Oct 11 2013 by Nick Hilton, Wirral Echo
IAN Goodison, the centre-back dubbed the quiet assassin by manager Ronnie Moore, is lined up to make his 400th Tranmere appearance at Bradford City on Sunday.
The 400 figure isnt so remarkable until you consider the fact that Goodison was 31 when he made his Tranmere debut back in February 2004.
These days hes the oldest outfield player in the Football League.
If any Rovers fans suspected, a decade ago, that the Jamaican international was simply intent on playing out a couple of years at Prenton Park before retiring to a hammock in home-town Montego Bay, they were happily proved to be way off the mark.
Goodison embraced the Wirral club with a passion and as a player just kept going and going.
After a brief spell as a left-back under his first Tranmere manager, Brian Little, Goodison established himself as a permanent fixture at the heart of the defence.
He acquired a reputation as one of the most formidable defenders in League One. He was voted Northwest League One footballer of the year on three occasions and Tranmere supporters player of the year three times.
Goodison will pass his 41st birthday next month. Some fans suspected that the 2012/13 season, in which he spent more time on the substitutes bench than on the field, would be his last.
But 10 games into the new campaign, the wisdom of Moores decision to offer him another one-year deal is apparent.
Moore said: Ian Goodison is an out and out legend at this club.
The term legend is used lightly these days but it certainly applies to Ian Goodison.
He is a remarkable footballer to be playing the way he is just short of his 41st birthday.
Moore, who traded as a centre-back as well as a centre forward during his own playing days, and learned the art of defending alongside former Liverpool captain Ron Yeats, rates Goodison as one of the best centre-backs I have ever worked with.
He went on: He is a quiet assassin, very clever at what he does. He throws fear into opposing strikers hearts. You dont see that often in the modern game.
There was a time, a few years ago, that if Ian Goodison did not play, Tranmere did not win. Weve got over that now but he is still a massively important member of the squad.
Goodison was able to defy the advancing years and keep his playing standards high with a fitness regime that is quite unique. Significantly, he is also a master in the art of resting and relaxing his body.
He is a one-off, Moore said. He hardly trains. He goes to the gym and cycles on some days of the week and on Saturday he goes out and plays and produces it.
Goodisons international adventures with Jamaica took him to the 1998 World Cup Finals in Korea and Japan, where he played three games. He won the last of his international caps in 2009.
Goodison says he isnt thinking about retiring. I dont see any the reason too, he said recently.
I know Im getting old but Im still getting 90 minutes.
His immediate priority is keeping Tranmere in League One after a difficult start to the season, then making the most of a testimonial game at the end of the campaign.
Hes talking about making Jamaican sporting heroes Usain Bolt and Chris Gayle part of his testimonial celebrations.
Moore added: We want to do well for Goody because it is his testimonial year and we want to see him get a massive crowd for his game.