News has emerged that Blackburn Rovers striker DJ Campell has allegedly been arrested on suspicion of match fixing – at this point me must note that he insists his innocence.
The allegations come after former Portsmouth striker Sam Sodje revealed to an undercover Sun reporter that he accepted bribes in order to fix matches and that he didn’t act alone. It is understood that a further five people have been arrested which have not been named.
At this point we don’t how it will unfold – perhaps more people will be named a shamed or perhaps there will not be enough evidence to convict those who are guilty. This news many come as a surprise to thousands of football fans up and down the Country but match fixing isn’t a new phenomenon.
In 1915 the first corruption in English football emerged, this was in a top flight encounter between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on 24 April where the match was fixed in favour of the Red Devils to win the game. Neither side were as big as they are now and United were struggling against relegation whilst the Merseysiders were mid-table and nothing left to play for.
George Anderson scored twice has United won by two goals to nil whilst Liverpool missed a penalty – it was well noted by the referee that ‘Pool’ had put little effort into the match also. The match was investigated into by the Football Association and has a result seven players were judged to be involved. Sandy Turnbull, Enoch West, Arthur Whalley (all United) and Jackie Sheldon, Tom Miller, Bob Pursell and Thomas Fairfoul (Liverpool) were found guilty and banned from the game – Sheldon was a former Manchester United player and found to be the ring leader and all banned for life from the game.
Sadly for Turnbull he was to be killed in First World War but the remaining players had their bans lifted in 1919 with the exception of West.
This wasn’t the first (and last) time that a match fixing scandal has hit the headlines. On 1 December 1962 Sheffield Wednesday (yes, The Massive!) lost to Ipswich Town and Jimmy Gauld (a former Swindon Town player) suggested to Wednesday star David Layne that the Blues would win this match and proposed that Peter Swan and Tony Kay had an influence in this match to ensure the outcome.
On 20 April 1963 Gauld’s syndicate attempted to decide the outcome of the match between Bradford Park Avenue and Bristol Rovers but news leaked and Rovers duo Esmond Million and Keith Williams were named and shamed for accepting a bung – both were fined and banned for life, as too was Mansfield Town player Brian Phillips who had made the initial approach to Million.
It all came to an end in 1964 when Gauld went in search of his final pay check. Having already been exposed he sold his story for £7,000 to the Sunday People; the same newspaper which had discovered his syndicate. In this report he incriminated the three Wednesday players Swan, Kay and Layne – proving that you really can’t trust no-one!
Gauld was named has the central persons involved when the judge passed sentencing on 26 January 1965 in Nottingham – he received the heaviest of sentences of four years imprisonment. Brian Phillips and Jack Fountain (ex-Sheffield United who was with York City at the time) received 15 months, Dick Beattie (of St Mirren) received nine months.
Sammy Chapman (Mansfield Town), Ron Howells (Walsall) and Ken Thomson received six months whilst the Owls trio received four months in prison. Upon release the three Wednesday players along with Fountain, Chapman and Howells were banned for life with Gauld, Thomson and Phillips already banned – in all 33 players were prosecuted in all.
Has already stated we have no idea what will come of these new allegations and can only pray that no Sheffield United player is involved in any way but past lessons as see above prove that money is the lesser of two evils.