Superman Sonko has the X-Factor!
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No – it’s Ibrahima Sonko!
Reading fans once wore T-shirts in homage to their cult hero which read ‘Sonko is Superman’ due to the Senegalese centre-back’s gravity-defying leaps.
And the 30-year-old – who signed a one-year deal at Ipswich yesterday – is clearly one of the big characters Town have been crying out for after he released a dramatic X-Factor style introduction video on his official website (see link to the top right).
He’ll need such confidence because, quite frankly, debuts don’t come more daunting than this.
Little over 48 hours after training with his new team mates for the first time, the former Reading and Stoke man will be expected to transform a defence which has just conceded 12 goals in two games.
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It’s a massive ask for one man to make the difference to a side that is clearly suffering a crisis of confidence. All eyes at Portman Road will be on him for tomorrow’s visit of Leeds United and, if you’ll excuse the pun, it’s very much a case of Sonk or swim.
A desperate signing by manager Paul Jewell, who has missed out on numerous targets, or the just the right character that is needed in this hour of need? Let’s analyse his CV.
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Town need a personality to lift the spirits of a worryingly quiet dressing room and a leader to take charge of a badly disorganised team on the pitch. Sonko could well be that man.
Take a more in-depth look at his official website to see why. A big fan of fashion, he can be seen posing in a series of shots. ‘I am Sonko’ reads one headline, as he glares down the lens in sunglasses. ‘They call me Superman’, reads another.
And after two frustrating loan spells at Championship clubs Hull and Portsmouth in the last two seasons, he spoke out with refreshing honesty in a national newspaper interview recently.
“The fans are sitting around me and God knows what they think,” said the defender. “To them I must have looked like some lazy footballer picking up almost �20,000 a week but could not be bothered to play.”
The anger was understandable considering Hull quickly decided they didn’t want him in 2010, only to be told Stoke didn’t want him back either, while Portsmouth often couldn’t play him last season because they had too many loan players.
The Blues clearly don’t have a shrinking violet on their hands, that’s for sure.
More importantly, what about his pedigree on the pitch? Yes there have been frustrations in recent years – explained above – but he is still a player who Premier League side Stoke paid �2m for little over two years ago.
Why? Because he’d helped Reading storm to the Championship title in 2006 – earning a record 106 points along the way – before leading them to a shock eighth place finish in their debut Premier League campaign.
Even more encouragingly for Ipswich, the above achievements came playing alongside Ivar Ingimarsson at the Madjeski Stadium. Get the Icelander fit again and the Blues’ inexperienced back four would suddenly have a calm and steady core once again.