& # 39; Follow me & # 39 ;, Stig Tofting, the former midfielder of Bolton and Denmark, instructs the way through his house in the green suburb of Viby near Aarhus.
& # 39; This bedroom, here I went when I was 13, after I had lost both my parents. & # 39;
It was on Saturday, July 30, 1983, that an excited Tofting ran home to the apartment on the fourth floor of the family on Frederiks Alle – a busy city street a few miles from where we are now – to tell his father and mother that he would playing in a cup final for AGF Aarhus Juniors the next day for the national team boss.
Stig Tofting, pictured during his boxing days, told Sportsmail his story from his home in Aarhus
His first cause for concern was when neither parent appeared at the kitchen window to greet him, as was usual with the sound of his bicycle that shrieked to a halt outside.
When he entered the apartment, the family dog, Lady, ran to him. & # 39; Something has been felt wrong & # 39 ;, he remembers.
At that moment he saw the body of his 41-year-old father, Poul, lying in a pool of blood in the corridor. A shotgun was next to him. Further on, on the floor near the kitchen, his mother, Kirsten, stood – she was 34. I did not know if it was a bad dream, "he says.
His father had shot his mother before he turned the gun on himself and left their only child to discover the scene. Tofting, two weeks after his fourteenth birthday, seized Lady and rushed to his grandparents' house, "crying and screaming."
& # 39; Losing your parents, at the age of 13 it does something for you, he says Sportsmail, revealing his story for the first time in English. But if the life of Tofting was always destined to be formed by the darkness of that summer night, then he used it as a power for good.
With his 49 years he is now a grandfather and although he still does not have all the answers he would ever have liked, 35 years later there is no anger nor confusion about it.
The former midfielder of Denmark spent the 2002-03 season on Bolton Wanderers
"I have learned to live with the memory of that day," he says. & # 39; In that situation I could do nothing. There were two other possibilities – if I had been at home, I might have prevented it, but if it were not, I might as well have done it, and I would not be here now. & # 39;
The question is answered with a little concern, but has he even given a second thought to his cup final?
& # 39; I played & # 39 ;, he says, unshakable, as if no alternative exists. They did not want me to do that, but it was the best place for me. My teammates knew nothing, it happened 18 hours ago. But I did not doubt it. We won and I was the man of the match, chosen by the manager of Denmark. & # 39;
Tofting produces a photo from his autobiography, No Regrets. There it is, Sepp Piontek, the boss of the famous Danish Dynamite team from the eighties, with the arm of the blond teenager up, his prize a pair of Hummel football boots.
This one story, perhaps more than any other, captures the resilience of the boy whose life could have taken a completely different path. Instead, the slender teenager grew into a barrel-shaped and formidable star of the national team and played in four major tournaments.
Tofting tragically lost both parents when he was a 13-year-old aspiring footballer
"Football has saved me & # 39 ;, he says. & # 39; I always had that as a space where nothing could touch me. I went to a psychologist, but whatever happened, when I went on the field, I was in my own world. I could leave all bad things out and I delivered.
& # 39; After the training they did not know if I would go crazy, but there was a good guy at AGF who took care of me, always the temperature was taking, and I remained under control. & # 39;
Sorcery was raised by his uncle Erik, the brother of his mother, and joined the family in the house where we are now.
& # 39; It does not feel strange to be back & # 39 ;, says Tofting, who lives here with his girlfriend, her daughter and his son. & # 39; It has happy memories. & # 39; He made his debut for AGF in 1989 and played in the Bundesliga for Duisburg and Hamburg before joining Sam Allardyce & # 39; s Bolton in February 2002.
For almost 20 years the story about the murder-suicide remained secret. Then, on the eve of the 2002 World Cup, a Danish magazine placed it on their front page and surpassed a code among those who knew the horror. The editor was fired.
The Dane says that football has saved him from the tragic end of his parents
"Everyone knew what happened, but they always wrote that I lost my parents during a tragic accident," he says.
& # 39; My wife and I were in Japan and South Korea, our children were at home with grandparents. They were seven, eight and ten, they were not old enough to know what had happened. We had to call to get them away from the TV and newspapers. We had no choice but to tell them when we came home.
& # 39; But in a sense, it was good that it came true. It will always be there, nothing will change. I lived with it for a long time. & # 39;
"Prison was nothing compared to losing a child", says Tofting. I could do within ten years if it meant that I would not lose my son. & # 39;
In the spring of 2003, Allardyce de Deen allowed to return home to prepare for a prison sentence of four months after his attack on a restaurant owner.
His wife had just given birth to their fourth child, Jon, and Tofting was at Manchester Airport when she called to say that the baby had a fever and was in hospital.
Tofting, pictured with son Markus, lost his other son Jon to meningitis of only three weeks old
Jon had meningitis. On Sunday, April 6, just three weeks old, he died in the arms of his parents. They took Jon's body home to say goodbye in his nursery, alongside his three brothers and sisters. & # 39; I was broken & # 39 ;, says Tofting. & # 39; The worst thing that happened to me … & # 39; He pauses. But what he then says is no surprise. It is, you feel, born from the events of July 30, 1983.
