Date: 7th November 2010 at 8:08pm
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Life as a Chelsea Headhunter: It’s Only a Game – Jason Marriner

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Optical illusions are the stuff of magic – harmless entertainment conjured up to both enthral and amaze, aren’t they? Well, maybe not, as it’s not quite so amusing if the stunt takes the form of an episode of the BBC s groundbreaking documentary series MacIntyre Undercover on organised football hooliganism, the wizardry is conducted by unscrupulous investigative journalists posing as big-time drug dealers, and as a result the unwitting participant in the trick, avid Chelsea supporter Jason Marriner, is charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder and affray, together with his friend Andy Frain, and Jason ends up with a six-year jail sentence for a crime he didn’t commit.

This is Jason’s chance to put the record straight, present the facts from his own perspective and challenge the reader, who may well have been one of the 7.4 million documentary viewers, to decide whether the programme actually revealed the ugly face of football violence , or indeed showed him plotting or committing any violence whatsoever, or whether the original 344 hours worth of footage, secretly filmed over a period of 18 months, were distorted beyond recognition by cutting, editing and stitching together clips from the original sequences to achieve the programme s aim at any cost. Jason would be the first to admit that in the past he had been a nuisance on the terraces, but this was the late 1990s and, with a wife, children and his own business, he had done a lot of growing up and moving on. Fortunately, he had also developed the strength of character needed to survive in prison with humour, dignity and determination, and he shares his insights of life behind bars as he tried to work with the system, despite the knock-backs, in order to make it work for him in return. Good will always follow bad is Jason s admirable philosophy about his experiences, but this shocking real-life story serves as a warning to all: this could so easily happen to you.


Not read this one yet (sorry Jas!), but even if his activities as a youngster might have been a bit nefarious, Jason deserves a medal for being stitched up by that prick McIntyre – and remember I work in the media too! Basically it is the story of how Jason was set up by the BBC as a football hooligan, and ended up serving time in prison as a result. From all accounts – well worth a read, and yes, Jason is definitely someone we’d love to have on the show at some stage – after all he’s a member of our Facebook group!

Marriner’s book starts well before building momentum to become a compelling, convincing and comical account of his perceived injustice. In the convicted hooligan’s view it should have been Donal MacIntyre in the dock, not him. When you reach the end, the reader will more than half suspect he’s right. –Rick Lyons, Daily Star Sunday (Crime Correspondent)

Chelsea bad boy Jason Marriner tells how he was stitched up by the BBC – an eye-opening read. –Garry Bushell, Newspaper Columnist, Television Presenter and Author

It was a conspiracy all right, but Jason was the victim not the perpetrator. A fascinating insight into the lengths the authorities will go to to bring down someone they dislike. A lesson to us all. –Norman Parker, Author of ‘Parkhurst Tales: Behind the Locked Gates of Britain’s Toughest Jails’


About the Author

Jason is a London-born family man who has had a lifelong passion for football, both watching the sport as an ardent Chelsea FC supporter, and also playing the game on a regular basis. Since being thrust into the spotlight as the result of a MacIntyre Undercover television documentary on football violence and his subsequent high-profile court case and prison sentence, Jason has set up It s Only A Game Promotions and has started his Real Football Factory Tour. He has also been touring the UK with his An Audience with Jason Marriner shows and has recently made a DVD with Gangster Videos. Details of current news and events can be found on his website at


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