Rohan Rickets has played for Tottenham Hotspur and in the I-League. Becoming somewhat of a footballing nomad along the way. He started at Arsenal and despite playing for England at U18 and U20 levels and twice winning the FA Youth Cup he only played one first team game in the League Cup. The midfielder then become one of the few players to travel the length of the Seven Sisters road joining Spurs in 2002. Since then he has played around the world and has strong views on India and its footballing future.
Today we look at the journey that took him from North London to Goa and beyond.
He made a total of 36 appearances and scored two goals for Tottenham. Despite twice being our player of the month he however never looked like forging a long term career with the club. He went on loan to Coventry (6 games) and then Wolves (7 games). Where he played under his former Tottenham boss Glen Hoddle and signed for Wolves on a permanent deal in 2005. He played 44 times for the Wanderers and another loan to QPR (2 games) before being released in 2007 when he joined Barnsley. He played for them ten times before leaving less than a year into his contract. That’s when he joined Toronto and another 39 games. While in Canada he started to build a career in the media and now describes himself as a ‘media personality.' He worked in radio sports broadcasting and wrote a guide to young players on the game called “A passion for football’. He also started a series of ‘Sensational exposé articles’ while managing to avoid naming names.
He left Toronto and returned to England. He described that time in an interview with Sky Sports last year, claiming he couldn’t get a job with a top club because he had been in the MLS. Sky Sports made him their quote of the week “ "If I was a South American guy coming to England then I'd be given time and I'd get through the door at clubs. But instead it's Rohan Ricketts, that guy who went to Hungary." He described England as having an ‘island mentality’ which explains why there are no foreigners playing in the PL. He claims to have turned down offers to go to Division 1 clubs saying he was more of a Fabregas or Wilshere and wouldn’t fit.
After leaving Canada he had a trial at Aberdeen. He said they wanted to sign him but couldn’t afford it. In between clubs he trained back at Tottenham, not uncommon for former players while looking for a club. “Guys like Clive Allen, Tim Sherwood, Kevin Bond and Harry Redknapp, said 'Wow, you can still play at a good level'.
So he joined Hungarian club Diósgyori VTK playing one game before they were relegated. Next stop on his travels was Moldavia where he played four games for FC Dacia Chisinau leaving after three months claiming he wasn’t being paid. When asked about this period he said that the father of Martin Fulop, the Hungarian who he played with at Tottenham had helped him, describing that period “The experience was disastrous. In fact, both Hungary and Moldova were catastrophic.” He also claimed he was racial abused by teammates in Moldavia. He then joined German club SV Wilhelmshaven until the end of the season playing 12 games.
The start of the 2011-12 season saw him on have a trial with Southend. He claimed he couldn’t reach a deal with them so he moved to Stevenage. He played one half of a pre-season friendly and trained for two days with the club and described it as a "shock to his body." In the August he joined Shamrock Rovers and featured in the UEFA Cup tie with Spurs which we won 3-1. Rovers released him in the December having played nine games.
In the following March he signed with Exeter until the end of the season but made one substitute appearance before leaving the following month. Which was when he arrived in India. Signing for Dempo FC in August 2012. It was another short stay and he would leave the club in the following January. Following a series of quite unbelievable events which are examined in part 2.
Within a few days of leaving Dempo he signed for Club Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador. At that time Sky Sports asked “You're in Ecuador at the moment. How long do you think this latest adventure will last?’ he answered “ Two weeks! No, I'm joking. I've signed for the year and I want to play the whole season because it's been too long since I did that.” His contract was terminated after nine games.
In the last few weeks he has announced he had signed for Army United, in Thailand who are currently in pre-season. Describing himself as an attacking midfielder he has scored 11 goals in 211 games in a career that dates back to 2001 and involves fifteen clubs.
So how would you describe him? I’ve heard, a missionary trying to grow the game around the world, a victim of in-creditable bad fortune, a player using his skills to travel the world, someone who cant hold down a job and a player with more clubs than Tiger Woods.
Tomorrow in “A Spur in India” we look at his time in the I-League and hear what he has to say about India and its footballing future and what India has to say about him.
About the author:
Keith Harrison, Nilgiris, TN
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