Ronnie Moore hails Goodison: “He’s been a terrific leader”

To many Tranmere fans, there are two sides to Ian Goodison. Firstly there is the player. The man who would cross that white line every Saturday and turn into a goliath. No opposition striker was too big or too strong for him, and they all felt the same brute force.

And then there is the off-field part of his life, which supporters know so little about. This is a guy who would heroically disappear back to the Caribbean for the entirety of the summer, and then rock up in Birkenhead for the first weekend of August.

He rarely did interviews and, in every sense of the old cliché, let his football do the talking.

So what is “Goody” the man like?

Somebody who knows him well is in one of the dugouts here today.

Ronnie Moore made Ian Goodison club captain at Prenton Park and turned him into a cult figure on the Wirral. Under his leadership, the “Jamaican Sensation” flourished at centre-half and probably became the most important player the club has had over the past decade.

“He’s a very quiet man off the field,” Moore said.

“He doesn’t say a lot, but you always knew when he was around.

“We used to all have to report back for pre-season training, Goody always went home to Jamaica and was never back on time!

“He’d hardly do a pre-season yet he goes and plays the way only he can play.

“He was just a one off. Everything you shouldn’t do as a professional footballer regarding your fitness, he did!

“How can you very rarely have a pre-season and then go and play 40 odd games? It was just incredible.

“I would be doing my nut over him, waiting for him to come back. The players knew it and I knew it. I could have battered him and taken money off him, but he gave me so much as a player.

“As a person, we had a great relationship. He knew how far he could push me before I’d come down on him like a tonne of bricks.

“So you did pull your hair out, but whenever he came back and played, he was a fantastic player and leader on the pitch.”

Of course getting a testimonial in this day and age is extremely rare, something Moore himself notes.

Goodison made over 400 appearances in the white shirt during a decade of service, despite not arriving at Prenton Park until he was 31!

And that furthers Ronnie’s respect for him.

“You don’t get that now,” he continued.

“It’s all about money. People are in and off. But he is a massive favourite with the crowd because of what he did on the pitch.

“If he hadn’t produced, they wouldn’t have taken to him.

“He must have been frightening to play against, because he loved to kick people, he loved to go through people …in a professional way!

“Not behind people and kicking them and that type of thing, but being hard and being fair was what Goody was all about.”

The defender was somebody Moore inherited when he returned to Prenton Park in 2006, replacing Brian Little, who is in the other dugout today.

And he admits he cannot imagine managing a Rovers team without him at the back.

Ronnie is now at Hartlepool of course, so was there ever a thought of giving the Jamaican a call when he got the job in late 2014?

“The year I got the sack from Tranmere, if I’d been at Hartlepool I would definitely have phoned him,” he added.

“But they’d think I had gone crackers, calling a 41-year old up, because nobody knew what he was about!

“While I was at Tranmere, Goody would have been there. Had I not left, he’d still be there in some sort of capacity.

“I know Goody quite well, and you could probably have got another year out of him, because it didn’t matter that he had to train to be fit.

“I just wondered would he ever get involved in the coaching side of things with the kids. Difficult, but I think if I’d have been there I’d have twisted his arm a little bit and then see what happened.

“Had I stayed at Tranmere, he’d have got another 12 months. There’s no doubt about that.”

Around half of Goody’s time at Prenton Park was spent with Moore in charge, split over two different spells.

That means he played more for him than he did for any other Tranmere boss, so it was difficult for Ronnie to pick out any favourite moments.

But he did have a few stories to share.

Moore continued: “He’d elbow somebody, kick somebody or get himself sent off and then he’d swear blind that he hadn’t done it.

“You’d watch the DVD and find he actually had done it and he wasn’t clever enough to get away from it!

“But in the dressing room, he’d say ‘it wasn’t me gaffer I didn’t touch him, I don’t know what they’ve seen!’

“There’s so many of those little sending offs!

“He’s a one off. He never wanted to miss a game. He’d get injured on the Saturday and you’d have a game on the Tuesday and you would rule him out, but he’d play!”

The Goodison and Moore relationship is a strong one, then. You could see that from when they were bound together at Prenton Park.

One was the enforcer off the pitch, the other did the same role off it.

That meant Ronnie would not miss this afternoon’s testimonial for the world.

“He’s been a terrific leader and great player for Tranmere,” he concluded.

“Anything I can do to help him, I will do. He was fantastic in my time there.

“It’s difficult to pick out a particular performance as a favourite.

“There are loads of times when we’ve been away from home and been under pressure though, when he had been an absolute colossus and he’s headed things and kicked things and wound people up.

“There’s too many to single one out. All you do is think about what he’s given in every game he played.

“It was very, very rare when Ian Goodison didn’t give every ounce of blood, sweat and tears for the club.

“I can’t remember ever having to take him off because he was having a bad time. He’s just a stand out professional.

“I’ve been a manager for nearly 20 years and I’ve never met anybody like him; I’ve never met a leader like him or a guy who you can trust like him.

“I’d trust him with my life. That’s the type of relationship I had with him.”


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