It’s fair to say we were a dominant player in the transfer market in the first month-or-so after the end of the 2017-8 campaign. In completing the signing of winger Emmanuel Sonupe in mid-June, boss Dino Maamria had taken his summer additions to seven. It took more than a five-figure sum to get him from Kidderminster Harriers too; Boro’ defender Ryan Johnson moving in the opposite direction on a half-season loan.
For much of 2018-9, however, it was hard to see where the first-team opportunities were coming from. There were plenty of cameos off the bench, but no real run. By the end of term, he’d made 26 appearances off the bench. But he did lift his number of starts to 11. Part of this was almost a reinvention; Sonupe brought in off the wing as part of a 5-3-2 formation and playing through the middle. It did the trick, both for him and the team.
In that role, Boro’s fortunes improved almost to the point of gatecrashing the playoffs. So, hopes were high that the midfielder would have a big part to play going into 2019-20. But, like all hopes for the season, they soon fizzled out. Results were poor and Maamria went. As we went through the managers, it became harder for Sonupe to stake his claim. With little to show from a dismal season, Alex Revell let the midfielder leave in June 2020.
Emmanuel Sonupe: Before Boro’
Sonupe’s footballing odyssey started out, as many do, as a youth team player at a Premier League side. In this case, it was Tottenham Hotspur. And that’s sort of interesting, when you consider the winger is reportedly a fan of the side from the other half of North London. Ho hum! Anyway, it would be a loan move that provided that first taste of senior football; one that took him north of the border to St Mirren.
After returning with just four appearances under his belt in almost as many months in the SPL, the player came back to Tottenham. His next port of call came a year later in 2016, with a permanent switch to Northampton Town. Again, he was unable to force himself into the first team reckoning and was on the move again during the 2016-7 season. This time, only as far as Kiddy on loan. The impression he made during his short stay at Aggborough was a lasting one too.
In summer 2017, Harriers snapped him up on a permanent deal. And his stock started to grow. With regular playing time during the 2017-8 National League North season, Sonupe scored 15 times and laid on another seven goals for others at Kiddy. It obviously caught the attention of then Nuneaton boss Dino Maamria, who decided to bring him here after taking up the reins at the Lamex; signing Sonupe in summer 2018.