herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Fixed matches and racism on Ricketts' journey to Rovers

SHAMROCK Rovers' latest signing, Rohan Ricketts, has revealed extraordinary details of his recent football career involving, racism, match-fixing and boozing.

Ricketts spent four years at Arsenal but admits he made some bad career choices and is now simply enjoying life at a club which pays wages on time. The Londoner is also relishing his return to the city with Rovers for next Thursday's Europa League Group A clash with another of his former clubs, Tottenham Hotspur.

"I am really looking forward to going back to Spurs with Shamrock and there will be 4,000 or 5,000 Irish fans there. At the moment, it is just a novelty being paid on time," he said.

Ricketts rejects completely suggestions that he left Arsenal for Spurs in 2002 because of an incident involving a dressingroom sneak thief.

"When I am on Twitter, people say 'you're a thief, you nicked Thierry Henry's phone' or 'you nicked Dennis Bergkamp's phone'. We were involved in a situation at Arsenal. A phone had disappeared but later turned up and it became public," he said.

"My departure was used as the reason. But I was on 700 quid a week so why would I steal a phone? I left Arsenal because I knew I would not get in the team.

Horrible

"I went to Canada in 2008, started to read and found out about myself. I became wiser and calmer. I came back to England, should have signed for MK Dons, but then ended up in Hungary. It was a horrible decision. As soon as I landed, the wages on offer changed," he said.

"The coach did not want to sign me, either. The place was dodgy and I am owed money I will never get back. Then a Russian agent appeared and said go to Moldova.

"It was nuts. The players were welcoming but smoked in the changing room and drank four or five bottles of beer before games.

"I was sitting in on meetings about match-fixing. It was strange but almost amusing. They were discussing the potential of doing it to help us win the league.

"Moldova was just horrendous. I had players take things from my room. I was threatened by people to get out of the hotel.

"This year, I went to Germany in a regional division and the fans would make monkey noises at me."

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