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Mark Ward

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Just reading the News of the World yesterday and stumbled across the news that Mark Ward had been released from prison and has written his autobiography. I know the man did wrong and I'm totally 100% anti-drugs but he has a story to tell and I'm quite surprised that he's had no air time from any of the Everton websites.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2005/dec/04/features.sport4
Cian Long, eire     Posted 18/05/2009 at 15:27:24

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Michael Kenrick
We were just waiting for you, Cian...

Errr... hang on! ? That link is from like 3½ years ago! Click the main story on the ToffeeWeb Homepage for a link to the News of the World piece you saw.

Peter Pickles
1   Posted 18/05/2009 at 21:29:14

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"100% anti-drugs"

What are you on?
Cian Long
2   Posted 18/05/2009 at 22:26:54

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I remember his goal for us against Coventry City, what a volley against that grandad they had in goal Ogriz. Fantastic, he was a good player, very tidy, I remember. I moaned a lot :-), but ya he was one of the reasons I started supporting Everton. Real shame.

I wonder though if the Former Everton Players Foundation will have him as one of there own? I hope they do, Everton are a proper football club, well more than a football club, and supporting them makes me proud cos of what goes on behind the scenes.

Joeynkoo Ludden
3   Posted 18/05/2009 at 22:39:13

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Cian, I was at that game against Coventry, 12pm KO on a Sunday I recall and a stunning goal. You do a disservice though to Oggie who was a great goalkepper.

That said, no defense to Ward’s crime, and I dont know why he didnt serve the full 8 years.
Tony McDonald
4   Posted 18/05/2009 at 23:10:21

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As Mark?s book publisher, we did try and make Evertonians aware of his forthcoming book and some of Wardy?s thoughts via this site, but the thread was deleted.

He didn?t serve the full eight years because he has been a model prisoner. He should never have been given an eight-year sentence in the first place.

He?s held his hands up and taken his punishment. Everyone is entitled to a second chance in life, aren?t they?

For those who are interested, Wardy is the main guest on Victoria Derbyshire?s BBC Radio 5 Live news and current affairs show at 10:00am tomorrow (Tuesday).
Will Leaf
5   Posted 19/05/2009 at 00:40:04

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I don?t know how anyone can say he should not have gotten 8 years. Should have been more in my opinion.

There are no victimless crimes when you are dealing with cocaine. He willingly took part as a quite significant cog in a machine that destroys millions of lives through the physical dangers of the drugs, to the violence wrought by the drug lords who grow it, the runners, the mules, the street level dealers, and the sea of crime that is deluging society committed by users to feed their habit. I see it every day.

If he is truly contrite, I hope he can use all the advantages as a famed footballer, hereto squandered, to guide some youth away from a life of drugs. Perhaps then Mark will be worthy of a second chance.
Sam Higgins
6   Posted 19/05/2009 at 01:16:33

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I remember Mitch Ward (And Carl Tiler!!) but Mark Ward... mm.. was he 91-92?
Sean Patton
7   Posted 19/05/2009 at 02:18:42

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He was a natural right winger Sam, we used to have players like that once upon a time. The one memory I have of Mark Ward was him scoring twice at Highbury when we beat Arsenal 3-1 in the cup.

His demise echoes that of Billy Kenny drugs where also his downfall I think they might of been team mates as well.
Brendan George
8   Posted 19/05/2009 at 02:54:52

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Sean, wasn?t that 3-1 at Goodison? I remember that game vividly back in 1991.
Michael Kenrick
9   Posted 19/05/2009 at 04:33:15

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Tony McDonald, thanks for posting. I can?t recall deleting anything referring to Mark or the book, and can?t find anything like that in our message database. We always pubicsise books by Everton players or about Everton, without exception. This is not considered spam.

We will add the book to our unique and comprehensive Everton Books section. Please send us another message the day before the book launch and we will run a feature on it. Thanks.
Matt Traynor
10   Posted 19/05/2009 at 06:08:33

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Brendan, if memory serves me right, his debut was that game at Goodison - an evening game and he scored twice.

