Good on Paper:
The gaze of the footballing press continues to focus on Shamrock Rovers as the countdown to their White Hart Lane meeting with Spurs continues. In particular, former Tottenham player Rohan Ricketts has figured prominently as he prepares to return to his old stomping ground in the hooped shirt of Ireland’s history makers.
Like his new club since the sale of their famous Milltown ground, Ricketts has lived quite the nomadic life after leaving England’s top flight.
While at Arsenal, an incident when players’ possessions went missing from the changing room led to Gunners fans accusing him of stealing Thierry Henry’s mobile phone. But then Henry accusing anyone of robbery is bound to fall on deaf ears these days.
After leaving the Premier League, Ricketts spent time at MLS outfit Toronto, Diosgyori VTK in Hungary, Moldovan side Chisnau and Wilhelmshaven in Germany.
It was while he was in Moldova that the Londoner claims he was involved in games that were rigged.
He told The Sun: “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. We never complied because certain people wanted us to give them our bonuses for stuff. But I was still playing some games and I found out that afterwards the game was fixed with one or two players involved.”
The former England U20 international also experienced racist chanting while playing in Germany’s second division.
Not your stereotypical footballer, Ricketts writes for his own online magazine called Column10.com and is publishing a book aimed at parents of potential young players called ‘Passion for Football.’
Returning to White Hart Lane revives mixed memories for Rovers’ newest recruit.
He told the Independent: “Last time I was at Spurs, I was getting man-of-the-match against Steven Gerrard. I had Alex Ferguson tapping me on the back at Old Trafford and telling me I played well. I had Sven Goran Eriksson calling me to congratulate me on my progress. And I go from there… to Moldova. Not getting played. Not getting paid.”
Still just 28, Ricketts doesn’t rule out a return to the Premier League and views Shamrock Rovers’ pioneering Europa League adventure as his opportunity to share the limelight.
His running commentary over Rovers’ appearance on Soccer Am’s Crossbar Challenge suggests he is enjoying his time in the Airtricity League as the Daily Mail reports:
“On a short-term deal at Shamrock, Ricketts thinks he could play in the Premier League once more. He says he doesn’t like the Dublin weather but Ricketts has acclimatised, judging by a recent team sheet that had him down as ‘Ronan’.”
Met Eireann’s bulletins may not raise his spirits but the sun continues to shine on Shamrock Rovers and Ricketts is happy to bask in both the attention and the knowledge that he is part of something special happening to Irish football.