Player profile: Iffy Onuora

Cod Almighty | Article

by Pete Green

17 November 2003

"Have we really got a player called Iffy?" It was my brother's first game of the season (at home to QPR in the cup, the lucky sod) and he would be the first to admit that he is not a diligent student of lower-league minutiae. When Mr Onuora washed up on Grimsby's shores, though, most supporters immediately recognised him as the kind of been-around-forever, big strong lad who perennially fills his goalscoring boots at Town's expense (see also: Payton, Andy).

So what don't you already know about him? Here for your mild edification is a small collection of Iffy facts – small because Onuora is not the easiest player in the world to research on the internet, probably since nobody can spell his surname. 

Onuora is probably the first Grimsby player to have his own official website, on one of those network sites, like dead famous players do. The site even gives his email address, by which he apparently received an approach from a club in Cyprus before his move to Sheffield United last year. Sadly it hasn't been updated for over a year, when the Iffster was still in plaster from the horrible injury that stopped him ever getting started at Bramall Lane. The less kind and patient among the Town support will be tempted to observe that in this respect the player's website is a perfect reflection of his career. 

Iffy does not have a brother called Dodgy. His real first name is Ifem. He is yet to win an international cap but could still be called up by Scotland, having been born in Glasgow, or Nigeria, qualifying by heredity to represent the oil-rich west African state. He could probably also play for Ireland. Well, he's as Irish as Tony Cascarino.

Finally, the Mariners' six-foot-two, 14-stone striking phenomenon was implicated in a juicy Davison/Burnett-style scandal at Gillingham in 1998, when he was rumoured by fans to have hit a hot streak of away form with the wife of the club chairman. The terrace chant "Aye aye, Iffy Iffy, aye" (to the tune of She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain) acquired an additional verse – "He'll be shagging Scally's missus when he comes" – and Onuora found himself transferred to Swindon. Whether this particular smoke originated with any kind of fire I cannot say, but given a choice between him and Paul Scally, which way would you swing? 

To conclude let us turn from trivia and tittle-tattle, because it must be said that Iffy has brought out the worst in Town fans this season. Not just the persistent casual racism, which is no less revolting for being isolated in its occurrence, but the belief that booing and barracking comprise the correct response when a player is struggling. Onuora may want for pace (well, duh - 36 years old) but has held the ball up reasonably well and headed it down to Boulding, which is what he was signed for. More importantly, he tries.Blundell Park crowds are correctly scornful of idle posers and freeloaders, but Iffy Onuora is not Scott McGarvey, Tommy Widdrington or Danny Butterfield. Cut the guy some slack. He only needs to be better than Livvo!