Although considered a winger, he wasn’t pacy, and recall he played a few games in central midfield too. Bit of a nark, on his day.
James Byrne
11   Posted 19/05/2009 at 07:32:56

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Screw Mark Ward and any other scumbag who gets involved in the manufacturing or selling of hard drugs; being a professional footballer is a privilege that should be a platform to advertise a higher level of responsible behaviour than most. Abusing such a privilage is almost a crime itself.

I?m basically sick to the teeth of footballers and these washed out celebrities who think they can do no wrong yet always seem to appear cap in hand when they are skint.

My message to Mark Ward is simple, get a job.
Christine Foster
12   Posted 19/05/2009 at 07:34:43

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It was a sobbering article for so many reasons, drugs have damaged so many and he knew what he was doing, he made the choice for money. Having said that it was a human mistake and lets face it how many of us can honestly say we haven?t stuffed up big time in our lives no matter the reason.

Mark Ward an Everton player who fell by the wayside and is still and will forever more, pay the price of his mistake. I have no doubt that although he made a bad call and may not have been actively distributing the drugs he knew full well the misery it would cause. He deserved to be caught, derserved to be disgraced and prison but he deserves to put it right.

It would be good to see him actively fight against drugs in the community through awareness and personal involvement. Perhaps he should use that remaining four years to show that he was wrong by helping those who have suffered because of the spread of drugs.

Better this than dismissing him with shame.
Daniel Carter
13   Posted 19/05/2009 at 07:54:10

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’’I’m totally 100% anti-drugs’’

Have you ever had a pint of beer, a cup of coffee, a ciggie, or a paracetamol when you have got a headache? I’m not saying that Cocaine is in the same league, but they are ALL drugs!
David Marsden
14   Posted 19/05/2009 at 08:23:14

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@ Daniel. Grow Up
Shane Corcoran
15   Posted 19/05/2009 at 08:51:01

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I love it when football discussions get us on to discussions like drugs. Daniel I think you’re fully grown up. This anti-drugs stance based on what your (and my) government consider dangerous is bullshit IMO. Mark Ward broke the law knowingly and no doubt he deserved to be punished. But 8 years and some scumbag rapist or paedophile possibly getting the same. Legalise,standardise, educate is the way to go if any politicians had the balls. Now back to the football. Or should I say soccer:-)
Jay McGrady
16   Posted 19/05/2009 at 09:01:29

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He should of stuck to selling Gary’s, at least he would of had experiance of playing with them from the early 90’s.
Nick Entwistle
17   Posted 19/05/2009 at 09:10:13

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I feel a hard line v Bill Hick’s stance debate coming... where as I do not believe This society is ready for the legalisation of drugs, ’why don’t the news tell us a positive drug story?’

Ok? K.
Garry Martin
18   Posted 19/05/2009 at 11:32:05

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Am in full agreement with James Byrne, Will Leaf & co ? fuck Mark Ward, the damage they cause to families & communities is untold. The soft bastard should have made enough out of football but, probably got greedy. Should have got 30 years!!
EJ Ruane
19   Posted 19/05/2009 at 11:36:53

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Agree with Christine.

ie: "He deserved to be caught, deserved to be disgraced and prison but he deserves to put it right".

(As oppose to - "He deserves 50 years in prison then on his release to get his head kicked in every four hours and have to wear a ’I am a scumbag!’ T-shirt for the rest of his life).

Any forward-thinking society (us?) surely MUST be open to the idea of rehabilitation and redemption.

It always amuses me how outraged we (the Royal we) get when someone in Iraq/Iran/Saudi etc is stoned or flogged, yet instantly become a cross between Captain Bligh and Albert Pierrepoint the moment we think someone is ’getting off light’.

