Sam made his debut for Pompey in a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Colchester on 2.2.13 and on 23.2.13 he was sent off five minutes into the second half of a 1-0 defeat at Oldham after a bizarre clash with Jose Baxter. Sam twice punched the midfielder 'below the belt' to earn himself a straight red card. Sam left Portsmouth at the end of 2012/13 having made a total of nine appearances without scoring.

In December 2013 the Sun On Sunday ran a story alleging that Sam's sending off for Portsmouth against Oldham was something he'd pre-arranged in order to receive £70,000. The newspaper said Sam showed footage of himself hitting Jose Baxter and told its reporter "Ok listen. This is when I was playing. Do you know how much I got for that? £70k. Do you know how much I got fined ? I got fined ten grand and I missed six games." The Sun On Sunday passed their evidence onto the National Crime Agency to look at as part of their ongoing investigations into match-fixing.

Another of Sam's brothers called Bright played Rugby League for teams including Sheffield Eagles and Sam also had a sister who was a successful athlete whilst his cousin Onome played non-league football.









2002/03 (MFC)

47 (52)







     Played in FA Cup 1st Round (16.11.02 - drew 1-1 at Leyton Orient).
     Played in FA Cup 1st Round replay (26.11.02 - beat Leyton Orient 1-0 at 'home' (Dover Athletic)). 
     Played in FA Cup 2nd Round (07.12.02 - lost 3-0 to Cardiff City at 'home' (Dover Athletic)).  
     Played in Kent Senior Cup Final (30.04.03 - won 2-1 at Welling United).










2003/04 (MFC)

34 (51)







     Margate demoted to new Conference South due to ground issues.