Kings Road Publishing
Hammered - I Played Football for West Ham, Man City and Everton... Then the Police Came Calling and My Life Fell Apart by Mark Ward Summary
On 11th May 2009, Ward left Kirkham prison in Lancashire, the one-time top-flight winger had spent four years at Her Majesty's pleasure for drugs offences. His crime was renting a property in which cocaine with a street value of ?645,000 was found during a police raid in May 2005. Ward never denied his involvement. Broke and with no permanent home at the time, he had accepted ?400 a week from an acquaintance to rent a house for an unspecified "stash". He was sent down for eight years. He has always acknowledged his "stupid, terrible mistake". A footballer who was once spoken of as England material, Ward was ever-present in the best league season West Ham ever had (1985-86), and a top-flight player with Manchester City and Everton. In the first ever week of the Premier League in 1992, he helped Everton win 3-0 at Old Trafford. Later he was player-coach at Birmingham in a promotion season that saw silverware at Wembley. He had a beautiful wife, now former wife, who Ward jokes was "the original WAG", and part of "the good life of a footballer" which included a big house, flash car, nice clothes, foreign holidays, and a ?2,000-a-week contract, which in the early 1990s still seemed a lot of money in the Premier League. But the playing days ended, and a desperate fight to stay in the game - at lower-league clubs, then in Hong Kong and Iceland- eventually had to be given up. The decline led to crime, and prison. Ward occupied himself by writing his life story, by hand, on prison paper. He says: "I'm proud of my book. It's just an honest account of my life, no bullshit." Ward is outspoken about current players who have achieved notoriety for the wrong reasons. He talks about the escapades and run-ins with numerous well-known names, inside and outside football. In one astonishing chapter, "Shooting the Pope", Ward reveals how, at a 1992 fancy dress Christmas party at Everton, he shot team-mate Barry Horne, dressed as the Pope, at close range, in the chest, with a real gun; this incident was never before made public, nor were many others, until now.