Often Partisan

Former Blues Player Arrested in Spot Fixing Probe

Former Birmingham City striker DJ Campbell has been named by the Sun newspaper as one of six players held over spot-fixing enquiries. He is the highest profile player so far named as the allegations of players taking money from betting rings continue.

Former Portsmouth player Sam Sodje was filmed by the Sun newspaper describing how he punched an opponent in a League One game to get himself sent off for a payment of £70,000. He also said that he arranged for a player to be booked in a Championship game for £30,000.

Whilst I’m not ultimately surprised that this sort of thing does happen I think I have to be honest and say that it still has shocked me somewhat that there is a possibility that elements of games I’ve been watching Blues play could have been fixed by the players in the return for money. It casts an ugly shadow over the game and it does make me think a little bit more about how I’m losing my love for football because of the grip money has on the game.

I think the thing I find difficult to understand is the motive for doing it. At lower levels where players don’t earn very much money the temptation to do something for a large one-off payment is a bit more understandable than in the Championship where players can and do earn very respectable wages. I’d go as far as to say it does sicken me a little bit that some players will “take a fall” for even more money than the ridiculous amounts that they are already on.

Whilst for obvious reasons it would wrong to talk about guilt of people when details haven’t fully come out let alone been heard in a court of law I can say on a hypothetical level that I think spot-fixing is something that is going to be almost impossible to stamp out. To fix the entire outcome of a game is problematic as there are too many variables to control; however to fix something as simple as a player being booked or red carded is much easier and with the development of betting markets over the last few years it’s become incredibly easy to gamble on such simple outcomes.

When people think of football gambling their thoughts might turn to Ray Winstone telling us to “‘ave a bang on that” or similar the real money is won and lost in the far east. Whilst in Hong Kong I spent some time talking to Steve Vickers, who was the former head of the criminal intelligence bureau of the Royal Hong Kong Police. He told me back in August that there was a big issue with football gambling in Macau, and spoke about a Singaporean match fixing syndicate headed by a man called Dan Tan – who was arrested in September 2013. If the figures he mentioned being staked are accurate – and we are talking billions – is it any surprise that this sort of thing happens?

I think the coming weeks and months could be interesting to see what else comes out in this investigation. I hope that these incidents were isolated; I fear that we might be seeing the tip of the iceberg and that there might be more to come. I sincerely hope that there are no Blues players implicated because that might just kill my already wavering faith in the future of football.

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46 Responses to “Former Blues Player Arrested in Spot Fixing Probe”

  • Eddie says:

    That explains a lot.
    We’re not s**t, we’ve been throwing matches

  • StaffsBlue says:

    As you mentioned, it’s going to be very difficult to put a stop to this kind fixing. How can you tell if a player has punched someone to earn a few grand? Unless he’s the worst actor in the world, he’ll get away with it. It’s just another examle of how money is ruining the game. This is why I prefer the lower, more honest leagues.

    (When I saw the name Steve Vickers, I thought it was the former Middlesborough defender)

  • Dean says:

    Vickers played for us too, staffsblue

  • Ali Duncan says:

    It highlights once again that the game has hit an all time low with regards to ethics, moral values and respect for the fans. A player of DJ’s level in the game would, after a big money move to Leicester, have been earning near half a million a year with bonuses. Why the hell would he need to do it?

    It just shows how some (not all) players have only a passing acquaintance with reality and it troubles me how much disrespect these actions (if true) show to the fans, their team mates and their family. How do these people go home knowing they’re decent and honest. What sort of example are they setting for their children. Disgusting!

  • mark says:

    Its a shame a former player of bcfc has been named. I must admit i liked DJ Campbell when he played for us. Sorry to say Daniel you would have to be blinded or naive if you did not things like this was going on in the background…………….regardless of this it would not waver my love for supporting my team. Even in this present climate if a blues player who is playing for us was to be found guilty. Imo this problem happens in other nations………… Italian league just one example……….

  • Blue Nose 1945 says:

    As an Ex-Bookie for over 30 years from way back in the early ’60’s I can understand the ease which some (very few I am sure) players can be tempted, but what I have never been able to understand is how these betting syndicates manage to find bookmakers, large or small to take what must be substantial bets on matches where there is usually no previous interest whatsoever. The very hint of attempts to place even one large amount would, or should set alarm bells ringing. –
    The fact is that for every winner (illegal or otherwise) there must be a loser! and I can’t see any bookmaker accepting such obviously dubious bets.
    However from what we read it appears that this is happenning, surely today’s bookmakers must be as streetwise as they have ever been, but maybe not, it seems.

    • glosblue says:

      My thoughts exactly. How can a bookie accept a bet that a certain player will be red-carded at a certain point of a game without thinking there must be something fishy going on? The bets must be large enough to cover the amount of the bribe so how can they be so stupid?

    • neil says:

      Unless its a way of “cleaning up” dodgy money in the first place. Dodgy bookie takes dodgy bet, pays out to dodgy client and hey presto, clean money comes out the other end. But that would be fraud and surely that doesnt happen in the modern game?