As for the accusations of (the dramatic) ’ruining lives’, well there is undoubtedly some truth in this, however it is worth remembering that if people didn’t CHOOSE to stick white powder up their noses, there would be nobody (apart from Johnson & Johnson) selling white powder

Also worth remembering is the fact that millions of lives have recently been devastated by the greed of bankers and financial ’experts’, most of whom will never serve a day in prison

(In fact if we are to believe what we read - many of them will be financially rewarded for their morally corrupt behaviour).

Oh - and the majority of financial victims DIDN’T have a choice.

Just offering a bit of..erm..perspective.
Joeynkoo Ludden
20   Posted 19/05/2009 at 12:12:38

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It?s an emotive subject but we can sum up easily as: Is MW sorry for what he did, has he paid for his crimes and should he be forgiven and ?accepted back? or so to speak? It would seem he is contrite and he has, according to our laws, paid for what he has done. Regards forgiveness, as a few posts have suggested it would seem he hasn?t been, but I think what might help is for us to know where the proceeds of the book are going?

E J ? not sure about your financial victims angle. The vast majority truly affected by the ?crunch? are effectively gamblers who gambled with everything they got. Ridiculous mortgages, ridiculous investments and the bet didn?t come off. It?s the same as your white powder analogy; no one forced anyone to take out a 400% mortgage.
Kunal Patel
21   Posted 19/05/2009 at 12:35:56

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He scored a screamer against Arsenal at Goodison and it was in the league, think he got 2 and T.C got the other!
Shane Corcoran
22   Posted 19/05/2009 at 12:51:06

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Nice one Nick. Always place for the Great One in such debates. There are thousands of good drug stories every week but we only hear of the bad ones.
EJ Ruane
23   Posted 19/05/2009 at 14:02:38

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Joeynkoo Ludeen - If you are going to quote ’figures’ like ’the vast majority truly affected’, it would be good/helpful to provide some back up.

As you haven’t, I will also take a guess and my guess is that although there will have been greedy speculators, the ’vast majority truly affected’ by the banks will have been middle class people who saved (because they were told by banks it was safe) and hoped to make a bit of interest on their savings to live on in retirement.

And/or working-class people who will suffer horribly the knock-on effects (ie: redundancy, losing houses, cars. therefore stress etc).

Not exactly a rogues gallery is it?
Phil Bellis
24   Posted 19/05/2009 at 15:04:44

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EJ... you?re going all Christian Brotherly in your middle-age. Old Albert P was a Walter the Softie who hung ?em thoughfully, the tree-hugging girl!

Remember, we were educated by hardmen who thought the Pope was too left-wing. On a happier note, I hope you?ll be at the Final.

Alan McGuffog
25   Posted 19/05/2009 at 15:57:00

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Didn?t Mark Ward once score a screamer for us against the shite? Early 90s ... Street End? Or do I need to take a little more water with it?
Joeynkoo Ludden
26   Posted 19/05/2009 at 17:28:38

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EJ I don?t want to get into an economics rant with you, but judge your own entries as you do mine. You try to make out a Saudi court executing someone as an equal and opposite of someone having to serve only 4 instead of 8 years. Not very scientific or acceptable but you want precise numbers from me? You think the credit crunch is hurting middle class money saving England?? Wow, yeah that?s the nub of the issue. Are you earning £30 less each month on your tax free ISA and you think you are a victim, is that it??? I would wager you think Woolworths went bust because of the crunch?? I?d love to go into analysis for you, but I fear my post being removed for having nothing to do with the thread, football or Everton Football Club. So I will conclude by saying COYB and see you at Wembley!! :)
Paul Lally
27   Posted 19/05/2009 at 17:37:03

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’And another thing, why aren’t dinosaurs mentioned in the bible.’
Steve Connor
28   Posted 19/05/2009 at 17:47:01

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Alan, he defo scored against the shite. I was as confused as you about people picking out his obscure goals against Coventry and not mentioning that. It was the one that prompted that crazy clown Grobelaar to grab a baby-faced MacManaman by the scruff of the neck for not clearing the ball properly from a corner. Fantastic!!

For that he deserves our support ? boyhood blue too. Done his crime ? done his time.

