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Woodgate: The Prisoner

Star defender held captive in '60's TV show

Number Six: No escape
Number Six: No escape
Number One: Village elder
Number One: Village elder
Kate Lawler: Must stay at least 100 yards away from
Kate Lawler: Must stay at least 100 yards away from
England and Real Madrid centre back Jonathon Woodgate claims to have been a a prisoner in an enclosed village on the Welsh coast where he suffered traumatic psychological conditioning designed to speed recovery from injury. He has blamed the brutal tactics on him scoring two own goals in as many matches.
"The Village" as it was called was populated with sadistic physiotherapists and psychologists. Their intensive programme was designed to trick his brain into believing his body was fit enough to play. The regime was painfully strict and the many draconian rules were enforced by a giant balloon called Rover who literally smothered all dissenters.

Woodgate recalls those terrible months trapped in the Village. "They would trick me by placing me in bizarre scenarios. Once they made me enter an art competition. So I built a sculpture that doubled up as a boat and I thought I'd escaped. It was a trick," he told a disbelieving Onion Bag reporter Larry Gak. "Another time they tried to convince that I wasn't me at all, but someone pretending to be me. It took a long time for me to figure out who I really was. At least I think it did."
Big Brother
Jonathan told us how he arrived at the Village: "I'd gone back to my ex-girlfriend's [Big Brother winner Kate Lawler] flat to pick up some of my stuff when some funny looking smoke came through the keyhole of her front door. I woke up in the Village in this really retro apartment."

"'Where am I?' I demanded 'In the Village' a voice replied. 'What do you want?' I asked. 'Your return to fitness' it said. 'You won't get it like this' I said. 'By hook or by Crook we will' it replied. 'Who are you?' I asked 'The new Number Two' it said. 'Who is Number One?' I asked. It didn't answer it simply said 'You are Number Six'. 'I am not a number' I shouted, 'I am a laughing stock!'"
Six of One
From what Woodgate says, the identity of "Number Two" changed at least three times. "The last one being a Brazilian fella. He looks like the gaffer at Madrid but people say I'm imagining things. "Number One" turned out to be a Sinclair ZX81 computer."

Either way, "Number Six", or rather Woodgate, claims the mental trauma caused him to commit the colossal howlers on his return from injury. He is not the only footballer to claim to have suffered at the Village's cruel and unusual methods. Manchester United striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy ("Number 9") says he spent the best part of last season there. "When I got back I felt OK," he recalls. "Trouble was I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Maybe they got the treatments mixed up."

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