Gary Madine: I’ve had some bother with a drink in me but I’m a nice lad really

Gary Madine

Sheffield United striker Gary Madine insists he is “actually a nice lad” despite having a history of off-field problems plight his career.

The 28-year-old joined the Blades from Cardiff on loan during the January transfer window and scored his first goals for the club with a brace against Reading last weekend.

Madine was handed an 18-month jail sentence while at Sheffield Wednesday in October 2013 after being found guilty of causing actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm, and served five months before being released.

He was also found guilty of assault and sentenced to community service in 2010, while in 2017 he was filmed abusing Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp. 

However, United’s coaching staff and players are said to have been impressed with Madine's attitude since his arrival at Bramall Lane and his performance against Reading earned the striker a standing ovation from the fans.

After the match, Madine opened up about the changes he has made to his lifestyle and learning from past mistakes.

“I’ve had my troubles off the pitch but ask anyone who I’ve worked for, and no-one will say a bad word about me in the club,” Madine told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“When I signed I saw a few fans say that I’d rock the dressing room, but I know Chris (Wilder, Sheffield United manager) did his homework on me and, believe it or not, I’m actually a nice lad and I get on with all the lads here.

“Fair enough, I’ve had a bit of bother when I’ve had a drink in me but day to day, I turn up, do my work and go home without a peep.

“That’s not to say I’ll never have a drink again, though. I’m learning as I get older to pick and choose when to have a drink, rather than thinking I can go out every Saturday and Tuesday and perform at a high level.

“That’s probably why my career stalled a little bit, because I was doing that and you can’t afford to at this level. 

“You have to be bang at it all the time and pick and choose when you have a little drink. I’ve learned the hard way.”

“Sometimes you need good people around you,” he added.

“At Wednesday, we got promoted and instead of the manager putting his arm around me, saying I needed to do this or that better, he literally shut the door on me.

“As a 21 or 22-year-old kid, what else am I meant to do? Some people may have done things differently but I needed a release from football, and the only thing I knew was to go out to a bar or a nightclub.

“I know now you can’t do that but you learn from experience and I’m glad now that I’ve got good people around me. The gaffer and his staff trust me, the lads are great and the fans are great, so all’s good.”