Life

Manchester United, Wimbledon and F1 pranks done, Britain’s best hoaxer plots Ricky Hatton comeback stunt

By Ben Ireland

Karl Power has infiltrated some of British sport’s major events and MM caught up with the country’s most-prolific hoaxer as he puts pen to paper in his autobiography and reveals he has unfinished business with Ricky Hatton.

He famously burst onto the scene back in 2001, when he took to the pitch as part of Manchester United’s Champions League team photo.

Following his dramatic rise to fame, Karl continued his antics by rushing on for a warm up on Wimbledon’s centre court and beating Michael Schumacher to the podium after the 2002 British Grand Prix at Silverstone – but his unrequited dream of upstaging Tameside’s Hitman boxer was never fulfilled.

His life story is now going to be immortalised with an autobiography called ‘Neck’, written by Karen Woods, the Mancunian author of Broken Youth.

Karl, who is also known as ‘fat neck’, told MM: “I want to put the lid on it all now, finish off with a bang.

“Since all the stunts I’ve had so many people asking me how and why I did them. I suppose this is their answer.

Karl gave MM a brief insight into his past, ‘from care home to prison’ and when asked for a comparison, he said: “I suppose it’s going to be like Jackass meets Shameless.”

Karen Woods, who went to the same school as Karl, has risen from obscurity to top the Waterstones’ bestsellers list, and has been described as ‘the voice of the north’.

She told MM: “We’re both from the same area, and our families know each other.

“It’s like our two stories have come together.”

Delighted to have her on board, Karl is a big fan of Karen’s work, and thinks her understanding of his background will help stamp his personality on the story.

He explained: “I was halfway through writing a book a few years ago, but the guy I had to do it didn’t get me.

“He was using lingo I just wouldn’t use. Now, in Karen, I’ve found the right person.”

Karl said the book will be a portrait of his life before and after the stunts. He said he’s glad that ‘everyone seems to see the funny side’ and that his lasting footprint will be that of ‘good fun’, someone who inspires ‘a bit of a laugh’.

“You just have to take the good with the bad,” said Karl before touching on some more serious issues in his past, like when he was attacked with a machete over twenty years ago.

A promising young boxer in his day, Karl revealed: “The doctor told me I’d never walk again.”

Not one to sit back in silence, Karl lambasted those in the media that criticised his stunts that he undertook while claiming disability benefits.

“I’ve always said the Manchester United stunt was my physio,” he stressed. “Where would I be now if I’d have just sat around moping about it?”

His boxing dreams may well be realised next month as Karl takes to the ring as part of a charity boxing fight raising money for the ‘Forever Manchester’ foundation.

No stranger to the ring, Karl previously considered infiltrating one of Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton’s fights: “I had planned to do a Ricky Hatton stunt because he comes on to (Manchester City song) Blue Moon.

“I was going to walk into the ring as him, drop my hood, take off my robe and be wearing a Man United kit.”

The prank never came to fruition, but with Hatton back in the ring this November, who knows?

Karl did say that he was thinking of one last prank, as a finale, for the launch of the book, but his lips remained sealed.

In the meantime, Karl is putting his hand to acting. Having previously had a cameo as a traffic warden in Shameless, he will be on stage as a policeman in the dramatic adaptation of Karen Woods’ Broken Youth.

He didn’t shy away from the irony, joking: “I come from a council estate, getting into loads of trouble doing pranks, and here I am pretending to lock people up.”

The front cover of the upcoming book has already been approved. Karl has been in contact with pop artist Damien Hirst who has sent him a picture of a decapitated animal, playing on Karl’s nickname ‘fat neck’, inspiration for the book’s title ‘Neck’.

Karl’s celebrity links to don’t end there, there is even interest from Michael Winterbottom, director of 24 Hour Party People, about bringing Karl’s life story to the big screen.

So what is next for Karl Powers? With his up-and-at-‘em attitude, it’s hard to think he will sit still for long, even if he claims this as his final bow.

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