E is for Elad
Back in the early nineties, things weren’t too great for the Cobblers, but with a new stadium on the horizon, fans had a glimmer of hope that the future would be better despite the financial and football challenges the club was facing.
In an attempt to arrest the on-field decline, Northampton Town appointed experienced manager John Barnwell in September 1993. Amongst the new faces he introduced, on the recommendation of a contact in Europe, was a Hackney-born Cameroonian reportedly on head coach Henri Michel’s radar for the 1994 FIFA World Cup in USA.
Little was known of Efon Elad – a player Barnwell would later describe as being like “a bottle of pop, totally unpredictable” – when he arrived in January 1994, via a spell with Fortuna Koln in Germany. Yet, within moments of appearing in a Cobblers’ shirt, it was clear his infectious smile would brighten up the dark and final days at the County Ground.
The Cobblers had an enigmatic cult hero on their hands – he brought a unique charisma to the pitch underpinned by pace, power, stamina and all-round skill. Despite making only 10 appearances, scoring once, he made enough of an impression in his short stay to earn a place in Northampton Town folklore.
Come August of that year though, he had swapped claret and white for the amber and black of Cambridge United as the midfielder continued his career on English soil, first with the U’s and then Mansfield Town. He went on to play non-league football for Stevenage, Hitchin Town, Leighton Town and Basingstoke Town.