Great Phantom Signings Of Our Time: Jerrome Sobers

Jerrome Sobers, Ipswich Town, 2004/2005

It’s a bleak February in 2005, and having sent Greg Strong packing – and with Paul Ellender of course suspended – Boston United’s defence consisted of two old traffic cones, an old lawnmower… and Pilgrim The Panther.

Yet again, Steve Evans’ unique approach to squad building had left him short of bodies mid-season, and so it was that with a tricky trip to

Wycombe Wanderers to navigate, everyone’s favourite manager took to the club’s official website to announce the signing of Ipswich defender Jerrome Sobers on loan for a month.

Boston United’s first choice central defender, February 2005

Because all the best players arrive on loan for a month.

Who the hell is Jerrome Sobers?

Only the greatest prospect in English football, you fool!

Yes, Sobers – then 18 – had been signed by Ipswich for actual hard cash – all ten grand of it – from Ford United, which obviously meant the guy was set to be the next Rio Ferdinand.

Evans took to the official Boston United website to EXCLUSIVELY reveal that the teenager came ‘highly recommended’ by then-Ipswich boss Joe Royle – no doubt another of his very good friends in football who’d never actually spoken to him.

According to Evans, Royle believed Sobers had a ‘big future’ in the Championship. Which is why he was being sent to Boston, presumably.

So why didn’t he ever play for Boston United?

United’s website announces Sobers

Sobers apparently ‘went down with a virus’, and the deal was never completed. Evans instead moved for Sheffield United’s Emanuele Garbrieli, who was probably expected to become the new Paulo Maldini or something.

Presumably Sobers went on to fulfill Royle’s prophecy and set the Championship alight with his assured performances at the heart of Ipswich’s defence for years afterwards?


For a player Evans had been desperate to tout as a player of huge potential, Sobers made precisely 0 appearances for his parent club. He was instead farmed out to Brentford, where he scored his first – and only – goal in professional football in his first – and only – appearance in professional football. Sobers dropped out of professional football altogether at the end of that season when he was released by Ipswich.

Where is Sobers now?

Sobers is still playing for Tonbridge Angels in the Isthmian League Premier Division. Good lad. Another bullet dodged there, mate.

Follow Trail of Dead on Twitter @TrailOfDebt. All content and tweets by Pete Brooksbank (@petebrooksbank)
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