It’s no secret that David Batty was regarded as a tough sod during his playing days, never coming remotely near to broaching anything close to a smile while dutifully holding the midfield fort for Leeds, Blackburn, Newcastle, and England over the years.
However, it turns out that Batty’s stoney-faced fortitude spanned back to his childhood too, with a fondly-remembered anecdote plucked from his autobiography (David Batty: The Autobiography) revealing that, even as a six/seven/eight-year-old sprite, he was a little f**king hardnut…
David Batty took two of his severed fingertips to show and tell at school and was awarded a Mars bar. pic.twitter.com/BMMDGLZCAX
— Wayne Gardiner (@mrwayneg) February 1, 2018
For those without the benefit of Twittervision, the gruesome passage reads thus:
…I slammed a heavy iron gate on my hand and took the ends off two of my fingers.
After getting my hand patched up at St James’s (hospital) I insisted on taking home the lost bits as a trophy and put them into a little cardboard box.
They remained there for some years, virtually forgotten, until the day my teacher at Scott Hall Middle School told the class to bring in unusual items the following day, which was the last day of term.
What to take? I couldn’t think of anything better than my fingertips, which by now had been rotting away for about four years at the back of the wardrobe.
As my classmates unveiled their typical collectors’ items – stamps, books, football programmes, even an old sewing machine – I proudly produced the remains of the grisly accident, but I was cute enough to not reveal the identity of the strange, blackened little objects.
Just about every kid in the class tried and failed to guess what they were, many going for birds’ eggs.
Finally the form mistress delicately held the mystery objects aloft and said: ‘Okay David, you’ve got us all baffled. What are they?’
When I told her, the poor woman let out an ear-piercing shriek and promptly hurled them to the floor like they were red-hot coals.
But when she had recovered her composure, she was big enough to award me a Mars bar.
Firstly, what kind of demented six-year-old child demands to keep his severed, bloody finger nubs as a trophy of war?
Secondly, there’s simply got to be easier ways of earning yourself a Mars bar.