Daniel Carter
29   Posted 19/05/2009 at 18:12:32

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@David Marsden - no, you grow up, or’ll send me dad round and he’s bigger than your dad.
Neil McKinney
30   Posted 19/05/2009 at 18:12:28

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Wow! This has brought out the right wing brigade. I don?t like this ?put ?em against a wall and shoot ?em" attitude. IMO it is ignorant and self-righteous.

He knew something dodgy was going on and he took the punishment on the chin. He didn?t serve the full 8 years because he was most likely a model inmate and the parole board felt he had remorse for his crimes and was unlikely to re-offend. This is the same for most crimes and sentences. 4 years for playing dumb is sufficient punishment in my eyes. Does anyone know if the ?actual? dealer was caught and convicted?

Don?t be so quick to judge. He said in the article that is linked above that the most lucrative deal he was ever on was £2,000 a week. A lot of money to most of us, but nowhere near the massive earnings of todays top flight players (remember your career ends at 30-35). Mark does not offer this as an excuse, he?s just trying to make people understand how he ever arrived at a point in his life where he could make such a stupid decision.

Keeping everybody who commits a crime through poor decisions in prison forever is an impossibility. We have to believe that some of these people feel remorse, realise their errors of judgment and can be rehabilitated. You can?t just write people off when they make a mistake.

Mark committed the crime and served his time. We can?t know what he?s been through and what sacrifices he has had to make (until we read the book). Drugs have many victims and I am sure that Mark is now well aware of that and ashamed of his transgressions. Give the bloke a break and move on. If you have that much disdain for him then don?t buy or read his book.

Sorry for the rant.
EJ Ruane
31   Posted 19/05/2009 at 18:51:52

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I have 100% proof of the existance of the Yeti and I KNOW where Lord Lucan is. Plus I’ve got photo’s of her royal Maj ’bollocko’ (see EVERYTHING!). Oh and I know where Shergar is and Hitler AND I COULD TELL YOU but....but I fear my post being removed for having nothing to do with the thread, football or Everton Football Club. Sorry

(I learned that trick from Joeynkoo!)

By the way Phil you’re right I am going a bit ’softy Walter’ of late.

I find myself getting weepy and tearful a lot.

Mind you, that usually only happens when I think of Newcastle staying up.

And yes you WILL see me at Wembley, especially if we get it back to 2-2 after being 2-0 down.

Then it’ll be a quick twang of the braces and a case of "Well tonight Matthew, I’m going to be Eddie Kavanagh"

Up the toffees!


Joeynkoo Ludden
32   Posted 19/05/2009 at 21:47:01

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EJ ? it comes in handy from time to time that excuse :) but I have had legit responses removed due to none thread/football/EFC content (or possibly just cus Im a dickhead, not sure?. Now I think about it?)

I challenge you on the Yeti, that is a hoax, and like the Loch Ness monster is pure fiction. Everyone knows Lord Lucan is living in a caravan on the outskirts of Auckland, New Zealand (I know you know where Auckland is too, just stuck that in for showmanship). I don?t think you are serious when you refer to the queen having a testicle(s), let alone you having managed to capture such an image on film (what were you doing at the time to gain such an image??), Shergar was abducted (is this word applicable for non humans??) by the IRA, was far too difficult to handle so was executed (put down??) the same night.

But why not mention evidence you have on the JFK murderer? September 11th? The Great Depression, Marilyn Monroe, the Hindenberg, the Lusitania? Pearl Harbour? Do you hold the key to these mysteries? Or maybe you aren?t being serious, you believe everything the mass media feeds us, you wanted a real debate on the causes and the actual victims of the current economic downturn, and for me to supply facts to support it, and you weren?t at all interested in the original post regards a certain Mark Ward. I?d love to engage you on this, but Mr Kenrick operates an Everton related website, not a political socio economic one.

