S is for Sabin
Éric Sabin’s professional career started with Nîmes Olympique in the south of France after breaking out of the club’s youth system.
The forward, born in the suburbs of Paris, spent several years at Les Crocodiles and made a total of 68 league appearances over two spells, either side of time at GFC Ajaccio. But it was at his next club, Wasquehal, where his performances over two seasons attracted interest from England.
Sabin signed for Swindon Town in 2001 with then-manager Andy King comparing his pacey new striker to Thierry Henry. Although Sabin was not as prolific in front of goal as the then-Arsenal star, he managed nine goals in 73 league appearances for the Robins and earned a transfer to divisional rivals Queens Park Rangers.
Sabin only played 16 games for the London outfit, but 17 years later, fans still reminisce over his injury-time winner at Grimsby Town. It proved to be Sabin’s only goal for QPR, and he was briefly loaned to Boston United before signing for the Cobblers later in the season, but he had already played his part in what became a promotion-winning campaign for the Rs.
The forward hit the ground running in claret and white, making his debut in March 2004 against his former club Boston before opening his account with a brace against Hull City.
His time in Northampton was arguably the best of his career, making more than 50 appearances and scoring 13 goals. Sabin’s efforts helped the Cobblers reach the League Two Play-Offs in the 2004/05 season, while away from the playing field he completed his UEFA B coaching licence.
After starting 2005/06 at Sixfields, Sabin switched to Oxford United and netted seven times in 29 matches. He then transferred back across the channel for a two-year spell at AC Arles and was called up for the Martinique national team, scoring four goals in three Caribbean Cup qualification matches.
In 2008, Sabin then finished his career where it had started, at Nîmes Olympique, and transitioned off the field to manage the club’s Centre of Development. Sabin has since worked in events management and as a football academy director.