Troy Deeney has shed further light on the night that landed him in prison in a bid to inspire others and demonstrate how troubled kids can turn their life around.
And in another forthright interview, with BBC Radio 5 Live’s Get Inspired programme, he also revealed that:
- How he and his wife, Stacey, hand out Christmas presents at a hospital
- That someone demanded £10,000 off his family while he was in prison
- That he smuggled chocolate into jail
- And how he lets kids from Chelmsley Wood, the neighbourhood where he grew up, sit in his Lamborghini so they have something to aspire to.
Deeney was, more than four years ago, convicted of affray for his part in a violent brawl outside the Bliss Bar in Birmingham that left three students injured, including one with a broken jaw and another requiring 20 stitches in his lip. Deeney’s younger brother Ellis, who plays at Tamworth, avoided jail as his role in the Broad Street scene was not considered as serious.
“I was way passed drunk when I got there,” Deeney told Darren Campbell, the former Team GB sprinter. “I was just trying to suppress everything (his father had just died of cancer). Back in the day I used to think that everyone was against me and any type of confrontation, like someone barging past me, it was like two lions and who is going to back down first.
“There was a commotion and I carried on walking. Then I heard someone say: ‘Your bro is in the middle of that’. I just turned round and I can’t tell you everything that happened – I can only tell the bits I watched back [on CCTV]. You see me run through and I kicked the guy in the face. It’s a bad thing because I could have killed him but, in my mind, it was street fighter rules. I had someone grab my leg and the only thing I’m thinking was that the people I was running with at the time, had knives on them, so if someone is trying to grab my leg the next thing he’s going to do is poke me so I turned round and hit him as hard as I could.”
Deeney was handed a ten-month jail term. “I had to take my punishment like a man,” he said. “The next day [after the fight] I told the police I was guilty. He said: ‘You don’t even know what the charge is’. I just said I was guilty.”
Deeney scored in the game immediately after the incident, scoring the winner in a 3-2 win over Burnley but he knew his football career was going to come to a halt fairly soon.
“The hardest part was going into work the next day [after the incident] because I had just got myself back in the Watford team, I was doing alright,” he said. “Me and Joe Garner were fighting to be the number nine and one night ruined that and, potentially, could have ruined everything. That’s when it hit me that I was going to get locked up. It was just a case of how long.”
He served three months at Birmingham’s Winson Green prison and then Thorn Cross open prison, on the outskirts of Warrington, leaving his wife and young son Myles on the outside.
“Someone tried to demand £10,000 off my missus,” said Deeney when asked what the lowest point of his sentence was. “It was someone close enough to be called family. There was another incident that happened and they said they were going to grass me up for it if this [paying the £10,000] didn’t happen. They knew me and my family were at our weakest and they were trying to take the p***. That was one of my lowest points. The second lowest point is quite funny. I had a visit from the missus and she brought me a Snickers and a Twix. We were sat across from each other and I was thinking: ‘I don’t really want this now but at 10 o’clock tonight this could be so good. So I dropped it straight in my trousers and she thought she was going to go to jail for that. I was like ‘Shut up, play it cool, keep talking’. That was one of my lowest points as I’d gone from earning grands a week as a Championship footballer and now I’ve got to rob a Snickers and a Twix.”
Everybody knows how Deeney has turned around his life since and become a cult hero in Watford but he tries to also “make a dent” in the lives of others. “Me and the missus have handed out Christmas presents at the hospital for the last three years,” he said. “I let kids sit in my Lamborghini. Not because I want people to say, ‘Look at Troy, he’s got a Lamborghini’. You can see it, you can feel it, you can touch it. People around here don’t see that car. I always say to them: ‘Do you want one of these yourself? Then you are going to have to work for it’. That message is then reinforced not just with words but with actions. They can see it. If I can do it, and I’m not the most talented player in the world, but I work harder than everyone.”
Click HERE to listen to the interview.