Published: 05:00, 11 May 2022
Maidstone club captain George Elokobi marked the final game of his long career with a special goal and vowed to watch it back “more than a million times”.
Elokobi opened the scoring as National League South champions Maidstone ended the season with a 2-1 home win against Hampton.
It meant as much to him as the iconic goal he scored for Wolves that ended Manchester United’s 29-game unbeaten run in the Premier League more than a decade ago.
“I’m going to look back at that goal more than a million times,” said Elokobi, who's retiring after a 19-year career.
“I think this one is definitely going to be up there with the goal against Man United and I know it’s going to stay in the hearts of the Maidstone fans forever.”
Elokobi dropped to his knees in front of the Genco Stand on being substituted midway through the second half.
He left the field to a guard of honour before collecting the championship trophy with Gavin Hoyte, the man who took the armband during Elokobi’s time out of the side this season.
It was a dream finale for the 36-year-old defender, who announced his retirement last week.
“Well, that’s just the George Elokobi story,” he said.
“Any kids that watched this game, they should be inspired by it. It’s for them.
“Ending it this way, I couldn’t have done it without my team-mates and these amazing fans.
“I was overwhelmed. I had to stay focused and when the gaffer said I would be starting, I was ready because I’ve been ready for a long, long time.
“The boys have been exceptional and I’ve played my part in supporting them.
“They’ve all been brilliant in sending me off. You can’t write it. It hasn’t sunk in yet.
“Listen, this is football and in football you’ve got to write your own history but, however you want to end it, I couldn’t have done it without my team-mates.
“They wanted to do this for me as well, they wanted to send me out the right way and I can’t thank them enough for it. There are no words to say thank you enough.
“To have all this, in front of my family, it’s just fantastic.
“Gavin sort of let slip to me what was going to happen with the guard of honour and I can’t thank Hampton enough for doing it as well. That shows what a great club they are. What a way to bow out.”
Elokobi won four promotions during a glittering career, which included six years at Wolves, after moving to England from Cameroon as a child.
A popular and inspirational character, wherever he’s played, Elokobi revealed he always planned to retire at the end of this season, after three years with the Stones.
“I couldn’t imagine a better club to finish my career with,” said Elokobi.
“This club deserves the success they are getting, these fans deserve it, they deserve everything that’s happening to them.
“When I came here I knew I was going to finish on a high and I said that from day one.
“I was here to educate these younger players and I think I’ve led by example.
“I’ve handed the armband to a great individual in Gavin Hoyte and I think he’s going to do an exceptional job.
“I gave myself a three-year plan to be successful as their leader and I’ve done that. It’s the right time to stop.”