MARK HATELEY opened up about the shocking 35 MINUTE beating he received as a child that broke his teeth and left him with several broken bones.
The Ranger legend was known for his strength and physical prowess on the park, characteristics that made him a crucial cog in the Ibrox machine that unleashed itself to success in the ’90s.
AC Milan fans nicknamed him Atilla during his time in Italy thanks to his powerful style and exploits which helped conquer his rivals Inter in their first Milan derby.
But people weren’t always so afraid of him.
Hateley has revealed details of a brutality he suffered at the hands of a gang of brothers aged 12 who jumped him with a friend in front of a movie theater.
Speaking on The Big Interview podcast with Graham Hunter: “I was a pretty shy boy until this incident.
“I got really, really roughed up when I was 11 or 12 when I was at school in Liverpool leaving the movies with my friend.
“There was a bunch of guys, about seven or eight of them that were 17 or 18 years old. We were pulling away and I had this bump on the back of my head and then someone came flying through the back of me and kicked me to the ground.
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“The first thing I do is bounce off my feet. But then I am surrounded. It turned into a 35 minute beating.
“But I never ran away, I never fell. I broke my cheekbone, I broke my nose, my jaw, I broke my teeth. All that kind of stuff.
“I was out of school for about ten weeks or something.
“What I learned from this incident was that I couldn’t be hurt anymore. In fact, they gave up because I didn’t want to give in. There were seven or eight of them with big eyes and flat noses, but I hung on.
FORCED Rangers hero Mark Hateley in a ten second phone call that “took his breath away” and told him he was not wanted in Ibrox
Hateley’s father, Tony, was also a professional footballer.
He was still active at the time of the clubbing and was a prominent figure in the game having played for Liverpool, Aston Villa and Coventry as well as the subject of a record £ 100,000 club transfer to Chelsea.
But none of that stopped his fatherly instincts from manifesting as he sought revenge for what had happened to his son.
He was so livid that he caught a HAMMER and roamed the streets in search of the attackers.
Hateley said: “When my dad found out he jumped in the car with a hammer. We trawled for an hour trying to find these boys.
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“We couldn’t find them, but it was a lesson. Something that changes your life. I had a temper and had had a few fights, but when it rains on you for 35 minutes, it changes you.
In a remarkable twist of fate, Hateley revealed that he would run into one of the thugs decades later – during his sister’s wedding.
He said, “They were just bad guys. They were brothers – I knew who they were. I know who they are to this day. I actually ran into one of the guys years later as he was opening the door to my sister’s wedding!
“I said to him, ‘He’s one of the guys who beat me really badly.”
* Hitting The Mark: My Story, published by Reach Sport, is available for purchase now.
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