Leyton Orient have announced the signing of defender George Elokobi on a two-year contract. The 31-year-old was a free agent after leaving Colchester United at the end of last term. Elokobi turned down a new contract with the U’s as well as offers from two Football League clubs this summer.
[textmarker color=”E00202″ type=”background color”]George Elokobi[/textmarker]
Born: Mamfe, Cameroon
Height: 1.80 m (6 ft )
Career Apps: 251
Born in Mamfe, Cameroon, George moved to England as a teenager. Dulwich Hamlet were his first English club.
In June 2004, Colchester United signed Elokobi, but he was loaned out Chester City during his first season with the U’s. He made five appearances for the then League Two side and was sent-off in hsi final game for Chester before returning to his parent club.
In 2005/06 Elokobi made his Colchester debut, which was his professional appearance and he scored his first goal in professional football in September 2005 to help the U’s to a draw against Huddersfield. That season, George made 17 appearances in all competitions as Colchester won promotion to the Championship.
After beginning the 2006/07 campaign as the U’s first choice left-back, Elokobi lost his place in the side and as a result only made 10 appearances that year. However, George was far more prominent in the Colchester side in the following campaign and had begun to attract interest from other clubs.
In January 2008, Elokobi left Colchester having made 46 appearances for the club. Fellow Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers paid a fee in the region of £500,000 to take the Cameroonian defender to the Molineux.
After featuring regularly for Wolves in the second half of the 2007/08 season, Elokobi suffered a serious knee injury that kept him out of much of Wolves’ Championship winning campaign in 2008/09.
George made over 50 appearances in the Premier League for Wolves over the three seasons that followed, however, in the third year Elokobi struggled to hold down a place in the first team.
As a result, Wolves put Elokobi on the loan list and in February 2012, he joined Championship Nottingham Forest on an emergency loan. He made 12 appearances as Forest fought for survival.
Elokobi was not highly thought of by Ståle Solbakken and so he was sidelined further at the Molineux. He was loaned out to Bristol City in September 2012 but he made just one appearance for the club before suffering a serious ankle injury.
Wolves had been relegated to League One in George’s absence, but it was felt that he may get more opportunities under new boss Kenny Jackett. However, Elokobi was a peripheral figure again, making just nine appearances as Wolves won the League One title. At the end of the 2013/14 season, Elokobi was released by Wolves. He had made over 100 appearances in six-and-a-half seasons with the club.
In the summer of 2014, Elokobi had a short trial spell with Leyton Orient. He played 45 minutes for the O’s in their pre-season friendly win over Dartford. However, he did not secure a contract with Orient.
— Total Orient (@TotalOrient) July 14, 2017
Oldham Athletic signed George on a one-year contract in August 2014 and he went on to make 27 appearances for the Latics. He had managed to work his way into Lee Johnson’s first team plans, but following Johnson’s move to Barnsley, Elokobi played just once under new Oldham boss Dean Holden. George turned down the offer of a reduced contract at the end of the 2014/15 season.
In July 2015, Elokobi returned to Colchester United. He featured fairly regularly in his season back at the U’s, playing 19 times. However, last summer he was loan-listed by new Colchester boss John McGreal.
Braintree agreed a loan deal for Elokobi in October 2016 and he made six appearances for the Iron in the National League during his spell at Cressing Road. He also played for Braintree in their 7-0 demolition of Eastbourne in the FA Cup, in which George scored a brace.
After impressing while on loan, John McGreal recalled Elokobi in November and he went straight in to the U’s starting line-up and remained there for the rest of the season. The U’s had just lost to Orient, leaving them just one place above the relegation zone. George’s return coincided with a seven-match winning run. Colchester had turned their fortunes from relegation candidates to play-off hopefuls, with Elokobi playing a key part, however, the U’s narrowly missed out.
— George Elokobi (@georgeelokobi) July 14, 2017
Elokobi could not agree a new contract with Colchester and as a result had been a free agent since the end of June. He becomes Orient’s new eighth new recruit of the summer and links up with former Colchester team-mate Macauley Bonne who is also a new arrival at Brisbane Road.
Orient now have greater depth defensively and George also offers versatility as well as some much-needed experience. Elokobi has spent much of his career at left-back, however, in recent times he has been used as a centre-back, typically operating as part of a back three with Colchester last term.