In all honesty, now is the best time to talk about Sandy and her family as they do not feature much later on.
If I introduce them later on then there’s a chance it will wreck the continuity of the writing.
I know Sandy won’t like this post if she reads it but still, I don’t know why as they were all good to me I just didn’t see a lot of them later on.
I can’t stress enough how nice Sandy was to me but I can also understand her point of view.
John died over ten years ago and she is still deeply hurt by this.
I think she has told herself she will not meet anyone else and she is right he was one of a kind.
Granted he may come across quite poorly in other blogs but I’m confident that if drugs hadn’t played such a part in his life he probably wouldn’t have done a lot of things from his past.
I also like to think that if his judgement was not so clouded he wouldn’t have given so much time and energy to people who were just using him like Mo the police informer.
Still, that’s all in the past and we can’t change what happened we can only change what we do today so that it will affect our tomorrow positively.
Sandy had so many interesting people in her family and I have to start with her Dad John.
I really wish John was still alive as he was the nicest man you could ever meet and he also had one hell of a backstory.
He was in his 80s when he died so the internet was not a thing when he was growing up but it’s a shame that he did not write a book as I’m confident it would be a huge bestseller.
He grew up in a very religious house and every Sunday the family would go to church and he had decided he was going to become a Priest and do his part for god.
He was a religious man and that never changed but John was a larger-than-life character and after a year he was told he was not suitable for the priesthood.
Many times when he was due to be giving a sermon or in class he would have disappeared to meet a girl.
He also got caught sneaking out of the compound many times to go drinking with his mates.
He wasn’t a bad guy he just loved having fun and did what he wanted.
In his defence, after being caught down the town drinking a few times and also warned about dating local girls he also agreed that maybe this was the wrong path and he and the church parted on good terms.
If the church was not set in its old-fashioned ways and there were more priests like John then maybe they would not be surrounded by the scandal they are in now.
You also have to wonder about the people applying to be priests as well. That is not directed at John but others as to why would you willingly sign up for a life of celibacy especially now when the spotlight is on our organisation for all the wrong reasons.
As the saying goes the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
John left the priesthood and started boxing and it was seen that he was a natural athlete and progressed into fighting.
I’m not sure how many fights he had but it was over 50 and I’ve seen many medals from back in the day. He was also won a couple of amateur belts as well.
Once again if this was the modern-day he probably could have made a lot more but for John, it was more about the challenge and the working out. Also back then boxers were paid a pittance compared to modern-day standards.
It’s probably best that he didn’t go further as he was such a nice man and no doubt some vile promoter would have taken the piss out of him which seems to be the done thing in the world of professional boxing. A good example of this would be Mike Tyson and Don King.
Boxing is so corrupt and you are always hearing of fighters going broke. It’s very seldom you hear of a broke boxing promoter or the same with a broke bookie.
Boxing has been this way for years and Don King seems to have had the boxing world sewn up for years. There is a famous quote by former champion Larry homes which is as follows.
I made more money getting robbed by Don King than I could make legitimately with any other boxing promoter.
John ended up working the doors in town for many years. He worked on the Jacaranda and many other famous venues. This was a much harder profession to enter back then and you had to be well known in some way to even be considered.
Luckily his boxing got him a foot in the door and he did this plus various other things for many years.
He was a very humble man and he would always tell funny stories and has probably met every famous person from the 50s 60s and 70s who came from Liverpool.
He was always in fantastic shape as well even into his elderly years.
In his last 2 years he ended up with a massive belly but it literally just crept upon him.
He still got up every day without fail into his 80s and exercised for an hour.
This is what probably kept him alive for so long and kept him so sharp and looking so good.
His mind started to go in his last couple of years but he could still function he just needed a little help which Sandy was happy to do and later went on to be his carer.
He’s missed a lot especially by me and he was always smiling and had time for everyone.
Even though he was in his 80s when he died it was a huge shock as he was such a larger than life character.