& # 39; We were all so sad, but I can not change what happened. I have Jon's tattoos on my arm, but whatever I do, I can not get him back. In life you have to influence what you can. It takes too much energy to worry about things that you can not change. You look ahead. & # 39;
Despite all the sadness, Tofting is in a good mood, even when the conversation turns into prison and the evening with his teammates from Denmark who have led to his conviction.
We were in Copenhagen after the World Cup, & # 39; he begins. & # 39; We were drunk. The manager of the restaurant stared at me. I went to him: "Is something wrong?"
& # 39; I thought he was going … how do you say that? Banging head? So I first knocked him down. The doormen came and threw me out. Then the chief came out on the street and hit me in the face and ran away. I ran after him and I grabbed him. It was not good. S *** happens. & # 39;
Tofting got the nickname The Lawnmower during his career, a result of covering every blade of grass. So I'm going to jail and what job do they get me? Mowing the grass … "he says. & # 39; It was good. When it rained I could not work, so I sat on the bike or went running, and every night we played football – it was like a training camp! & # 39;
Twelve months earlier, Tofting had been part of the 3-0 defeat against Denmark of England in the last 16 of the World Cup.
The football player leaves a court after being sentenced to four months in prison for assualt
& # 39; Halfway through time, & # 39; he says. & # 39; My best memory is swapping shirts with David Beckham. & # 39;
With this Tofting enters his bedroom and returns with the sweater, signed by the captain of England.
Call it instinct, but you feel the need to smell a shirt worn on a competition. Tofting & # 39; s look suggests that this is not Danish use. We go on.
"He also has my shirt", he says over his shoulder while he replaces the top. I do not think it's hanging on the wall. & # 39;
Tofting reveals that he and Beckham have a mutual friend in Thomas Gravesen, the Danish midfielder who maintained the Galacticos in Real Madrid. He takes us to 2005 with Gravesen at the point of leaving Everton.
Thomas called and asked which club I thought he would join – Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Manchester United … & # 39; explains Tofting.
& # 39; At that time I had one offer – from a club in Sweden! He called two days later and said, "Can you be at Manchester Airport tomorrow? We're going to Madrid!"
Tofting (L) fights for the ball with David Beckham during the last 16 of the 2002 World Cup
& # 39; When we landed in the private jet, I got off first. Journalists knew that there was a Danish player who signed, but when they saw me … "What the bastard?" I thought that was great, but I do not think Madrid thought the same thing. & # 39;
Tofting and Gravesen were a noisy double act, partners in crime on and off the field.
They got the news for the World Championship in 2002, when a training ground joke with Chelsea & # 39; s Jesper Gronkjaer left the winger and complained about a wounded eye.
I had a fight with Jesper and he said, "Okay, come and catch me", & # 39; Tofting begins. I could not catch him, he was so fast, he knew that. What he did not know was that Thomas was behind him.
& # 39; I looked at Tommy and with my eyes I said, "Take him!". Then he was down. We took the water and put it in his face and ice cubes along his shorts – he cried like a little baby.
& # 39; It was not serious, it was fun. But because the press had photos, it made huge news. & # 39;
Tofting is a problem with the sensation of stories in which he is involved and sums up a series of headlines – from association with Hell & # 39; s Angels to a traffic dispute that resulted in a fine. & # 39; It was nothing, a little push, & # 39; he protests.
The 49-year-old retired 11 years ago and is now a popular TV expert
But he laughs when the Christmas party starts after his return to fresh produce in 2004. The Rumble in the Jungle? One of my teammates tore my shirt, so we had a fight. There was a clause in my contract that if I did something to hurt the club, they could fire me. So they fired me. & # 39;
Tofting retired three years later and is now a popular TV expert, but not before he entered the world of boxing with celebrities. His first attack against a reality television star lasted eight seconds. He was nothing, my little boy could have knocked him out. & # 39; His second fight, however, was seen on the undercard of Evander Holyfield.
& # 39; My opponent was 15 pounds heavier and he used the box, "says Tofting. I knocked him down in the first round. I should have finished it, I had it. It was four rounds and it was a draw, my perfect picture disappeared! But to get into that ring, it's frightening. & # 39;
It is a shock to learn Tofting is afraid of something and he includes Allardyce among the few who have intimidated him.
& # 39; My first game against West Ham, we came in halfway and he was angry, "he recalls. & # 39; I remember his hands, twice as big as mine. He hit the tactics board and kicked the bag of balls. He screamed. I liked it. I tried not to laugh, I had my mouth in my shirt. I thought, "Oh f ***, if he sees me, he will kick my a". We won with 1-0! I thought, "I'm in the right place here". & # 39;
Tofting & # 39; s time in Bolton was aborted by his imprisonment. & # 39; It was not a good period of time & # 39 ;, he says. & # 39; I had to go to jail, I had lost my son, but Sam helped me. He was honest and honorable. & # 39;
The tattoo that stretches over his belly is NO NURSED & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Everything I've experienced has made me the person I am, "he says. & # 39; If you do stupid things, you pay your sentence, go on. You make your life the best it can be. & # 39;
He had every reason not to do so, but Tofting remained true to his own wisdom.