  • chris says:

    We all say how topsy turvey the Championship is and who would say Peterborough would beat Cardiff twice last season, well all this might well point us in the direction of what is really going on.
    The least they should do is ban in the UK and or Europe all betting on anything but the result at half time and full time, plus goalscorers.
    If they have found a few, for me that is just the tip of the iceberg, because it is all so hard to detect and prove.
    As WBA keep being denied penalties is someone betting against them getting a pen and how much are referee’s involved in this. If players are involved then for me it says others who can influence anything on the field might be as well.
    As you say Al, i am fed up with the game and all it’s greed and hype by the media and the bias by the BBC, Sky, BT & ITV (bet they pick Ars v Tott in cup), i’d rather go to watch non league now or on tv Sgorio on S4C.

  • I don’t know the details of DJ Campbell, so obviously this theory is only general and not specific. It is sort of common knowledge that gambling is a big issue among footballers and so it wouldn’t take a huge leap of imagination to believe somebody had a big gambling debt and was told to get booked in a couple of games to wipe out that debt and even earn a bit more.

    I have seen enough of The Sopranos to know that this must be true (because TV never lies).

  • phillip says:

    This “Fixing” of match,s and bribery of players has been going on for years, not just recently, back in the 1950,s players were caught accepting bribes, one name [I think] springs to mind was “Peter Swann”

    • Harborneblue says:

      It was the 1960’s involving Sheff weds players one who was tipped to be in England’s world cup squad.
      Good TV film was shown on BBC about it


      • RichardW says:

        The scandal you’re talking about happened when there was nothing like the amount of money in the game there is now – the maximum wage had only just been abolished. Tony Kay, I think of Everton, was another and I believe they went to prison. Other lower division players were involved, too I
        I seem to remember, one from York City. Not condoning anything of course.

        • phillip says:

          I could very well be wrong regarding the decade,,,,,I also seem to remember a couple of those players involved signing for a South American Club [Chilean or Peruvian ] when that country,s league were banned world wide for match fixing.

  • dave mann says:

    not supprised to be honest. it happens in a lot of sports and it will continue to happen for
    all time, dj campbell, i remember he always use to moan at blues when he werent playing
    ……wonder why?, its ashame he couldnt have fixed a few more points for us but like most
    players there selfish and self, self, self, not all players but quite a few.KRO.

  • Chris W says:

    It is frightening to think that players will sink so low, people will bet on anything, my granddad use to race maggots when on fishing trips for money.
    When you see some silly things that take place and you wonder why, Randolph choice to punch and not catch Saturday, was it a bet or just a poor decision?
    Footballers are getting the game a bad name with the antics both on and off the pitch, gambling has always been problematic, at all levels, when playing none league we use to play cards on the coach to pass the time.
    Obviously, the mention of Hong Kong and Macau is a bit too close to home with CY’s trial and his dirty money.
    Whoever is involved has to be hit fast and hard, 3 Sheffield Wednesday players in the 60’s got life bans, though they won there appeals.
    If clubs are involved they should be relegated, regardless of who they are, send out the message that if caught and found guilty the consequences will be severe and no appeal.
    This has to be nipped in the bud straight away.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      Not sure if was an official appeal process but the life ban was lifted when they were too old to make to living as a pro footballer

      • Chris W says:

        It was an official appeal, the only player never to play again was Tony Kay, Peter Swan and David Layne did play, but were in the lower leagues.
        They were part of a syndicate that also included Sammy Chapman who went on to manage Wolves.

  • mark says:

    The Fix (1997 film) interesting film to watch……………………..

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I think betting and football have always gone hand in hand. I remember the tale of Stan Bowles, of QPR. He was (and is I believe) proper addicted to gambling. I remember (I think it was) Frank McLintock, saying that Stan used to be in the bookies round the corner until 10 minutes before kick off… then he’d stroll in, get changed and run out with the rest of the team. And this was every game.

    And I wonder how many people remember Sky Bet’s Dale Tempest when he was a player at Fulham and Huddersfield?

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I have nothing against having a bet on the result of games. I used to do the pools for many years. But betting is normally a game of chance. How can it be called chance when the natural course of things is change by these cheats? And that’s what they are. In actual fact, it’s akin to money laundering in reverse… dirty money goes in, dirtier money comes out.

  • ChrisG says:

    So that’s how we won the league cup!!!!!!!!

  • robert knight says:

    talking about match fixing, what about blues in europe. that final game in maribor where brugge scored 4 in 10 minutes. if that wasn’t dodgey, what is. the whole maribor team must have been paid to surrender like they did.

  • paulo_bcfc says:

    DJ Campbell can only be one of many yet to be publicly outed as match fixers. I’m not shocked, just a little nervy hearing the word ‘Birmingham’ on the news, and knowing what could happen. I suppose the temptation of gambling without chance is always there, and the root of it is where those with the money, who have little risk of being exposed, are – far from the public eye.

