Former Jamaican international defender Ian Goodison has been named by The Sun as one of six men arrested as part of a football spot-fixing investigation.
The Jamaican international, 41, was a popular figure at Hull City between 1999 and 2002, when he was nicknamed one of the “Reggae Boyz”. Goodison currently plays for Tranmere Rovers, where he has made 400 appearances.
In a statement today, Tranmere said: “Tranmere Rovers is aware of reports in today’s media regarding Ian Goodison. As this is an ongoing investigation the Club has no further comment at this time.”
As well as Goodison, Blackburn Rovers striker DJ Campbell is among six people being questioned in connection with the match-fixing, his club have confirmed.
The arrests came after ex-Portsmouth player Sam Sodje told a Sun on Sunday reporter he could arrange for players to be booked or sent off in exchange for cash.
The tabloid reported that an undercover investigator met former Portsmouth player Sam Sodje, who allegedly said he could arrange for footballers in the Championship to get themselves a yellow card in return for tens of thousands of pounds. The 34-year-old claimed he could rig Premier League games and even said he was preparing to fix matches at next year’s World Cup in Brazil, the newspaper reported. It also alleged that Oldham Athletic player Cristian Montano failed to get a yellow card in return for money in a match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on October 22 and offered to take part in another rigging incident.
In today’s edition of The Sun, it was reported that Campbell was arrested yesterday a day after he came on as a substitute against QPR in his team’s Championship game. The newspaper claimed that detectives were likely to review a yellow card he received for a tackle committed in the first half of Blackburn’s league game against Ipswich Town last Tuesday.
Detectives from the NCA were still questioning the six men this morning. One of the suspects was reported to be Sodje’s brother Akpo, 33, who plays for Tranmere. The League One club said: “Tranmere Rovers Football Club are aware of Sunday newspaper allegations regarding Akpo Sodje. As this is an ongoing investigation, the club will make no further comment at this time.”
The National Crime Agency is already carrying out a separate investigation into an alleged international illegal betting syndicate. Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun, both 22, were charged last week with conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law. The pair, who played for Conference South club Whitehawk FC in Brighton, were dismissed by their club and will appear in court on Wednesday.
Two other men, Chann Sankaran, 33, from Hastings, East Sussex, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, 43, from Singapore, were charged last month with plotting to defraud bookmakers and will also appear in court this week.
Ian Goodison, the Tranmere Rovers legend
Ian Goodison is described as a “Tranmere legend” by manager Ronnie Moore, and is currently the oldest outfield player in the Football League.
This is Goodison’s 10th season with Tranmere and a testimonial game is planned for April or May. The 400 games figure isn’t so remarkable, until you consider Goodison was 31 when he made his Tranmere debut back in February 2004.
Goodison embraced the Wirral club with a passion and acquired a reputation as one of the most formidable defenders in League One. He was voted Northwest League One footballer of the year on three occasions and Tranmere Supporters Player of The Year three times.
Moore recently said of Goodison: “He is an out and out legend at this club. The term legend is used lightly these days but it certainly applies to Ian Goodison.
“He is a remarkable footballer to be playing the way he is at 41.”
Moore, who traded as a centre back as well as a centre forward during his own playing days, rates Goodison as “one of the best centre backs I have ever worked with.”
He went on: “He is a quiet assassin, very clever at what he does. He throws fear into opposing strikers’ hearts. You don’t see that often in the modern game.
“There was a time, a few years ago, that if Ian Goodison did not play, Tranmere did not win. We’ve got over that now but he is still a massively important member of the squad.”
Goodison has been able to defy the advancing years and keep his playing standards high with a fitness regime that is quite unique. Significantly, he is also a master in the art of resting and relaxing his body.
Long-distance coach journeys to away matches are not a problem for Goodison. He sleeps through them.
“He is a one-off,” Moore said. “He hardly trains. He goes to the gym and cycles on some days of the week and on Saturday he goes out and plays and produces it.
“He reads the game so well. You don’t play for your country 120 times unless you’re a very good player.”
Goodison’s international adventures with Jamaica took him to the 1998 World Cup Finals in France, where he played three games. He won the last of his international caps in 2009.
Goodison says he isn’t thinking about retiring. “I don’t see any the reason too,” he said recently. “I know I’m getting old but I’m still getting 90 minutes.”
Ian Goodison. Born, Montego Bay, Jamaica, November 21, 1972. Height: 6ft 4ins.
1997-99 Olympic Gardens (Jamaica).
1999-2002 Hull City. 84 League and Cup games.
2002-2004 Seba United (Jamaica)
2004-2013 Tranmere Rovers. 402 League and Cup games, 13 goals.
Jamaica, 120 caps. World Cup finalist 1998.
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