See you all at Wembley, up the mighty Everton!
James McGlone
33   Posted 19/05/2009 at 22:25:12

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Shergar was made into sausage rolls - fact!
Tony McDonald
34   Posted 19/05/2009 at 23:00:03

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Many thanks, MK, for kindly agreeing and allowing me to plug Mark?s book. It?s published on Cup Final day, May 30, but anyone can pre-order it now direct from us via our site ? www.footballworld.co.uk. You save £3 on the RRP and Wardy will be signing every copy.

He knows full well that he will receive condemnation for the crime he committed (as he did from some on today?s BBC Radio 5 Live show) and he expects that too. Even though he has never sold drugs to anyone nor encouraged their use, he knows full well he made a massive mistake by getting involved in the way that he did ? by agreeing to rent a property in his name and then handing over the keys to people who used the house as ?a stash?. Desperate though he was at the time, he knows there is no excuse and he clearly did wrong.

But, as some on this thread have pointed out, he has taken his punishment and served four years. We all make mistakes in life, though Mark?s was obviously a relatively huge one. Doesn?t everyone deserve a second chance, though?

As for the other, much more influential crime figures in the cog that ultimately convicted him, the three main conspirators were arrested a year or so AFTER Mark and are now serving time having got 9-, 10- and 11-year sentences ? which is hardly much more than Wardy received for putting his name to a rent agreement.

Mark knows he deserved to be punished for his crime but his contention is that the judicial system in general needs a radical shake-up to ensure punishments fit ALL crimes. As he says, he has never forced anyone to do anything against their will. He has never sold drugs, he has never taken drugs. He has never even smoked. Though he likes a bevvy!

I read an interesting analogy recently: should we lock up pub licencees and off-licence owners for causing alcoholism and liver disease, or tobacconists for causing lung cancer?

As for the actual timing of his book, Mark never set out with the intention of trying to ?cash in? on his crime. He was approached by several publishers who encouraged him to write his story and he went with us because I?ve known him for around 25 years and he wanted someone he trusts to help him to tell his story the way he wanted it to read. I?m glad that he chose us even though other, bigger publishers offered him a better (financial) deal.

He began the writing process fairly soon after his arrest in May 2005 ? initially in the form of keeping a diary and then, after we agreed to produce his book, he focused on it more and more and in fact hand-wrote some 100,000 words from his prison cell ? which is no mean achievement in itself. How many modern-day footballers earn fortunes from their ?ghosted? books when all they?ve had to do is sit in front of a hack and a mic for a day or so and talk inanely about scoring goals and other riveting stuff?

I?m certainly not trying to paint Mark Ward as a saint, but what none of you will have read before is that he also spent time inside raising more than £2,000 for a children?s charity (by running a half-marathon on the prison gym machine) and, once he arrived at an open prison, walked three miles to church and back each day to tend the church grounds ? much to the delight of the local parishioners.

Not only did writing his book help to pass the time when he was banged up for 23 hours a day, but it was a cathartic experience and helped him to do a lot of soul-searching over the past four years. The book records, sometimes in harrowing and even heart-rending detail, the highs and lows of not just a former footballer, but a human being just like you and me. Mark certainly won?t get rich from writing his story but the writing process has been good for him and, after all said a done, he needs to get a job and find somewhere to live.

Some self-righteous folk have predictably suggested that he should donate all proceeds from his book to drugs rehab or some such good cause. Why? He?s done his time in the correct manner, as a model prisoner. Just like you and mean he needs to get back on his feet by earning a living wage.

No one could condone what Mark did immediately before he was arrested and what he got himself involved in, but I respect him for the way he has taken his punishment and retained his dignity. I also respect that everyone has the right to an opinion even if we don?t necessarily agree with it.

To those who have/will bought the book, many thanks and I feel sure you will enjoy it. Especially Evertonains, as Wardy writes from the heart like a True Blue ? a Huyton lad who experienced the thrill of a lifetime when he scored twice on his home debut v Arsenal (Aug 91) and in the 2-0 home derby win (Sept 93).

To those who decide not to buy it, that?s fair enough. Life is, after all, about making choices.

Anyway, thanks for staying awake during my rambling and for entering into this (mainly) sensible debate!

