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Ex-Leeds star on jail and why it ‘goes over his head’ when he’s called a ‘w*****’

Mark Aizlewood is a name that will be familiar to football fans of a certain age.

Aizlewood, who started his career with Newport County in mid-1970s had a long, successful career in Football League, playing alongside the likes Leeds Bradford, Charlton and Cardiff City.

Aizlewood also won 39 Wales caps, playing alongside Vinnie Jones and Dean Saunders during the late 80s-early 90s.

Aizlewood left the game in 2000 and returned to it in 2012, as manager of Carmarthen Town in the Welsh Premier League. This position he held for eighteen consecutive years until he was sentenced.



Mark Aizlewood won 39 caps for Wales during the 1980s and 90s
Mark Aizlewood won 39 caps for Wales during the 1980s and 90s

In January 2018 Aizlewood was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation by offering non-existent sports leadership apprenticeships.

After serving six years in prison, he was released halfway through and is now back as a coach at Carmarthen.

Speaking to Wales Online, Aizlewood said he is not worried about how he is viewed by the general public, and that it goes over his head if someone calls him a “w*****.”



Aizelwood played alongside some true Wales greats
Aizelwood played alongside some true Wales greats

He said: “Even now aged 61, the vast majority of people in Wales over a certain age would have an opinion of myself if they were asked.

“Now there is nothing wrong with that but from my perspective 99.9% of those people I have never spoken a word to in my life and yet they will have a strong opinion of me.

“What you have become accustomed to over time is not listening to criticism.



In 2018, Aizlewood was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation
In 2018, Aizlewood was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation


Ex-Leeds star on jail and why it 'goes over his head' when he's called a 'w*****'

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“I would only worry about the people who know me, who are close to me and who have spent time with me. If they thought I was a w***** then I would worry.

“When somebody who was never met me or spoke to me says I’m a w***** it just goes over my head now.”

Aizlewood did his time and is now out the other side, and the veteran coach revealed that hunger for learning was what got him through his prison experience.

“I completed an inside course and became a Samaritans certified listener in jail,” he said.



Aizlewood is now back at Carmarthen Town
Aizlewood is now back at Carmarthen Town

“Anyone who is feeling suicidal could call and you would go to their cell and you would talk through the problems with them. It was another element of what I did to make my time worthwhile.

“If you end up in prison you can go one of two ways. you can wallow in self-pity and eat yourself fat and unhealthy and blame the world blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

“Or you can go the other way and say how am I going to use this time? It is a long time that you have spent in prison. How will you use this time?

“I worked for the education department and I did an additional five or six CPD [Continuing Professional Development] courses for myself as well.



Aizlewood played for a host of Football League clubs during his career, including Charlton, Leeds and Bradford City
Aizlewood played for a host of Football League clubs during his career, including Charlton, Leeds and Bradford City

“I kept myself on a path. I like learning. I did alcohol and drug awareness courses, I did the Samaritans course, I did criminology ironically.

“I kept myself and my brain going so I knew when I came out of there I would be ready to go back into family life. You can’t go back to normal if you have been a vegetable three years.

Ex-Leeds star on jail and why it 'goes over his head' when he's called a 'w*****'
Anurag Reddy
I'm a 29-year-old travel enthusiast, travel and nature photographer, Computer Science graduate, and Mass Communication student. I have seen different shades of life through traveling and lived different lives through reading. With every word I write, I travel within, and I understand myself better. Writing helps me discover myself, and that paved roads for me to choose writing as a profession.
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