Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tofting: I Don't Eat Small Kids

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tofting: I Don't Eat Small Kids

Article excerpt

Byline: KATE BATTERSBY

FOR a former Hell's Angel currently awaiting his appeal against a four month prison sentence for assault in his native Denmark, it has to be said that Bolton's Stig Tofting - he of the pierced nipples, shaven head and barrel chest tattooed with 'No Regrets' - is really awfully nice.

"He's a fantastic guy," insisted a source at Bolton. "He's popular within the club, inspirational in the dressing-room and has a terrific rapport with the fans."

Of course all that sounds a tad unlikely - until you actually encounter Tofting in person.

Instead of a monosyllabic neanderthal from central casting, he turns out to speak rather better English than many of his British-born fellow professionals.

Moreover, he is polite, helpful and good-humoured about his reputation.

"It's nice to hear that people like me," smiled the man known as 'The Lawnmower' to his compatriots (because he scythes through grass and shins alike).

"I'm happy to be here. You didn't expect a nice guy like me, did you? I am not a guy who eats small kids."

Which version of Tofting Fulham encounter tomorrow in their relegation six-pointer remains to be seen. The fact is that trouble seems to be his best mate. Several years ago he was charged with assault in his home town of Aarhus, where his wife and three children still live. He was found guilty and sentenced to 30 days before the conviction was quashed on appeal.

Then during last summer's World Cup he was called to task for wrestling Chelsea's Jesper Gronkjaer to the ground during training, putting ice-cubes down his shorts and pouring freezing water in his eyes.

Once the tournament was over he was charged with assaulting a restaurant manager and then convicted last October.

His appeal will not be heard until mid-April, but far from being burdened by the lengthy procedure, Tofting is pleased.

"This is as it should be," he explained. "The prosecutor has put the case in perspective by delaying it so long. He was going to have the appeal in August, which shows how small the case is. I'm sure he would have found time much sooner if I had murdered someone. …

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