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Mølby's jailhouse rock

As a result of being injured, I had a lot of spare time on my hands. It meant I could have a pint on a Thursday or Friday night, which I couldn’t when I was fit, but, although I had my fair share of nights out, I wasn’t really getting up to anything. I’ve no doubt that one or two police officers were looking for me that night. I was a young footballer who had a nice sports car, a BMW M3, which was worth a few quid. On that night, I was acting as a chauffeur for some friends and we’d gone to a nightclub in the centre of Liverpool. I’d only had a couple of pints because I was driving and, as I walked out, I saw some policemen use their walkie-talkies. They were standing alongside a couple of police cars parked near by and as soon as I drove off, on came the blue flashing lights. I realized I was on the drink-driving borderline, as I started the the twenty-mile drive home to Chester, so I just put my foot down. That car could really move. There was no way the police could keep up with me. The roads were clear and within two minutes, I couldn’t see the police cars any more. I drove home, got up the next day and then went training.

The next day, I though I’d got away with it. In the evening, I parked my car outside a pub and went inside for an orange juice. The police must have spotted my Danish number plates because eight of them rushed in, asked me if I was Jan Mølby, dragged me from the bar and took me outside. It was bit heavy-handed, but I expected it of them. I had been nicked and started to fear the worst.

I remember standing up, saying my name, pleading guilty and then sit down to hear the prosecution outline their case. When the prosecution had finished, it was down to the judge. He asked me to stand up before reading me the riot act. ‘It’s only by grace of providence that you did not kill or maim somebody,’ he said. When I heard these words, my heart sank. The judge said then he was giving me a custodial sentence of 90 days. I couldn’t believe my ears. I thought Jeremy Beadle was going to appear and tell everyone it was a wind-up! I just didn’t think I would be going to jail. I was completely shell-shocked. I just felt numb. I glanced at Kevin [his solicitor], who returned my look of amazement, and two officers took me from the dock. A prison officer told me I would have to serve half the sentence, which meant I would be inside for about 6 weeks. My immediate concern was Liverpool’s reaction. Would I have a future with them or would they sack me? I started to work out my release date – December – and I knew I wouldn’t be playing football again until at least the new year.

I’ll never forget my first few moments inside Walton jail. I went into the reception, took off my clothes and checked in with the doctor. Then I picked up my prison uniform – a shirt, jeans and a pair of big black shoes – and made my way to the cell. When I walked into the wing, everyone was looking at me and muttering my name. I couldn’t wait to get into my cell to be alone, but I was paired with another prisoner. It was obvious he didn’t know who I was. He offered me a cigarette and asked me what I was in for, but I wasn’t very communicative. He sat up all night cutting whatever he was going to smoke and coughing every 30 seconds. It was terrible, he was doing my head in. So when they moved me the next day, I was absolutely delighted. I now had a corner cell for two prisoners, but I was by myself. As I was lying there, grateful for a bit of peace and quiet, someone shouted out to me: ‘Hey Mølby! What’s it like to play at Wembley?’ Before I could say a word, another prisoner piped in my Danish-Scouser voice: ‘Well … it’s a lovely experience. I’ve been there so many times now’. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. It was so like me, it was uncanny! Whoever it was had answered for me so convincingly that other prisoners started shouting their own questions. ‘What do you think of Everton?’ ‘Well they’ll never be as good as Liverpool!’ ‘What are you going to do in jail?’ ‘I have to serve my sentence like everybody else. There’s nothing else I can do.’ The questions just kept on coming. They must have gone on for at least half an hour. I was howling. They kept asking questions because they thought it was me answering back.

My two days at Walton were terrible. We left Walton on a half-full bus and called in at Strangeways Prison in Manchester to pick up some more men on our way to Kirkham Open Prison, which was halfway between Preston and Blackpool, and apparently more suitable for the crime I’d committed. Not long so after I arrived, the officer in charge of the Sunday five-a-side competition asked me if I fancied a game.

© Grahame Lloyd & Jan Mølby. The book Jan the Man: From Anfield to Vetch Field is available on Amazon.co.uk.

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