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Hammered - I Played Football for West Ham, Man City and Everton…Then the Police Came Calling and My Life Fell Apart [Kindle Edition]

Mark Ward
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Compulsive Tale 19 Nov. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that someone with an addictive/compulsive personality should write a really compelling book - especially when the subject matter is the very eventful life of former footballer Mark Ward. He was a busy, industrious player (400 plus career matches as a pro) so when he finds himself banged-up for 4 years, he can't just sit still and bide his time. Instead he bangs out his life story, and it's a real page turner, embracing nice memories of the emergence of the Premiership, and all the old footballing characters from the 80s and 90s. There are two in particular that stand out for the author as beacons of inspiration and decency in shaping his early career - John Lyall and Howard Kendall (who repays all the tributes in the foreword). But when his career path takes him away from their strong influence, things start to unravel, and this quickly becomes a salutary tale for any young footballer (or anyone really). The author readily admits that he is often let down by his own judgement and decision-making, and when this is fuelled by too much booze then enmities and problems start lining up like a huge defensive wall that stops him getting to where he thinks he should be.
Ultimately this is an (apparently) honest and sobering tale, with a post-script chapter stressing how much of a struggle post-prison life still is despite the success and coverage of this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hammered by Mark Ward. 5 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lovely little footballer when he was in his prime. A lot of the stuff was understandable but a lot was glorified. I do not believe that when Ward was first taken to HMP Liverpool (Walton) that he arrived in handcuffs. I think it was in the first chapter that he mentioned this. After I retired from the Merseyside Police I drove the vans conveying prisoners from courts to prison and only extremely violent prisoners, or prisoners with a high escape risk, were handcuffed in transit. Ward wasn't in this catagory. He also played down his part in the drugs dealing. Why doesn't he admit he was a drugs dealer instead of trying to blame someone else. The judge obviously didn't believe him and he was a really emminent judge. Enjoyable book though.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mark ward-hammered 18 Nov. 2011
one of the best books I have read since tony cascarino's many moons's gritty and mind opening.the book should also give credit for Ward as he knows he has done wrong but does not ask for sympathy but you can understand his grievances.Quality book and MUST be read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Footballing folly.... 4 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good read of how human we all are despite our relative success in life . Despite living the dream Marks misplaced loyalty landed him in prison . However this was not a self pitying tale but an interesting journey of football from a player who had genuine talent and believed in his own ability and put in the hard work to achieve his goals . Sadly he fell on bad times and made a serious error of judgement involving drugs . At times Mark portrays an insensitive attitude to his crime as he fails to understand drugs actually do hurt people - however the story is told in an interesting style and never fails to entertain . Ultimately Mark has come out of the other end and appears to be putting his life together again . Well worth a read for any football fan
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book 18 Dec. 2012
By Phil
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well written and very difficult to put down!
Mark's story is an amazing tale even without his prison experience, he showed so much determination in not crumbling when released by Everton at a young age.

This book is a must read for any sports fan.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A view from the Boundary 16 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was fortunate enough to be among the assembled five or six thousand spectators at Boundary Park Oldham, on a gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon in late August 1983, to watch Mark Ward make his professional debut. And I can remember, as if it were yesterday, Mark darting in from nowhere to head his first winning goal in league football past the on-rushing Brighton goalkeeper, right before the rapturous 'Chaddy' End faithful. It was therefore with great interest, and as a great admirer of his talent, that I followed not only his excellent two seasons at Latics, but also his subsequent rise through football.
Strangely enough, after Mark dropped out of the pro game: perhaps because I left my native north Manchester home-area; perhaps because I've never been one to read the gossip-rag papers, I was totally unaware of what happened to our speedy winger after his football career until I stumbled across his book on Amazon.
His book, 'Hammered' is a compelling read for fans of all his clubs and, in true football style, it is a game, (or book) of two halves.
The first half obviously and entertainingly chronicles his childhood years; his hopes dashed by Everton; his gamble in signing for non-league Northwich Vics before his equally precarious gamble in packing-in the day job to turn pro at Oldham Athletic. From Boundary Park his star was to rise dramatically. Next came his obviously very happy spell at West Ham, sadly cut short by the failings of Lou Macari. (Although Mark failed to mention it in his book how he must have raised an ironic smile when Macari's poor stewardship of West Ham was terminated by a league cup thrashing handed out by Oldham.) Then of course came his high profile transfer to Maine Road and its eventful duration, followed by his triumphant return home to Everton.
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