John married Hilda and they were together for over thirty years. I don’t know a lot about her I don’t have many memories of her.
I remember going to their house a couple of times when I was a kid but if I remember she died about five years before John who sadly passed in 2015.
John and Hilda had a son (Sandy’s brother) also called John who played a huge part in my life years later.
He like his dad also worked the clubs and pubs for many years.
John was also a businessman of sorts he would always have his fingers in a few pies and would always be looking for ways to make money.
He was always smiling and could have you crying laughing at times a very smart and perceptive man.
He always had a lot of time for me even when John and I fell out and didn’t speak for years he was still loyal and still had my back no matter what.
John got me the start on the doors when I left the army in 2002. This back then was a hard profession to break into.
At the time I was the youngest doorman in town at 22.
This would change drastically in the next couple of years when the councils started to scrutinise who was working in the clubs as many of the security personnel had extensive criminal records and in some cases had their own drug dealers inside the venues making them even more money.
I will talk about this more in later blogs and I will go into much more detail but believe me clubland was a lot different compared to the modern-day.
John had worked all over Liverpool and in many of the top nightspots.
He looked very unassuming and ordinary but he could fight like fuck when needed.
A lot of the time this throws people off guard as they were not expecting anything and realised they had fucked up when things got really bad and very quickly.
It was a blessing and a curse to be his nephew as everyone was watching me. That and my age as well so if there were any issues whenever I was working I had to just shit my pants and dive right into the middle.
This served me well in the future and I never had any issues getting door work later on.
Well except when I started working for Dennis Bailey (no relation) but I will talk extensively about that later.
John also loved a drink which I think came with the territory of that job back in the day.
This was also back in the day where nobody was bothered about drinking and driving.
Now if you do that there is a huge stigma behind it but back then everyone did it and kept doing it until they got caught.
It was inevitable one night he got caught out and got banned from driving but a week later drove home drunk.
He knew even back then if he was caught a second time he would be in deep shit but knew he would keep doing it.
He hatched a foolproof plan which worked and stopped him driving home. He would drive to work put a lock on the steering wheel but leave the key at home.
He even joked many times he would forget and climb in the car but this was just a sign of the times and I myself have driven home in some terrible states back then.
Unfortunately, John like many others suffered really badly from depression and for years behind the scenes was tormented. He for years threatened suicide and unfortunately, one day did it.
The sad thing is we all knew he would do it at some point as he could not seem to shake his demons.
He finally figured it out and planned it to the last detail and it worked…
I was absolutely devastated as was everyone else and it shook everyone to the core. He was not my blood relative but he did way more for me than many of my real family which spoke volumes about his good character.
When he died Sandy had his body in her house for a week before the funeral so people could pay their respects and I went every day as I wanted to spend every last minute with him possible as I knew this was the end of the road.
I still miss him to this day and he pops up in my thoughts a lot and I’m sad that he felt that this was his only option.
I have lost many friends to suicide and it never gets easier even as time goes on.
It’s usually men who do this as well and me being from a very male-dominated background I seem to keep seeing this awful familiar picture.
I, unfortunately, don’t have any pictures of John except for the one I will keep in my head of him always smiling and joking.
John had two kids who I’ve met but don’t know a lot about. His daughter I have not seen since his funeral and his son Ellis is a solicitor in Liverpool. He’s been practising law for a few years now and from what I’ve heard is doing well.
Sandy has two sisters one of them whose name escapes me. I don’t know much about her as I’ve met her about three times when I was a kid.
There was a falling out when old John Mckenna died which made them estranged from each other.
I don’t know enough about the details of this to give a fair comment so it’s best if I don’t.
The texts I saw sent to Sandy were disgusting though, to say the least.
Old John would be so upset if he knew the divide it had caused but as the saying goes you can’t choose your family.
Sandy has a sister called Tracy who inspired me a lot during my degree and although we didn’t see each other a great deal we spoke on the phone a lot.
