It’s been a while since Marlon Harewood was banging in the goals for the likes of Nottingham Forest and West Ham United, and the former Premier League idol has spoken of the night he nearly died when he made the move to Chinese football.
The bubble has burst in the Chinese Super League now, but there was a time when players could earn money that would dwarf that of their English top-flight counterparts.
Little wonder that there was a mass exodus to move where the cash was on offer.
Harewood began his time at Shenzhen Phoenix, later renamed Guangzhou R&F, in China League One in 2011, signing for six months and helping the club achieve promotion back to the Super League at the first attempt.
However, it was on a night out where he almost got killed by a Triad gang.
“I had a problem, but that was because of banter between the lads,” he told the All to Play For podcast.
“We were out one night, and one of the lads told me to say something to some girl.
“So, me being me, we were all having a drink and I said it to this girl, and then she went off and all of a sudden all these triads start coming over.
“There was just a massive brawl, and I’m in there, and luckily the lads liked me, or I hope they did, because they stopped me from getting killed.
“It almost cost me my life. Obviously in the dressing room [in England] we do that to lads coming in.”
Thankfully, all’s well that ends well.