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Former Fulham defender jailed for witness intimidation

Here’s a story you don’t read every day. Elliot Omozusi, once a promising young full-back with Fulham, was jailed for two and a half years today after being found guilty of witness intimidation at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Omozusi, who had been playing for Leyton Orient, was one of a gang of six men who chased a man, who had given evidence that had to led to the killers of Agnes Sina-Inakoju being jailed for life. Sixteen year-old Sina-Inakoju was shot dead in an east London pizza restaurant last April. The witness, who can’t be named for legal reasons, helped police find the killers – Leon Dunkley and Mohammed Smoured – after his house was ransacked following the shooting.

The witness ran to police officers after a chance encounter with the gang members on a night out in Liverpool last May. They chased him from outside a nightclub until they were stopped by an on-duty police officer. Omozusi, who was wearing a shirt emblazoned with ‘London Fields’ – the name of the gang connected with Agnes’ shooting – when he was arrested, claimed that he ‘was just having a laugh’. It was an excuse the police – and the jury – didn’t believe.

It all seems a far cry from Omozusi’s Fulham career. He looked a real prospect when he emerged from the club’s youth team as a tall and attacking defender. He made his debut in the League Cup defeat by Wycombe in September 2006 and made his first start for the club at Leicester in the FA Cup. He made his first league start in the 1-1 draw at Sunderland in October and, the following week, saw him create a crucial second goal for Clint Dempsey in a vital 3-1 win over Reading. He was, however, sent off for a second bookable offence in injury-time. Omozusi went on to make nine appearances that year, before falling down the pecking order when Roy Hodgson replaced Lawrie Sanchez as manager.

He had loan spells at Norwich and Charlton, before being released by Fulham in January 2010. He joined Leyton Orient, initially on trial, and went on to make 62 appearances for the O’s before his trial.

Charlton closing in on Omozusi deal

It looks as though Elliot Omozusi’s future could be finalised fairly soon. The defender won’t be returning to Fulham, although a permanent move to Charlton – where the full back is currently on loan – has been complicated by the fact that Fulham, despite having released him last summer, still hold Omozusi’s registration.

Charlton manager Phil Parkinson is keen to sign Omozusi on a full-time basis after ‘Junior’ impressed in his initial one-month loan spell.

Elliot is a strange one because he isn’t actually under contract at Fulham. They are just paying to protect their compensation rights because they didn’t want him to go for free.

We probably could have made it a permanent signing initially but with our financial situation we decided to do it for a month and now we’ve added a second month onto that. He certainly had his best game the other night [at Brighton].

I think he was unlucky he came into the team when his match fitness was short and it coincided with the team having a dip in form as well. But it was pleasing for him to come in and play well and get a clean sheet.

Initially Fulham wanted a fee but talks since then have been more about them wanting some sort of sell on agreement if anyone was going to sign him. But as you know in football things change, so we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

The curious case of Elliot Omozusi

Here’s an interesting one. Elliot Omozusi was once very highly-rated down at Motspur Park. He showed glimpses of real potential in his fleeting first-team appearances but, by the end of last season, was struggling to make the reserve team.

I understood that he had been given permission to talk to other clubs after his contract expired in the summer. Fulham still held his registration and had hoped that loaning him out to Norwich last season might raise a fee for a player that Roy obviously didn’t rate. Charlton taking him on loan is obviously a chance to put him in the shop window, but the arrangement seems strange since he’s been on trial at a number of Championship sides already this season.

Can you make any sense of this one? Answers on a postcard – or, probably more suitably given the postal strike, in the comments box.

Norwich loan Omozusi

Norwich City have agreed a season-long loan deal for Fulham youngster Elliot Omozusi.

The young right back has made eleven first team appearances for the Whites and Roy Hodgson was happy to allow him to move to East Anglia to gain regular football as part of his development. Norwich manager Glenn Roeder was delighted to clinch his signing:

“Elliot is a young player who we’ve been aware of for some time. He’s hugely talented and has been known to Lee Clark at Fulham. “We hope that, like Ryan Bertrand, we can bring him on as a talent, so that he returns to his club a better player.”