Tracy was not content with being a mum and working round the clock to make ends met so she decided to go back to school with the view of becoming a nurse. She like myself had to go back to college and then get a place in University.
She did this and then passed her nursing degree with flying colours.
She worked in the accident and emergency department of The Royal Hospital for a little while before fate decided things were going too well for her.
She got cancer and had to give up working her dream job. She was devastated and at the time of writing two years later is still receiving treatment.
I haven’t spoken to her for a while and it’s not a subject you can bring up easily but I hope she gets to go back one day as I believe that nursing isn’t a job it’s a calling.
Tracy has two daughters Rheanna and Laura. Rheanna is the oldest and has worked for Boots for years.
She is one below a pharmacist and is doing really well. At the time of writing this blog, she is pregnant with her first child and is excited about the future.
Laura has been with her fella for a few years now and they seem happy together. I am not sure what he does for work but he has a job and they have three kids together.
All the time they are posting family stuff on Facebook and it’s nice to see them both happy.
Going back to Sandy she had a daughter called Natasha who I remember was around a little bit when I was growing up.
She is ten years older than me but was always really nice to me as well.
She moved down south and was with a guy called Nigel for many years.
He moved to Liverpool with his job but unfortunately, they divorced a few years later. I got on well with Nigel but he has gone back down south and he’s not a fan of social media so I hope he is ok whatever he’s up to.
I’ve no idea why they broke up and it’s not my business but it was a shame as they were happy for years.
Natasha, unfortunately, developed Fibromyalgia and as a result, she can no longer work.
This condition affects more people and doctors are still mystified about what causes this.
I have not heard about it until I saw first hand that I would be in a conversation and then suddenly it was like Tasha had just run a marathon she would suddenly be exhausted and have to go to bed.
There is more information in the link below which gives more of a specialist opinion than mine.
I have not spoken to Tasha for years but the last I heard she met a guy who has the same condition as her and they are happy together and she managing her symptoms as best she can.
Natasha has a daughter called Abby who is my niece by marriage. I will talk about her in later blogs. She Married my friend Neil from the Army but I haven’t spoken to her in years.
I’ve tried to get back in touch many times but she doesn’t want to know me.
All of the hostility is coming from her and I feel for her carrying around such hatred as she is only damaging herself in the long term.
She is convinced at the inquest to my dad’s death I was making jokes about him.
I’ll tell the same story as I’ve told everyone for years and that’s basically that I didn’t say this.
It’s likely that during this dark time I may have tried to make the best out of a shit situation but cracking jokes about my dead father at an inquest over his death is absolutely ridiculous to even comprehend.
She is convinced otherwise and there is no telling her anything she always knows best.
It’s at the stage now where she would have to admit she was wrong and when ego comes into play that would be catastrophic. I’m saying that from personal experience and it’s never good to have to admit that you’re wrong.
I’m not especially looking for that I’ve made my peace with losing her friendship years ago as I’ve done everything in my power to try and fix things.
I also know if my name would be mentioned to her she would start ranting all with serious venom and would likely be fuming for days about it.
All of this hatred not just for me but for many people who she believes have wronged her will just make her sick in the long term.
I hope she never reads this as she will be straight onto Facebook to scream at me then her husband Neil would be sleeping in his car that night.
I feel that in order to tell an accurate story of the game in life you have to know all the players.
In my life, there are some very interesting players and some who fade out very quickly that’s why they have to be introduced at certain parts.
Sandy and the three Johns will feature more but unfortunately, the rest would fall by the wayside.
As like my family in Skem, I am on good terms with all of Sandy’s family and we talk on Facebook but we don’t have really have a relationship.
This is due to many factors and I’m glad that I am on good terms with 99 percent of them.
Life is too short for bad blood and I wish I learned that years ago as I’ve wasted too much time hating people.
When John Bailey died it was very sudden and nobody expected this and that’s why there was an inquest into his death. Nothing suspicious was found but they still felt the need to investigate.
This is why it’s so important to make the most of the time we have. Time is a currency that can only be spent once.