Watford captain Troy Deeney has made good on a promise he made in prison by inviting six of his former cellmates along to watch him in action against Manchester United this afternoon.
Deeney served three months of a 10-month stretch back in 2012 after being found guilty of affray following an attack on a group of students outside a Birmingham nightclub that left one nursing a broken jaw and three others injured.
The 27-year-old told BBC Sport:
I’ve got my cellmates coming – I told them it would all come true.
I have proved people wrong all my life. When people write me off, that’s when I perform my best.
Watford stood by Deeney while he did his time, and the striker repaid the club’s faith by emerging as a reformed character on the other side – swiftly becoming an integral part of the Hornets side that played their way back to the Premier League.
As such, he believes it was hitting rock-bottom that instilled him with a new, more patient and rounded outlook on life.
I knew what I was going to do, succeeding as a professional footballer. I can’t say whether a team’s going to buy me or this team’s going to keep me or we’re going to do this, but I knew what I was going to do from that moment.
A return to prison is not going to happen. No matter what, people can push my buttons, people can push me to limits, it’s not going to happen again.
As motivational aids go, that’s a fairly strong one.