Sam Higgins
35   Posted 20/05/2009 at 00:39:05

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Thanks Tony for your candid, but well balanced opinion regarding Mark Ward. I know as his representative this is your job, however unlike some of the comments above by Toffeewebbers who can usually deliver a far superior debate on emotive subjects ? your arguments are well placed.

To my fellow ToffeeWebbers ? Come on you know very well if this was a story in 10 years time about an ex-Everton footballer called Tim Cahill you would all be chasing the middle ground in opinion and arguement ? instead of resorting to your soapbox "lock ?im up and chuck away the key!"
Michael Kenrick
36   Posted 20/05/2009 at 04:19:30

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Tony, that was an excellent post. I appreciate your candor and humanity in dealing with a very real and tragic story that some of our "right-thinking" readers have been all too quick to judge and condemn out of hand. The whole business of drug interdiction is a massive quagmire that society has consistently failed to deal with sensibly, from Prohibition to the so-called "War on Drugs".

Mark?s story sounds like a compelling read. I'd like to make an edited version of your posting in our Books section.

Tony McDonald
37   Posted 20/05/2009 at 09:41:45

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Cheers, MK - by all means do what you see fit with any comments I make about Mark’s new book.

Just had a peep at your excellent books section and saw the review of the Tony Cottee book I helped TC with back in 1995. Blimey, that takes me back. Wardy’s story is somewhat different, to say the least!

Spoke to Wardy after his appearance on 5Live yesterday and he seemed a bit shell-shocked by some of the callers’ reactions. As I said to him, facing Victoria Derbyshire and some of those irate callers can’t have been nearly as tough as an 8-month stretch on B-Wing in Walton nick and the other three years and more he spent behind bars. He agreed.

The irony of him getting stick from listeners who accuse him of going on radio to promote his book (which he is of course very happy to do) is that it was the BBC who approached us/him to go on their show - not the other way round. They said they had a gap to fill at very short notice (the night before) and asked if Mark would go on. But when callers to the show started to accuse Wardy of exploiting the media, I didn’y hear Ms Derbyshire step in to explain what had really happened!

On the subject of radio, Radio City have been on and want Mark to appear on their show hosted by Ian Snodin and Ian St John this Saturday lunch-time (12-2pm). Wardy played with ’Snods’ at Goodison, so he’s looking forward to doing that. Is it a good show?

Hey, this is turning into a Wardy blog!

EJ Ruane
38   Posted 20/05/2009 at 10:26:47

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Joeynkoo.

’Bollocko’ - Liverpool word/expression meaning naked.


Harry Charles
39   Posted 22/05/2009 at 12:19:15

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Thanks for letting me know about the book, I will tell my family not to buy me it, will stick to my Alan Ball and Sharpy books. I'm surprised anybody would give the book the time of day, you reap what you sow. Show me your friends, and I will tell you what kind of person you will become.
Christine Foster
40   Posted 22/05/2009 at 14:06:32

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Harry
Everyone has a story, good, bad, tragic, funny, thought provoking and opinionated. But each and everyone of us makes choices in our life, someone once told me if you make half of them correctly you will have done well. After a lifetime of the good and bad, pain and laughter, horror stories, fate and chance it come down to making a call. Do I believe most people are decent and honest? in the main yes, Some frankly are just evil and warped.
There is a saddness when your child makes the wrong choice but you hope they learn and move on. Sadly many never have the opportunity to do so.

Mark Ward was an idiot, but not evil, stupid but not vicious. We hold those in the public eye in greater critical gaze, waiting for a chance to see them fail or fall. They may have had better opportunities in life but that doesn’t make them any brighter or sharper about making the right choices.
If its your son or daughter, you would hope they would learn and move on and that they would not makke the same mistakes again.

I hope Mark Ward continues to make amends rather than slink into the shadows of obscurity.

I for one will read his book, not out of curiousity but its his story. If I can learn one useful thing from it then I have grown as a person. Such is the way of learning how not to make the same mistakes

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