Wolves cult hero George Elokobi has made his next move by signing for Maidstone United – and in typical fashion, he promises they will have never seen anything like him before!
The powerhouse 33-year-old has signed a one-year deal for The Stones and moves out of the top five tiers of English football for the first time since he was at Dulwich Hamlet from 2002-04. Elokobi will be looking to guide Maidstone to promotion after they were relegated from the National League in bottom place last season.
And the typically irrepressible Elokobi gave Stones fans a taste of what is to come with his opening interview.
“I come here with a lot of experience under my belt and I can assure everyone they’ve not experienced someone like me before!” said Elokobi. “We’ve had our holidays and time off and now I’m looking forward to getting going.”
“It feels brilliant to be here. It’s a good club – I played here at the end of last season, I enjoyed the atmosphere so I’m glad to be here.
“I spoke to Hakan Hayrettin (manager) to find out what was in place here and what sort of club it was. Once we spoke about this, it was a project I wanted to be a part of.”
Elokobi is joined at Gallagher Stadium, where attendances averaged 2,179 last season despite relegation to the sixth tier, by fellow new signing and one-time Arsenal defender Gavin Hoyte, 29, who is set to play at right back.
The Cameroon-born colossus is fondly remembered by Wolves fans for his wholehearted, all-action approach that he carried right through his 103 appearances for the club from 2008-14, after signing from Colchester for £300,000 to arrive at Molineux in the same month as Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Dave Edwards.
It was a rollercoaster ride for Elokobi, winning the Championship in 2008-09 and playing a part in three Premier League seasons, two relegations and a bit-part role in the League One title success in 2013-14.
Elokobi, who also had loan spells with Nottingham Forest and Bristol City during his time at Molineux, joined Oldham after leaving Wolves. That was followed by a second stint at Colchester and a move to Leyton Orient in 2017, who went on to win the National League.
Injuries restricted his involvement at Brisbane Road and he was released on January 31, his 33rd birthday. But he was a regular at Aldershot after signing in February, playing 13 games, including his swansong, ironically at Gallagher Stadium in the last match of the season.
Only this week, Elokobi gave a heartfelt interview with talkSPORT about his career, and paid a huge tribute to Wolves for making him the player he became.
“I’m a massive Wolves fan and the Wolves faithful know that,” he said. “I want to see them win the Premier League; that’s the dream. I will probably be the first one invading the pitch if that happens!
“I feel part of the gold and black family. I say sometimes that if you cut me, I will bleed gold and black. Wolves gave me a lot. As a football club, that is where everyone took notice of George Elokobi. Yes, Colchester gave me the platform to come into the professional scene but Wolves was the making of George Elokobi.
“I wasn’t the most technically gifted player but when it came to desire, hard work and commitment, I gave them 110 per cent every single day of my life and I’m sure fans appreciate that. It’s not just a football club but it’s a family for me. They are my family.”
Elokobi admits the football played by his successors at Molineux has been ‘mind blowing’. The team have gone from strength to strength under Nuno Espirito Santo, winning the Championship title before finishing seventh in the Premier League and qualifying for the Europa League.
“Wolves are playing some of the best football I’ve seen from a team that has just come up and in the Championship they were incredible,” he said. “In the Premier League, at times, they were mind blowing. They fear no one and stick to their philosophies whether they are losing or winning and it’s incredible to see them finish seventh.”
“Since Nuno took over in the Championship, they have had an identity. Wolves have been playing some incredible football and they did that and won the Championship.
“There were times when people said they were buying the Championship. To buy the players and get them to play how you want them to play and to settle these players in, it is incredible what Nuno and his coaching staff have done.”