WIGAN stars past and present turned out last night to support Gareth Hock at the launch of his life-story.
Current players Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley and Micky McIlorum, as well as coach Shaun Wane, were joined by ex-Warriors Terry O’Connor, Kevin Brown and Micky Higham at the DW Stadium.
I slate a few people so I may get some moans! But I’ve just been honest and told my sideGareth Hock
Scores of fans turned out for the event, with many taking the opportunity to snap up autographed copies of ‘Hock: The Real Me’.
His former team-mates then took part in a question and answers session in which stories of Hock’s colourful and often controversial career were told.
Hock, 32, said: “The support I’ve had has been great.
“I never expected so many people to turn out - when you leave a club you never know how they’re going to react, but everyone’s been great.
“The feedback I’ve had has been good - I slate a few people so I may get some moans! But I’ve just been honest and told my side.”
Hock made nearly 200 appearances for Wigan between 2003 and the end of 2012 – a period which included a two-year doping ban – before moving on, first to Widnes on loan, then Salford and now Championship outfit Leigh Centurions.
In his book, he details his exit from Wigan and says Shaun Wane wanted to keep at the club even after their relationship soured.
Hock, one of the most explosive and talented forwards of his generation, also details his cocaine use which led to his two-year exile from the sport.
Widnes captain Brown, his brother-in-law, said: “Gaz is one of those players who many love or hate, I think anyone who knows him personally can’t speak highly enough of him.
“There is a soft side to him - obviously there’s a side to his life you can’t condone - and for a time I didn’t think he would change from being the class clown, but honestly, he has changed his life around.
“He’s got a beautiful family, and it’s so much better like that.”
Former coach Wane said: “I love him to pieces, he speaks from the heart and I want to see the rest of his life progress the way it’s going.”
On Twitter, Tomkins wrote: “He’s a freakish talent, one of a kind.
“I’ve never played against him but I’ve seen what he does to players my size, so hopefully it’ll be a while before I do that.”