A former forklift truck driver, Stig Tofting was the classic pocket rocket midfielder.
Tough, tenacious and ultra-committed, his no-holds-barred style made him a crowd favourite at AGF Aarhus, Hamburg and Duisburg and also won him 41 caps for Denmark.
Former Bolton midfielder Stig Tofting is one of the hardest players ever in football[/caption]
The midfielder had links to the Hells Angels, spent four months in prison for assault and did boxing after retirement[/caption]
But he’s best remembered, in this country at least, for his brief time at Bolton Wanderers, a spell which ended rather abruptly.
As you’ll find out shortly…
He never, repeat NEVER, shirked a tackle…
Tenacious and energetic, Tofting was a menace in midfield, chasing down the opposition endlessly and generally putting himself about, not always legally.
Indeed, his propensity for covering every blade of grass and/or scything players down was such that he was nicknamed ‘The Lawnmower’.
Tofting was known as ‘The Lawnmower’ as he covered every blade of grass – and was known for fouling[/caption]
He inks therefore he is…
Like many footballers, Stig Tofting is covered in tattoos.
The biggest of these is a huge one covering his stomach that reads ‘NO REGRETS’.
It’s not only a reminder of his philosophy on living but also provided the title of his autobiography, published in 2008.
His past sometimes caught up with him…
During his teenage years, Tofting became involved with the Hells Angels and it was an association that would prove irksome in his later life.
In 2001, he applied to open a cafe in Aarhus but was refused permission by the local council on what was reported as doubts over his links with the biker gang.
It was a decision that spurred Tofting into political action and, briefly, he considered putting himself forward in the local elections. “I want to stand up for the rights of the little man,” he said. “We should not be dictated to.”
Gravesen tried to open a cafe in 2001 but the application was turned down because of his links to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club[/caption]
Tofting spent four months in prison for assault after a brawl at a restaurant following the 2002 World Cup[/caption]
His temper sometimes got the better of him…
In 2002, just after Denmark had been knocked out of the World Cup by England, the Danish team assembled for a meal at Café Ketchup in Copenhagen.
It was all going well until a member of staff complained about the singing coming from Tofting’s increasingly noisy group.
And that was that.
Tofting went berserk, headbutting the manager and then knocking out the chef.
While the restaurant decided not to press charges, the police did and Tofting was eventually sentenced to four months in prison.
Bolton Wanderers, meanwhile, decided to cut short his contract, allowing him to return home to Denmark.
Tofting only played 14 Premier League games for Bolton because of injury – and the assault incident[/caption]
But it wasn’t the first time…
In June 1999, Tofting had returned home to Aarhus for a holiday at the end of his second season with German Bundesliga side Duisburg.
During the vacation, he had been approached by a fan who had questioned why he was playing for the German club.
The conversation escalated into a row and Tofting, being Tofting, waded in, earning himself a 20-day suspended prison sentence.
And it wasn’t the last…
Another year, another bust-up.
In 2004, Tofting was fined after shoving a man in the chest following a traffic dispute.
Which begs the question, does nobody actually recognise him when they start these conversations?
Tofting had two spells at Hamburg in the mid-1990s and the turn of the century[/caption]
He’ll knock you out…
Given his reputation as one of the toughest of tough nuts, it was hardly surprising that Tofting tried his hand in the boxing ring.
In February 2009, Tofting fought his debut bout against Danish TV personality Sidney Lee and flattened him within eight seconds.
Then in 2011, he was on the undercard of the Evander Holyfield vs Brian Nielsen bout in May 2011 where he fought Rene Dif, the frontman of Aqua, the band that ruined the world with ‘Barbie Girl’.
Despite weighing in at 15kg less than Dif, Tofting stood his ground with the fight ending in a tie.
Trouble was always around the corner…
As the Danish team prepared for the World Cup in 2002, Tofting and the Everton midfielder Thomas Gravesen decided to ambush team-mate Jesper Gronkjaer during some stretching exercises.
Pinning him down, they sprayed the Chelsea winger with water and then shoved ice cubes down his shorts. But the good-natured jape soon turned sour, as Gronkjaer sustained an eye injury during the attack.
Tofting clashes with former Bayern Munich midfielder Steffan Effenberg[/caption]
Rio Ferdinand scores during a 3-0 England win against Denmark at the 2002 World Cup – Tofting retired from international football after the tournament[/caption]
Gronkjaer wasn’t happy and when he confronted Tofting the pair began wrestling, with Tofting grabbing his team-mate by the throat.
“They were just horsing around before then suddenly it was a serious fight,” said one witness.
“It was over quickly, maybe five or six seconds, but it was a real fight – Tofting had his hand around his throat.
“Team officials shouted ‘stop, stop’ and Tofting finally let him go.”
After Bolton Tofting headed to China before returning to Denmark[/caption]
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But maybe there’s a reason for it…
Tofting was orphaned at the age of 13.
He had returned home from school one day to find the body of his mother, who had been shot by his father. Soon after, his father shot himself, leaving the young Stig to be brought up by his grandmother.
The tragedy had long been kept a secret by those in the game and the media but was reported in a Danish magazine in 2002 in the lead-up to the World Cup.