Troy Deeney exclusive: Striker opens up on Watford exit, Spurs phonecall and Manuel Almunia’s role in his book

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

After an emotional exit from Watford, Troy Deeney is embarking on a new chapter at his boyhood club Birmingham.

But the striker still exchanges texts with staff at Watford, from those who work in the canteen to owner Gino Pozzo, and one day he would love to return to the club where he spent 11 years and scored 140 goals in 419 appearances.

“I don’t know what capacity I’d go back in, but there are many pathways we could still have a working relationship,” says Deeney. “There are no bad feelings there.”

Deeney is speaking to Standard Sport about his career and his powerful new autobiography, Redemption, which was published this week and gives a brutally honest account of his life to date.

He has revealed how former Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia played a significant part in his decision to write his own book.

Deeney was sat with Almunia in a jubilant home dressing room at Vicarage Road, having scored a memorable winner against Leicester in a Championship play-off semi-final in 2013.

“I remember after that goal — the one I can never get away from — Almunia said to me, ‘You need to write these things down because when your career is finished you’ll have a poor recollection of it’,” Deeney says.

“I have got a notepad and I just write stuff in it all the time. I am on about notepad five now.”

Those notepads helped shape part of Deeney’s new book.

His early childhood was particularly harrowing, as he explains what life was like on a council estate in Solihull while his mum worked three jobs and his father was a drug dealer.

While writing his book, he ventured back to his roots with his mother, Emma, to recount what life was like.

“I think she has trauma, too, and we were just on this journey of unpacking it together,” he says. “It was good pain, good tears.

“Once you’ve picked the scab off, it’s not as painful as picking it off. Having my mum there helped hugely — first as a guardian angel but it made me go, ‘Wow, what am I complaining about?’

“She lived it, she was protecting me from 90 per cent of the stuff I didn’t even see. I am not trying to be tough in the book, not trying to glamourise anything. I am giving you warts and all.”

The book gives an insight into the violence and domestic abuse Deeney grew up around. His brother, Ellis, tried to read some of it but had to stop because of the memories it brought back.

“Even he said to me, ‘I’ve never known that side of you’ because I don’t give it away,” says Deeney.

“Once people read the book, I think there will be a huge understanding of who I am. I don’t want anyone to think I am tough guy as I am the opposite. I am big softie.”

There are some happier times in the book, as Deeney charts his rise to becoming a Premier League footballer.

He became a Watford legend before leaving this summer to join Birmingham, and he confesses that move was hard to make. “There were tears,” he says. “The hardest part is knowing the people who have worked there 30-plus years. I’d chat to them every day.”

Deeney had offers to leave Watford before he eventually did. Last year, Tottenham showed interest — “there was a conversation on the phone” — and West Brom made a loan bid.

“I looked around the [West Brom] training ground, agreed the number on the back, everything,” he says. “It was an ego clash between me and the manager really [which stopped me joining them]. The first time we sat down, he [Slaven Bilic] said, ‘Hi, Troy, just want to let you know you weren’t my first choice, but we are here’.

“Funny that, you weren’t my first choice but we are here! That moment you knew this wasn’t going to work out between the two of us.”

The hope is, however, that it will work at Birmingham, as Deeney (left) has come back to the club he supported as a boy.

“From a story point of view it is perfect, the boyhood kid has come home,” he says. “But if you are not scoring and not winning, it’s the boyhood kid who is nice and has come here for a retirement. I am eager to prove I have still got a lot left.”

Troy Deeney’s memoir, Redemption, is out now.

Read More

£300m Newcastle takeover by Saudi-backed consortium completed

Spain vs France: Nations League final preview

Carsley disappointed as England U21s blow two-goal lead in Slovenia

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting