Viv Efosa Solomon-Otabor (born 2 January 1996) is a footballer who plays for Birmingham City of the Championship.
A winger, Solomon-Otabor made his senior debut while on loan at Conference North club Oxford City in 2014, and first played for Birmingham in the League Cup in August 2015. He spent time on loan to League One Bolton Wanderers in 2016–17 before joining Blackpool ahead of the 2017–18 season. Solomon-Otabor was born in London to Nigerian parents.
Solomon-Otabor was born in London to parents originally from Edo State, Nigeria. He is the nephew of Nigerian international footballer Thompson Oliha, and his father, Victor-Banks Otabor, played domestically for Bendel Insurance, NNPC and Eagle Oil. He attended Bishop Thomas Grant School, Streatham, and supported Manchester United as a boy.
As a youngster, Solomon-Otabor played football with Hampton & Richmond Borough, and was a member of Crystal Palace's academy, before taking up a scholarship with Birmingham City in July 2012. In February 2014, he joined Conference North club Oxford City on a youth loan until the end of the season. He played 12 league matches, 7 as a member of the starting eleven, and scored once, in a 2–0 win away to Gloucester City, as Oxford City finished 20th.
Solomon-Otabor signed his first professional contract with Birmingham, of one year with the option of a second, in June 2014. In November, he described his strengths as speed, dribbling, and ability to play with both feet. He was a regular in the development squad over the season, and was a member of the team that won the Birmingham Senior Cup. His under-21 coach, Richard Beale, believed the player had the potential to progress to the first team but needed to work harder at the defensive aspects of the game.
Birmingham took up the option for a further year on his contract, and he showed enough progress in pre-season and into the start of the 2015–16 season that manager Gary Rowett decided to keep him at the club instead of allowing him out on loan again. Rowett remarked on his physical development and his improved defensive work, rated him as "probably the quickest player we have got in the squad", and highlighted his having "roasted first team defenders in training". Solomon-Otabor was given a squad number "with a view to participation in" the second-round League Cup tie at home to Gillingham on 25 August 2015. He did indeed participate, as a second-half substitute, replacing Koby Arthur after 77 minutes. Birmingham won 2–0. He made his Football League debut on 15 September at home to Nottingham Forest, replacing David Cotterill for the last ten minutes of what proved to be Birmingham's first defeat of the season.
With Birmingham 3–2 ahead away at Fulham on 7 November, Solomon-Otabor came on as an 80th-minute substitute for Jon Toral. Deep into stoppage time, he scored his first senior professional goal, a solo effort that completed a 5–2 win: after a run down the left, "a neat turn that left Richard Stearman on his backside was followed by a clinical finish". After twelve substitute appearances in all competitions, Solomon-Otabor made his first start on 28 December, replacing the rested Demarai Gray for the visit of MK Dons. The Milton Keynes Citizen reported that Dons were lucky not to concede a penalty when a defender appeared to handle Solomon-Otabor's 36th-minute cross. Rowett "thought Viv looked a little bit nervous, which is understandable, but he's worked hard in the second-half and contributed to some of the moments and certainly the performance. ... Every time he comes on the pitch, he does what we ask him to do; he stays wide, he crosses the ball, he gets into good positions.
He remained in the starting eleven for the next match, at home to Brentford, with Gray about to complete his transfer to Leicester City of the Premier League, and a few days later signed a three-and-a-half-year contract, due to expire at the end of the 2018–19 season. Those were his only starts; he made eleven more appearances over the season, but all were as a substitute. Nevertheless, his performances earned him the club's Young Player of the Season award for 2015–16.
Having played little during 2016–17, Solomon-Otabor joined League One club Bolton Wanderers on 31 January 2017 on loan until the end of the season. Birmingham manager Gianfranco Zola hoped he would be able to progress a conversion from winger to striker. He made only four appearances, all as a substitute, before his loan expired.
In late July 2017, Solomon-Otabor signed for Blackpool, newly promoted to League One, on loan until 6 January 2018. He made his debut as a second-half substitute in the opening fixture of the season, and put in what the Blackpool Gazette called a "lively" performance in the next match, the EFL Cup defeat away to Wigan Athletic.
In June 2015, Solomon-Otabor was invited to attend trials for Nigeria's Olympic team, and trained with the team ahead of their 2015 All-Africa Games campaign.
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