    ..supply and demand.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Campbell is in the past… Demarai Gray is the future. Congratulations young man on signing your first professional contract (2 and a 1/2 years.)

    • Chris W says:

      Well done on a deal that is well deserved.
      Not to be a killjoy or to rain on the parade but…
      He is one for the future and an exciting prospect, with all the silver sold and only Burke worth a decent fee I’m thinking that by offering him a contract he could be sold in January in the same way Redmond and Butland were.
      Hope I am wrong but it is the only way I can see CY/PP are going to get anymore money out of the club.

  • Dave says:

    Professional footballers found to be stupid and greedy? Say it ain’t so! ;) KRO

  • anon says:

    knowing blues’s luck it will be linked to them :(

  • bluenose08 says:

    Don’t jump to the wrong conclusions if Crawley beat blues in the cup !!!!!!

  • Steve-0 says:

    Of course DJ needs to be part of a thorough investigation and tried if charged, but IF somebody like that stoops so low there is little hope.

    Campbell experienced a dream move to Birmingham from obscurity giving him a rise from non league to Premiership in a few short years. IF a player like that lacks the gratitude and fortune a great sport can afford you to the extent that you maim it’s very reputation for your own personal gain then you can bugger off and have nothing further to do with the sport.

    If he did do it then the chav can go to prison and vanish for good.

  • Steve-0 says:

    Our sport is getting closer to WWF every year.

  • Tony says:

    The only suprising thing about this is that people are suprised, the people who rule us are all at it the politicians, the police, big business,NHS Bosses,down to the worker on the factory floor. No matter what party are in power it makes no difference, its called the system.

  • Euston 9.18 says:

    No British based bookmaker would take that sort of money on a “bet” on horse racing let alone “spot bets” on football.
    On an exchange (Betfair) you can get “large” bets backing or you could become the bookmaker & lay the bets,but there are no markets concerning “spot bets”
    The “Ray Winstone” adverts are a joke,you try & phone the bookie up & ask for a large amount on & I don’t mean thousand’s you will be knocked back “you can have a £10 on sir” if your are lucky enough to win,don’t expect to have the £10 on your next bet you will be knocked back to a £5,if you do make a profit over a few weeks your account will be closed.
    These bets are “layed” by illegal bookmakers / crime gangs in the far east,one country in the newspapers & the net which seems to crop up each time is HONG KONG.

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm ?????

    • almajir says:

      Don’t like to say this, but you’re wrong.

      There are quite legal bookmakers who offer these kinds of markets. Trust me on this.

      • Euston 9.18 says:

        Name them,not in this country’s high street I don’t think so.

        So you could walk into a bookies near you or me & put £50 £100 grand on the counter on any sports bet or on the phone,don’t make me laugh,if you know your gambling there are no BOOKMAKERS anymore on the high street,just office girls & boys who wouldn’t know a yankee from a canadian / union jack.

        There’s no laddcrokes or hill billies in the far east.

  • Bluehobba says:

    Greed – The more you earn, the more you want, especially if its in bonuses. KRO

  • RichardM says:

    One match that still sticks in my craw, stinks to high heaven, and had a big impact on Blues was the Maribor v Bruges game in the Europa League back in 2011.

    Maribor winning 3-0 with 15 minutes to go, somehow contrived to lose the game 3-4, a result that ultimately meant Bruges not Blues qualified for the knockout stages.

    Suspicious – or am I just being cynical?

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I couldn’t believe that the Maribor v Bruges game wasn’t investigated. It left a very bitter taste in the mouth. But then, this is Europe. Bribery and scandal are a way of life. It seems that only us Brits are instilled with a sense of decency and fair play… and even that is being slowly eroded with the amounts of money swilling round the troughs.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Footballers get too much money but it seems even that is not enough for some. It is pure greed and I hope if found guilty get life bans.

    Bookies also need to be restricted on what bets can be placed. A bet like a certain player to get sent off is a dodgy and fixable bet. its very similar to when a no ball is going to be bowled in cricket.

  • sutton apex says:

    greedy players – their greed and arrogance will kill football eventually, needs urgent action now.
    Salary cap, squad cap – something needed to bring these clowns into the real world.
    I watch and play golf now – football could learn alot from that sport

  • StaffsBlue says:

    If we capped the wages, to a more acceptable level – who actually needs £50-100k pw anyway – we’d see who actually plays for the love of the game and who is in it just for the money. I know which of the two I’d prefer to watch.

  • an olden says:

    It is understandable for fans to express their anger at the thought that members of the team they support involved in such a crime .Cricket was involved in a tour by Pakistan My recollection was that suspension were
    imposed but their own countries allowed them to be re-instated. Just a word of caution, some of the contributions are getting hear the mark. Recently no less a person than the Prime Minister was warned
    about his remarks It seems that the old rule that arrest let alone being charged would require that nothing should be published pending the conclusion of the issue other than details of any charges and evidence given at a trial Judges might start with a column like this.. We can not lose further support

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