Warts and all, here’s what happened
We were all out a Manchester City Christmas party. We’d been out since midday on the lash and things were going pretty well. Being daft young lads, we were all burning little holes in each other’s costumes. I think Robbie Fowler started it. Then everyone started having a go.
But it was all just a laugh. I don’t remember doing it, but I must have set fire to Jamie’s costume at one point, because later on in the evening he started getting a little bit aggressive with me and trying to wind me up. It’s a bit of a ritual at those kind of dos that everyone has to get up and sing a song. So when his turn came around, he got up and started singing a song about how much he hated scousers and kind of aiming it at me. He was in the reserves at the time, and all the first team players told him to shut up and stop acting like a dick.
A few hours later, we’ve all gone back to the hotel and changed into our normal clothes, and I was sat on a table with Danny Mills and Bradley Wright-Phillips having a quiet drink. The next thing I remember is thinking, “Fucking hell, what’s that?”
I looked round and the bottom six inches of my shirt were on fire
I looked round and the bottom six inches of my shirt were on fire. I had to take the whole shirt off and stamp the fire out. And Tandy was stood a few feet away from me, looking away from me with a big grin on his face. You know that ‘it was me, but it wasn’t me’ look? Everyone knew it was him. I’ll be completely honest here; I went to grab something to smack him with. I was a bit pissed and he’d just tried to set me on fire. There was an ashtray on the table. Thankfully that was attached to the table. So I grabbed Danny Mills’ cigar that was in it the ashtray and went to stub it out on the back of his neck.
But he clocked that something was going on, and turned around to see what was happening and I got him on the eyelid. It’s bad I know, I was drunk and angry after the fucking idiot had set my shirt on fire. He went off to the gents with his brother to take care of it.
I was really worried
Then I spoke to Sylvain Distin, who was the club captain at the time, explained what had happened and we went to find him in the toilet and see if he was alright. I was really worried. I didn’t want to blind the stupid fucker. As me and Sylvain were walking over to the gents, his brother came flying out of the toilet and tried to hit me, then Jamie came flying out too. It was a bit mental for a few minutes. But the boys separated it and we all went our own ways home.
He went out on loan to Scandinavia
The next time I went into training I tried to speak to him and explain that the best thing we could do was play the whole thing down: just say it was a daft drunken understanding. I wouldn’t make a big deal of him setting me on fire, if he played down the injury to his eye. I tried to explain that I was in the first team and that things would go my way: that’s how football works – they protect their most valuable investments. He wouldn’t have any of it though, and went to the papers for a few quid. We both got fined. He went out on loan to Scandinavia, I think. And his career kinda tailed off after that.