Cristian Montano: Ex-Oldham winger angry at double standards

By Ben SmithBBC Sport
Cristian Montano
Cristian Montano also spent time at West Ham and Oxford United before joining Oldham

Cristian Montano has accused Oldham of double standards for sacking him for alleged spot-fixing then trying to sign convicted rapist Ched Evans.

Montano was sacked by the Latics in December 2013 only for the Crown Prosecution Service to drop their investigation earlier this month.

Now the Colombian winger, 23, intends to sue Oldham, telling BBC Sport his former club "turned against" him.

Oldham have so far refused to comment on Montano's claims.

"It has been a really tough time," he said.

"There were times when I couldn't stop crying, when I thought my life was over, when I thought there was no way back.

"Now the case has been dropped it feels like the clouds have been lifted from over my head.

"It feels like the nightmare I have lived through is over."

Montano was one of 13 footballers arrested on suspicion of spot-fixing by the National Crime Agency in November 2013.

The Sun on Sunday newspaper claimed Montano had tried to get booked in exchange for money during a clash with Wolves at Molineux.

But Montano was never charged and the case against all 13 players was eventually dropped.

Evidence gathered by Mazher Mahmood, the undercover journalist behind the story, was deemed unreliable following the collapse of a case against former X-Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos.

Montano now hopes he can resume his career in the United Kingdom.


Cristian Montano

Cristian Montano

In the interview with BBC Sport, Montano:

  • Claims Oldham gave police his whereabouts so he could be arrested
  • Says he discovered that he was being sacked by Oldham when his girlfriend read it on Twitter
  • Says he will begin legal action against the League One club in the coming weeks
  • Says he was forced to flee to Colombia in search of a club
  • Reveals he hopes he can resume his football career in the UK

Montano, who was signed from West Ham United in 2012, made 48 appearances for Oldham, scoring four goals.

But when spot-fixing allegations were made against him in December 2013, he was immediately suspended without pay by Oldham, before his contract was terminated.

Recalling the morning he became aware of the allegations, Montano said: "The Oldham manager (Lee Johnson) called me. He said: 'Have you seen what I'm seeing?' I said: 'Yes.'

"I was in London and I said I wanted to come back up to Manchester to talk to him. He said he would come to my house in Manchester, I said: 'Ok, that's great.' Then, a few minutes later, a director at Oldham called me, asking where I was.

DJ Campbell was among 13 footballers arrested on suspicion of spot-fixing

"I told him I had spoken to the manager and I was going to make my way back to Manchester with my family to see him. He said: 'That's great but where are you?' I told him I was at my uncle's in north London.

"He put the phone down and rang again, asking where I was, my address.

"I said I was in Tottenham. He said: 'But where?' So I told him the address. I also told him I was about to make my way up to Manchester. Then I put the phone down and got in the shower. The minute I got out, the police were at the house."

Montano added: "I was shocked. Oldham were the only ones who had that address because I had given it to them on the phone. All I could think was: 'Why?'"

Montano, who was immediately suspended without pay, then described how he discovered he had been sacked by Oldham.

"When I had been released by the police station, my girlfriend went on Twitter to read the comments," he said.

"She came up to me and said: 'Oldham have terminated your contract.' I said: 'What do you mean?' Then she showed me.

"No-one from Oldham spoke to me about it. No-one explained what they were doing. They were turning against me, I was left on my own.

Ched Evans
Oldham abandoned attempts to sign Ched Evans following threats to club staff and their families

"It was my family that stood with me. They were the only people who would listen to me, the only ones that were willing to hear my side.

"I thought my life was over. Having my mum, my girlfriend and my aunt telling me to keep my head held high and to not worry because the truth was going to come out eventually. That is what kept me going."

Montano was asked directly if he had ever been involved in fixing or accepted money to fix any part of a football match.

"I never accepted money, I never had any intention to do that, never," he said. "I never in a million years thought about taking money, I have never thought about doing anything like that in football, never."

Montano admitted he was surprised and upset to see Oldham actively pursuing Evans earlier this month following his release from prison.

Although Oldham pulled out of the deal, Montano described the moment he found out that his former club wanted to sign the convicted rapist.

Cristian Montano
Montano has had to return to his native Colombia to play and leave his two-year-old son behind in the UK

"I felt down, upset, because I haven't been convicted of anything," he said. "There were accusations, but I was innocent. But then Oldham attempt to sign Ched Evans.

"I was down, to me they treated me as they did and then they go and do what they did with Ched Evans."

Sacked by Oldham, Montano was forced to return to Colombia in search of football - and that meant leaving behind his two-year-old son.

He has spent the past six months playing for the América de Cali club in his native country and remains hopeful he can resume his career in England.

"I am giving my best for the team down here and hopefully, one day in the near future, I will get an opportunity back in the UK," he said.

"I would grab it with both hands. Start from where I left off."