Life Beyond the Premier League: Naps and nous help keep Ian Goodison's colourful career up and running at 40

 

Cleopatra supposedly sought the elixir of eternal youth in baths of asses' milk, but for Tranmere Rovers defender Ian Goodison, the oldest outfield player in the Football League, there is a rather less messy antidote to the ageing process.

"As soon as I leave here I go straight to sleep and don't move 'til six," he says in a lilting accent which suggests dropping off is never a problem.

Goodison turns 41 in November, eight days before Ryan Giggs – the poster boy for football's yoga-practising Peter Pans – hits 40, yet he evidently takes a more laidback approach to longevity. This, after all, is a man who only took up yoga last month, who remains averse to ice baths – "I don't do that stuff" – as he cannot stand the cold, and who still pops into McDonald's for the odd chicken and chips.

Yet there is not a fleck of grey in his still-thick dreadlocks so the long afternoon naps are obviously working. Goodison has already featured six times for Tranmere this season, including the full 120 minutes of their League Cup win over Bolton in which he was man of the match.

"The other day a player came over and said, 'when are you going to retire?'," he tells The Independent. "I was like, 'I don't even know because I am still having you lads – the minute you start running past me I will know.' I don't see any reason to retire. I know I'm getting old but I'm still playing 90 minutes."

A light training regime helps. "I train on Thursday and Friday," he explains. "On Monday and Tuesday, I do upper-body stuff and go on the bike, and Wednesdays are off."

It probably helps too, he suggests, that he did not begin playing professionally in this country until joining Hull City in 1999, aged 26. That followed his participation in the 1998 World Cup with Jamaica – a story to put Cinderella to shame.

He was not even playing top-flight football in Jamaica at the time but instead was turning out for two different teams for cash – Olympic Gardens in Kingston and another club in the Cayman Islands, a 45-minute flight away.

"I went from playing in front of 300 people to playing for my country. I used to play for Olympic on the Saturday and then go to Cayman on Sunday morning, play during the week and then come back on the Friday."

Goodison lined up against Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta and Croatia's Davor Suker at France '98 as well as captaining the Reggae Boyz when they beat Japan.

"The whole country was buzzing," he recalls, adding: "Sometimes I sit down on the bus and the lads say, 'Who's the best striker you played against?' The best was Romario, in the Gold Cup in Miami. He was special. Now you see him, now you don't – his movement was proper clever."

For the record, Goodison, capped over 100 times, helped Jamaica hold Brazil to a 0-0 draw.

"When I was younger, I think I was miles better," he reflects as he describes how his mind does the work of his legs these days. "I stand there," he says pointing to an imaginary position, "because I know the boy is going to move there. I see stuff before it happens most of the time."

He also guides the Tranmere youngsters around him. "Especially [fellow centre-back] Ash Taylor – I try to tell him to read the game. I could be his dad," he says, smiling.

Goodison has been with Tranmere since February 2004 and hopes to stage a testimonial match next year involving Usain Bolt and Chris Gayle, the West Indies cricketer. He is four games away from his 400th appearance for the League One side, yet defeats such as last weekend's 4-3 injury-time loss to Brentford still hurt as much as ever.

"I was fuming. I still go home and can't sleep, thinking about whether I could do something different." Fortunately, though, any insomnia is only fleeting.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football'Mr Marmite' faced the possibility of a 28-day ban
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Life and Style
The new model would be a “pedal assist” bike in which the rider’s strength is augmented by the engine on hills and when they want to go fast
tech
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower