by Noel Draper

When I was growing up the name Joey had unfortunate connotations due to a certain television programme with a sunken garden introducing a cerebral palsy sufferer to it’s viewing masses.

This Joey was born with his disability. This Joey managed to write an autobiography called “Tongue Tied” which went a long to way to explain the hardships he had endured during his life and the friendships he had made along the way. This Joey couldn’t speak very well so another friend, who also had Cerebral Palsy, understood what this Joey was saying and repeated it to a third friend who wrote it down. Another friend managed to teach himself how to type just to help out. It took this Joey fourteen months to complete and included  details such as his mother dying when he was 6 years old from tuberculosis, the countless operations and hospitalisation at the age of 8.

All this tremendous hardship and bravery was of course lost on my 14 year old self when, in 1981, this Joey was introduced to the world on Blue Peter. The phrase “Joey” followed by a poor attempt at a twitching upper body became de rigueur in playgrounds up and down the country, much to our shame. This Joey died in the same year at the age of 61 surrounded by friends and admired by many.

This Joey needs to be remembered for his wonderful life. This Joey needs to be remembered for making the most of what he had.

Nearly nine months to the day after Joey died another Joseph was born into this world in Huyton, Merseyside. This Joey was blessed with the ability to play football at a very high standard.

This Joey would want for nothing later in his career with money in the bank. This Joey stubbed a cigar out in a teammates eye as a prank. This Joey attacked a 15 year old Everton fan on a pre-season tour. This Joey went to court for an alleged attack on a taxi driver. This Joey  received a suspended sentence for attacking another teammate. This Joey spent 77 days in prison for a vicious assault on two members of the public in a Liverpool street. This Joey was suspended “indefinitely” after a bust up with the then Newcastle boss, Alan Shearer.

This Joey was banned for 3 matches for punching Morten Gamst Pedersen in the chest. This Joey was sent off for elbowing another player in the throat. This Joey lashed out at another player. This Joey tried to headbutt another. This Joey had to be escorted off the pitch by an ex team mate. This Joey attempted to blame a team mate who told him to “take one of them with you”. This Joey went off to celebrate with his teammates after the game.

This Joey needs to be banned from ever playing professional football again. This Joey needs to be remembered as someone who threw it all away.