Photo credit: Steve Wraith
“If people are expecting a blood and guts expose of Manchester’s underworld then they’ll be sadly disappointed,” says writer Steve Wraith despite chronicling the life of one of Salford’s most notorious underworld figures in a new book.
The life of Paul Massey, a high-profile Salford figure, mobster, businessman and family man, is seen in a whole new light in the book which explores his childhood in Salford and delves into the trauma he suffered as a young man which influenced his path.
Wraith, who has previously written books on The Krays and The Sayers of Newcastle, has worked with Kelly and Lindsey Massey, and Jack W Gregory to tell the story.
Wraith first met the subject of his latest book when a friend of Massey’s avoided a difficult situation in Newcastle by taking refuge in the bar he was working at. But he didn’t hear about him again until 2015 when Massey was shot outside his house.
A mutual friend; the former Glasgow gangster Paul Ferris ‘Wee Man’ suggested Wraith helped offer guidance to Massey’s daughter Kelly to write the book.
Kelly got in touch with Wraith in March to start the process.
He said: “So we got our heads together. It gave me a chance to walk into Paul’s life, meet all the people, and walk out the other side with a few ideas on how to direct the book.
“The key thing about the book is that it is a tribute to Paul Massey and his life. It’s not a book which glamourises crime, it isn’t a finger pointing exercise.”
The book goes into the numerous spells he served in prison “where it has to be said was somewhere, he probably felt more comfortable because of the routine and discipline, he was not a model prisoner by any means”.
From there it looks at the businessman, Paul got himself on his feet, he matured, established himself, he was making a lot of money at this point, especially through the security industry.
The ’90s also features heavily in the book – “a period of time which I was a part of, it was a second Summer of Love, the ecstasy, the music, it was a great time to be alive”.
Massey’s life took a big turn for the worse in 1999 when he was sentenced to 14 years in prison for stabbing a man in the groin during an altercation in the centre of Manchester, while he was filming a documentary.
“The case is covered very well in the book,” says Wraith.
He says the book if half his research and interviews with the family, friends and all their recollections, and half tributes from people Massey knew from many different walks of life.
Massey was clearly well-known with contributions from Joy Division founder Peter Hook, Mark ‘Bez’ Berry of the Happy Mondays, Bruce Jones of Coronation Street, and even a foreword from Charles Salvador (formerly Charles Bronson) whom he knew well from his prison days.
Work on the book began in March and was completed by August.
Wraith said: “It’s a proud moment… this is a book I’m immensely proud of.”
He was able to complete the book in such a short time after being left with time on his hands during lockdown which caused his career in acting and promotion to pause while the country has Covid-19 measures in place.
The book is for sale on Amazon Kindle and in print from December 15.
It can be pre-ordered from www.badboysbooks.net which also stocks signed copies.