Friday 22 September 2017

'You'd be in an ice bath and you'd have pints of piss thrown in on top of you' - Damien Duff on Blackburn hazing

Damien Duff of Blackburn Rovers in action during the FA Carling Premiership match against Southampton played at Ewood Park in Blackburn, England. The match finished in a 0-2 win for the visitors Southampton. \ Mandatory Credit: Phil Cole /Allsport
Damien Duff of Blackburn Rovers in action during the FA Carling Premiership match against Southampton played at Ewood Park in Blackburn, England. The match finished in a 0-2 win for the visitors Southampton. \ Mandatory Credit: Phil Cole /Allsport

Jack O'Toole

Former Ireland international Damien Duff revealed in an interview on the Second Captains podcast on Thursday that young players used to have 'pints of piss' thrown in on top of them while they bathed in ice baths during his time at Blackburn Rovers.

Speaking to fellow Ireland international Richie Sadlier on the podcasts' The Player's Chair segment, Duff told stories of how young players would frequently be hazed by older players at the club and that the management staff were often in on the mistreatment.

"You could call it bullying, but you go across at 16, you have an initiation thing, I won't tell you what I had to do," said Duff.

When asked why by Sadlier he responded with: "It wouldn't be backpage stuff, it would be on the frontpage... Me and a chair, that's all I'll say.

"Listen I'm sure it went on down at Millwall where you were. If you even looked at a senior pro rung, or a senior apprentice rung, as in a year older than us, you'd get court cases.

"If you were found guilty you'd be polished head-to-toe and made run around the training ground with a pair of sloggies on.

"You'd be dressed head-to-toe and thrown in a sauna for half-an-hour, you'd be made get in an ice bath for half-an-hour, glasses, pints of piss thrown in on top of you, like the list is endless.

"That was the norm back then. The coaches were involved in it. They were in on it.

"I was maybe clever with it. I just kind of went under the radar. My mates would be getting done left, right and centre and I don't know, I just kind of slipped by.

"I had my initiation thing but otherwise I just kind of played the game well I guess. I kind of always went by without getting done."

Duff went over to Blackburn as a 16-year-old and said that he had complete belief that he was going over to make it there as a football player.

However, he said that he had no preconceived notions of hazing at the time and that the club painted an idyllic image of what life would be like at Blackburn.

"I was just a baby, you go over on trial but you don't sample any of that," Duff replied when asked if he had any idea of what was in store for younger players at the club.

"Everyone's hugs and kisses - 'Duffer you're great, will you come and sign?' - But when you go over it's a whole new world.

"I didn't have a clue, but looking back I definitely had an inner steel in me that comes from my mam and dad.

"Like if you cross my mam, you cross my dad, they'll nail you and they'll never forgive you, and I'd be from the same tree."

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