I was on the drink in Zoots with Fish Tams and Davey Lancaster and we met up with Viv and his good friend, Rob Armstrong. We were having a good drink and enjoying ourselves when a doorman I knew passed a message saying all the Sayers and their associates were barred from a nightclub at the bottom of Bath Lane. The nightclub was called Hobo’s. That news was taken by me as a direct challenge, but I thought I would leave it for the time being as the night was still young. Inside I was seething. Barred? Were they for real? As the night progressed, I started thinking about what the doorman had said about us not getting into that club. First of all, it was not a club we used at the time, but a challenge is a challenge. I sent a friend of mine to the door to test the water a bit and see what was going on and, just as they’d said, the doormen wouldn’t let him in, saying the police had barred the Sayers and all of their associates.
This was totally illegal. In the meantime, there’d been an incident at Walkers nightclub and the doorman had phoned Viv for help, so we jumped into Davy Lancaster’s Shogun jeep which was parked just outside, and the five of us drove up to Walkers. We went in and Viv was told who was working themselves and he walked over and knocked these two big roid-heads spark out without a word being said; just another night at the office for Viv. We had a quick drink while we were there as it would have been the quickest nightclubbing session in history otherwise. After that, we got back into the motor and drove out the back lane of Walkers, leading us onto Bath Lane. ‘Nice coincidence,’ I thought, as we parked outside Hobo’s. What happened next can be seen on a video on YouTube from a TV documentary called Viv Graham: A Hard Act to Follow.
We approached the door and just walked in. I have never paid to get into a nightclub in my life and I wasn’t about to start then. When we walked in we walked straight into the dance area and asked the staff who it was who’d barred us. Then Viv saw a doorman called Stuart Watson and proceeded to punch him all over. To be honest, it was far from a fair fight. Once Viv had punched him about a bit and dragged him through into the club, we kicked him around the dance floor and got nicked for our troubles. To us, this didn’t seem out of place (see the David Attenborough reference earlier) but the police thought different. They made it quite clear to Viv and the lads that the reason everyone was being nicked for this was because I was with them and they wanted to make an example of me and my family.
I’ve heard a few different versions of what actually happened that night from a few other people. The fight between Viv and Stu wasn’t that impressive. If you didn’t know either of them, you’d just see a couple of big lumps having a fight where one throws a few punches. Stu didn’t throw any punches back, which was most likely out of fear. His doormen had done a runner and left him to it.
It’s also been said that there were undercover police there that night and the whole thing was a setup to get the Sayers locked up. Apparently, Stu was used as ‘live bait’ and I’ve heard stories saying we were out to kill him that night. I mean, I’ve probably said I could murder a pint a few times on a night out, but never a doorman. That’s just fucking stupid. There’s always going to be rumours with things like this, though. These are all incidents that go to piece together the story of Viv, his involvement with us and any conspiracy theory as to how he met his untimely death. The Hobo’s incident is now part of Newcastle folklore and I suppose, whether we knew it or not at the time, we all made history and created a story that would be retold and embellished upon for years to come.
Of course, the next day I couldn’t remember any of it. I woke up from a drunken sleep and rolled over to feel the coldness of the tiles. I opened my eyes and realised that I was in a police cell. Fuck. I’m sure many of you know that feeling. It’s a million times worse than waking up in bed and having a bout of beer guilt. My head was pounding and I had a dry mouth. What had I done? What the fuck had I done? My mind raced. I couldn’t think how I’d ended up there but my memory started coming back in dribs and drabs. I knew I was in a bit of trouble… then I remembered that I’d led a group of men to a nightclub to basically bash the doormen up, which it has to be said, we did successfully.
We ended up in Newcastle Magistrates Court to face the music. My co-accused were Fish Tams, Davey Lancaster, John ‘Nodge’ Thompson, Rob Armstrong and Viv Graham. It was unlucky for Nodge because he had absolutely nothing to do with what happened that night. He’d seen Davey
Lancaster’s jeep pull up outside the club and he parked behind us and followed us in when the fight broke out. When questioned about the sixth person on CCTV footage, I’d said no comment. In my mind, I genuinely had no idea who this sixth person was behind us. He got charged and remanded all the same, poor bastard. As if that wasn’t unlucky enough, while I was in Durham nick, Nodge turned up unexpectedly on a visit to see me; slightly different to returning to the scene of the crime, he returned to the scene of the criminal… and that’s how he got nicked.
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