Speaking from Wormwood Scrubs today, Dean Mullins revealed that if it wasn't for an aptitude for armed robberies, he may have had to make do with life as a Premiership footballer. After a promising junior career with a number of top-flight clubs, it looked as though he was heading inexorably towards riches and fame in the world's most watched league. With intervention from various support groups, Dean, 19, was able to free himself from the shackles of team sport and with the help of his family, has redirected his energy to a life of crime.
"Until I found out how much I loved stealing, I thought I'd go the same way as my brother who plays for West Ham. My parents were already struggling to live with the shame of having one son playing "the beautiful game", and, with their moral guidance, I found the confidence to try something new. I started off small after Dad suggested a bit of petty crime might snap me out of football. He took me to a local shop where we stole a few groceries to kick-start my habit.
"At the same time, my brother was suffering with life in the limelight. The paps followed him wherever he went, and his trophy wife never gave him a moment to himself. Worse still, he was shackled to his club by a multi-million pound 6 year contract. Who’d choose that?"
With his brother's mistakes foremost in his mind Dean resolved to see his dreams through.
"I now had the goal of a steady life in jail to aim for, and everything fell into place. Each hit was bigger than the last as I grew in confidence, and the thought of slipping back in to football drove me on to achieve a job big enough to get me to court. I managed that with a textbook flawed bank robbery that anyone would have been proud of, and now I find myself here in Wormwood Scrubs. I still have nightmares where I'm running out at Wembley for a Cup Final, but they are happening less often. Now I feel confident that when I get out of here, I can resist the temptation for a harmless kick around in the park and stay clean for good".