Former Spurs boy Rohan Ricketts’ shares some of his ‘off the pitch’ memories…
The banter was hilarious. Robbie Keane and Jamie Redknapp great people to be around. They would love to wind each other up by secretly sending prank texts from the other one’s phone. Robbie would text Louise Redknapp pretending to be Jamie and then Jamie would get revenge by texting the Ireland manager from Robbie’s phone.
Of course there’s also all the usual stuff you have to put up with like someone cutting up your brand new Armani suit and putting sh*t in your shoes. But sometimes the wind-ups aren’t always so obvious.
When I was at Barnsley, Andy Johnson had a phobia of cotton wool so we put loads in his jeans. When he came back after training he put his hands in his pockets and started freaking out and having a bit of a seizure. He got so mad that he threatened to bring in a dead rat because he lived in a farm house and had some big ones kicking about.
I remember one player at Spurs who had slept with this girl who was in the public eye and she wasn’t the best looking. When the boys, especially Robbie Keane, found out about it they never stopped hammering him about it. They even got her number from his phone and started calling her up.
You do get some guys who are goody two shoes – a bit more sensible than the rest. They get ripped to pieces every day with banter and if they’re not strong they end up wanting to leave the club. Sometimes it gets too much because players don’t stop. Players are like hunters who can smell their prey – if they sense weakness they’ll kill you.
At Spurs there was one player who used to get hammered because the others didn’t rate him. They’d banter about his bad touch and that he was ‘stealing a living’. They’d make out they were only joking but you know never a truer word said in jest. It got really bad one Christmas party and I don’t know if it affected him but he left Spurs pretty soon after.
I’ve met some players that are so crazy you do wonder where they’d be if they weren’t playing football. There was this one guy who kept me laughing the whole time. Once we went on tour and out of nowhere he ran across the hotel lobby and did a two footed tackle on a plant pot in and smashed it to pieces. He was only wearing his flip flops!
Then there was this other bloke was at Tottenham who was ruthless. We were on tour one time and he needed to go to the toilet but his roommate was in there so instead he shat on the floor . Then he put a £50 note on it and left the room. I used to ask him what he was going to do at the weekend and he’d always say something like: “Get drunk, get into a scrap and end up in a cell. Bob’s your uncle, I’ll be back in Monday morning.” He knew he was going to get arrested before he was even drunk!
I’ve seen players fight each other in the dressing room. I remember after one game a really big name star was talking to younger player who called him a ‘****** ****’. The star just smacked the kid and busted his nose up for being too mouthy. In terms of physical size they were as big as each other but the big name player is a star and in his mind that made him King Kong…
Rohan’s full diaries are available at Sabotage Times