When he was kicked out of school for too many detentions, Troy took a job as a bricklayer. He continued to play football, joining the Chelmsley Town Under-16s and then playing in the main team.
“I didn’t think it would lead to anything. I was a bricklayer at the time and I thought that would be my future. I never had ambition because I never saw ambition.
However, football went somewhere, and Troy was picked up by Walsall, with a spell on loan for Halesowen.
“I couldn’t afford to go out there and play for nothing. I had just bought some boots for £85 from my grandmother’s catalogue, and it needed £1.36 a week to pay it off. So that was my first target. If I scored, I got the brown envelope. That was all that mattered. »
Troy’s hunger was rewarded with a contract and he transitioned into a career footballer. After four years at Walsall, Troy was signed by Watford where he was to stay for the next 10 years.
5. He lost a gladiator and then his freedom
Troy’s lifestyle didn’t change overnight, except he had more money to spend on drinking at rowdy parties. Just as Watford were getting Troy into shape and starting to realize the potential they saw in him, Troy’s world was turned upside down with the news that his father had advanced throat cancer. It turned out to be fatal.
“In my mind, he was still that gladiator and he went from that to a frail old man within weeks. He was 47… I can’t quite get over it. I don’t think I ever will.
Between his father’s diagnosis and his death, Troy, his brother Ellis and their friends got embroiled in a fight on Broad Street in Birmingham city centre. “I just lost my mind,” says Troy, already upset by his father’s condition. Of the assault he committed and later convicted of, Troy says, “When the police showed me the video the next day, I couldn’t watch.”
Troy went to jail two days after his father’s funeral.
6. He “grew up” in prison
“I didn’t say goodbye to my son when I left the house that morning. I didn’t bring anything with me that I could take to prison. No clothes, no photos, no souvenirs. It was like it wasn’t happening. »
This is how Troy remembers going to prison. His first stop was at HMP Birmingham in Winson Green. Troy says he was still nervous. “Prison is no fun. It’s necessary to be vigilant. »
Things were rather different at the open prison of Thorn Cross. “One of the guards said, if I had to run away, could I just make sure to leave my key as they were expensive to replace!”
Troy credits Thorn Cross’ guardians for encouraging him to make the most of his time, especially in the gym. “I grew up in Warrington prison. Once in prison, everything else is removed: your position in society, the way people see you, what you earn, the car you drive. It didn’t matter that I was a footballer. I was just Troy.