Troy Deeney has admitted he ‘lived for the weekend’ during the early stages of his career, loving the lifestyle of getting drunk and not caring what happened next.
Even if what happened next turned violent…
The Watford captain, who joined from Walsall in 2010, has turned his life around since spending three months in prison for attacking a group of students in June 2012.
Troy Deeney is a true Watford legend and is regarded as one of the most colourful characters in the English game
He fired the Hornets to promotion as skipper in 2014/15, and, in doing so, became the first Watford player to ever score 20 or more goals in three consecutive seasons.
The 31-year-old is a certified Vicarage Road hero, but Deeney himself is self-aware enough to know he was not always the man he is now.
The hardest thing for anyone is to admit you have a problem and then to act on it,” says Deeney in the latest instalment of the brilliant talkSPORT show, Up Front With…
I genuinely used to love a drink. I lived for the weekends and if that ended up in a scrap, so be it.
That was the environment I grew up in. It was normal for me to act that way because everyone did it.
Now I look back and think, What an idiot but Id never change my past because it genuinely made me who I am today.
I am still working on being completely teetotal and the anger issues are a work in progress.
Theres a lot of deep-rooted stuff in terms of my childhood and not being happy with aspects of my life.
Deeney discusses his famous goal against Leicester in Up Front With Troy Deeney – and reveals why it is NOT his favourite ever strike
“All of this Im doing with professional help. Every Monday, from 2pm until 5pm, I sit and talk and try to peel back the layers of the onion that is me.
Once Ive worked it all out, Ill happily tell everyone the key but therapy is not for everyone and anyone who says its fun is lying.
Its a release and I do feel a lot of pressure and weight coming out. But for the next day Im very tired, just from the emotional hit I take from offloading everything.
Deeney admits he was troublemaker at Walsall when he tried to force a move away, being ‘deliberately disruptive’ after Chris Hutchings, the manager, refused him a transfer.
But at Watford,” he continues, “Malky Mackay and Sean Dyche were very strict in terms of the group mattering more than the individual.
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Malky tried his best to rein me in, putting his neck on the line for me. I massively let him down.
I was on £5,000 a week, which was enough to buy a house where I was from, and I was still hanging around with all my old mates.
To be honest, I just turned into a right ****. Theres no other way of saying it.
Dychey couldnt stand me when he was Malkys assistant because I took the mick out of people and didnt warrant his trust.
So when he took over as manager in 2011 it was the biggest turning point in my life. That was when I became a man.
We went to France for pre-season training and Dychey literally tried to break me every day for ten days.
But I refused to quit on any of the runs we did and even on the few nights out we had, when he was going Troy will get drunk, I didnt touch a drop.
I kept ploughing away and every time he brought a new striker in or tried to sell me, I was going, Doesnt matter, Im still going to be here.
Dyche turned Deeney’s career around, though he had left Watford by the time the striker was released from jail
Things took a turn for the worse, however, when Deeney was jailed in 2012.
Sentenced to ten months in prison after pleading guilty to affray, Deeney was released after serving three months.
He has previously cited his father’s death from cancer as a reason for the incident.
And he continues: While everything was going well on the pitch, my dad was diagnosed with cancer in February and died in May.
Deeney has frequently discussed his jail term and his behaviour during that time due to his father’s death
In the middle of all that I ended up getting into trouble and fighting a legal battle to stay out of jail.
But how is Deeney now?
His spell in prison was nearly eight years ago, and in the time since he has become a Watford legend and one of the greatest goalscorers and captains in the club’s history.
Physically and mentally,” he finishes, “I am now at the point in my life where Im the best Ive ever been.
So Im just trying to enjoy this time because I dont know how much longer Ill be able to play at the top level.
Listen to the full interview with Troy Deeney in Up Front With Troy Deeney, LIVE on talkSPORT at 7pm on Tuesday