Lovers of football in Nigeria will still remember former Super Eagles dependable defender, Reuben Agboola who jettisoned the idea of playing for England and opted to play for his father’s land Nigeria despite not visiting the country for once.
The half caste Agboola who only visited Nigeria for the first time when he arrived to play in 1991 is now into the business of selling cars. He sells both used and new cars in the UK now.
Aside car business, he is also into hospitality. Though, he still lives and does his business in the UK, those who know however told us that he has his tentacles spread all over Europe for his auto business.
For those who don’t know him, Reuben Agboola was born in London and began his footballing career at Southampton – joining as a youth in 1978 and eventually signing a professional contract in 1980.
Agboola was thrust in to an injury-hit Southampton side and despite impressing early on, the Nigerian national struggled to hold a regular first team position.
He would make just 11 appearances in his first two seasons with The Saints but would develop and feature as a sweeper for the-then manager Lawrie McMenemy – who would later manager Agboola at Sunderland.
While Agboola helped Southampton to a second-place league position and the FA Cup semi-final, he then lost his place in the team to Kevin Bond.
It was then that he moved to Wearside for £150,000 in 1985.
He debut for Sunderland was postponed due to a frozen Roker Park pitch eventually making his first appearance against his former club – SAFC lost the game against The Saints 1-0.
As with the early stages of his time at Southampton, Agboola struggled to make an impact at SAFC and the club found themselves relegated.
Sunderland did reach the final of the Mile Cup in the 1985/86 season but fell short against Norwich.
Agboola was cup-tied so could not feature.
The season after saw his former boss McMenemy take over the reins at Roker Park and given their rocky relationship in the past, it was no surprise that he spent some of that season on loan at Charlton Athletic.
When McMenemy left, Denis Smith was his replacement and Agboola found some much-need form and enjoyed a fine spell under the new regime.
This not only helped his own confidence but also saw the club earn promotion back to the Second Division and then in to the First Division.
Once again first time action became a rarity to Agboola as he began to fall by the wayside – a loan move to Port Vale in November 1990 was followed by a permanent deal with Swansea City.
Agboola would only make 28 appearances for The Swans.
While his career may have come to an unspectacular end, Agboola did make history while a part of SAFC.
During his time on Wearside he became the first Sunderland player to be capped by an African nation, Nigeria, in 1990.
No, his international career did not blossom, but Reuben Agboola will forever be remembered in the Sunderland AFC history books, as well as playing arguably the best football of his career during the one of the club’s worst periods.