What is The Freeman name? Is it just a few letters that are chizzled in on some triangular stone block? Is it a throwback to lonely days and nights spent at Uncle Sam’s? Or is it being your own man, with your own vision, on your own bit of land?
I quite like the thought of it being the latter; fully etched in stone and in our memories. It kind of makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.
Who is he then?
If you were to speak of Freeman in the late 90s and early 00s, the name of Freeman would ripple through Ireland’s underworld. Hughie, formerly once one of the most feared and brutal gangsters in Britain, grew up in Cork and began his life of crime as a petty mugger and house burglar. But, as the drugs business boomed in the wake of the Irish riots, he began to rob city barons of their huge fortunes, torturing them with violence until they paid up – earning him his Bad Mothercunt nickname.
Through “taxing” the richest and most powerful crimelords in the UK, he reportedly netted over £20m of hardcore blood money. But they either pay up, or get a slap. Simple as that. Once you’re all paid up grab yourself a cup of tea and all is forgotten. No need for additional charges, or proving to himself that he was King Dick. It’s Hughie Freeman. Not some orange pumpkin man from the back alley carnival.
Hughie was first assaulted aged 11, he was caught up in the Cork riots aged 18 and then forged a career in the hurt game and getting paid handsomely for it. Although it is said Freeman was never a bully, and only did over the ones who deemed too privileged living off of the black market. Although, he’d like to convince himself that was the case. Just a genuine hard bastard wanting to make a hard profitable business for the family name.
Underground, not overground is where it matters. The roots and foundation of the truth. The truth is: you’ve never been born. Only born into getting exactly what you want, living your best spoilt life. But it’s the wrong reign of terror. That’s Hughie Freeman’s spot. Nothing more, nothing less. No cheap frills, just expensive eye socket surgery for those chancers.
Well it is true. That belt did look great on your man Hughie Freeman anyway. The way it shone as it sat perched on his shoulder. The way it fit snug around that shredded waist. The way it went with Hughie Freeman like two peas in a pod. But surely it meant much-much more than that. Hughie Freeman even said that he’d rather lose his LSD championship in his very first outing than to live a lengthy reign of fakery. Knocking bum dossers out for fun is not worth getting out of bed for in the morning. And he’d not be able to crossover knowing he took the easy route. A Scott Stevens title defense isn’t fooling anyone.
The Freeman name is hard, in your face, ballsy, ready to take on anyone at any time, and a name that stood proud. The LSD Proud Fighting Champion like he called himself was something he held close to his beating heart. It’s what drove this clearly unstable man and gave him a passion. To fight with pride on the biggest of stages and to be the LSD champion everyone wanted him to be. Where even in a gimmicked division, Hughie Freeman made stuff legit. And everyone could see that.. even GOD himself.
But that’s all what you see on TV. The man behind the name certainly comes to light on reflection of the loss of life and these unprecedented times. Where many reports claim it was his main goal in life to be known as a bad man. He’d lift up his balaclava and say: It’s me, The Pikey Fuck. What are you going to do about it? And it wouldn’t matter if you were a 21 stone bodybuilder or the best kickboxing sensation coming out of Britain.. you were getting it off Hughie Freeman. They’d all shite their kegs behind all of the posturing and bravado.
The Freeman name is the most revered (and feared) name in the whole of Ireland. One little whisper and everyone and everything stops dead. And although Hughie Freeman might not be here in body, his spirit and name live on. The stories and memories still haunt the hills of Cork and deep into the valleys. It doesn’t matter that he’s gone. The damage is imparable on the memories and the faces. No one dares speak of that name. Much like HOW.. out of fear and the want to forget. The want to pretend like what Hughie Freeman did with our memories didn’t happen. But, the thing is.. it did happen. Every single time The Pikey Fuck strolled into town.
Reformed gangster? TV star? Internet anti-hero? Try all of the above and you won’t be far off. However, there are seemingly many layers to Freeman, who had appeared on HOTv and other leaked media sources.
The psychology graduate spent a decade promoting himself as a reformed peace activist and anti-gun campaigner. But the only recipe for his enemies seemed to be double barrel shotguns. The contradictory pikey went as straight as a mangled clothes hanger found in a skip. He presented kindness, but only expressed HATE. Pre and post Scottywood’s brownie sale.
They talk about Max being buried. They talk about the ICON championship being buried. They won’t talk about Hughie Freeman being buried but they must consider the full burial of the LSD championship if there’s no winner other than the name: Hughie Freeman. Cos it’ll be overkill if the name Hughie Freeman doesn’t live on past ICONIC as the LSD champion. But that cannot happen with another fluke result or fucking miracle. The Fighting Champion needs to be finally set free and for you to pay back what he’s owed. The belt that was stolen from under his tree right before Christmas.
But the death of Hughie Freeman was not on any of your hands.. Harrison, Starr, Troy. Hughie Freeman wouldn’t give you that pleasure. Even in death he still wants the credit for his own work. This was not brought on by you hacks. It was brought on by the artistry of Hughie Freeman. Like no other and never to be seen again. You experienced greatness and it’s just how it is buried into your psyche.
The name will always resound forever. Just like it was meant to be. Forget your future ICONIC 2050 pay-per-view. The future is Hughie Freeman whether you like it or not; dead or alive. For his pay-per-view was always considered to be Rumble At The Rock.. not anymore. ICONIC will be forever remembered of the night Hughie Freeman won his pot of gold without even lifting a finger. Cos you damn right he’s that crafty, he’s that manipulative, he’s that cunning. And you never saw the bastard coming. What can you fight that won’t be physically there? But get a full shot of Freeman power right into your jaw all at the same time. There’s no quick fix for this, you’re all in cloud coo-coo land if you think you know what’s coming. Your preparing for a fight with the invisible man and there’s fuck all you can do about it. Except if your man Hughie Freeman has got caught up challenging Max Kael to a fist fight when entities collide. Cos he’s that sort of guy.
But you just do you. Jatt be the village idiot, Troy be the virgin Mary, Harrison be the killer with a plastic knife. Do what makes you happy. But know this: Hughie Freeman makes you dance to his sweet music. He’s there, somewhere.. with his harmonica and you know it’s time to dance. You’ll all play along cos he’s the man in charge. Jatt may get goggle-eyed for Troy… but Troy simply answers to Freeman. You all do. No questions asked, now do as you’re told. Your man is the Pied Piper and you’re his rats. Follow him like I follow him.. into the darkness and into the light. See the shit for what it is. GOD please, open your eyes and see The Pikey Fuck do his thing one last time.
Hughie, if you’re listening. Know I’ll pass on your teachings and carry the Freeman name like no other. Just like you wrote it from the start on the walls in your cell at Alcatraz: Free Man. Exactly what it says on the tin. Never to be a prisoner, but a free spirit of the land. Never to be talked down to, never to listen to orders. You’re finally a Free Man now, and I feel blessed to the core. Let the butterflies fly over the fields of corn. Let the feather drift into the wind. Let the bee’s see the sunflowers. And let Hughie Freeman live on in the memory.
We open to a cold dark winters night on a huge oak tree in a random field in Cork, Ireland. On the oak tree itself, etched on the wood trunk is: HF RICK, in a love heart. We pan out to then see Jonny O’Dell standing over a freshly dug shallow grave under the tree. We can quite easily identify that is indeed O’Dell even with his back to the camera. He is still wearing his pin-striped suit from an earlier promo but it’s all ruffled and filthy. O’Dell also holds a green petrol cannister in his hand.
O’DELL: This is how it’s meant to end, GOD.
A front shot of O’Dell. He looks rather determined.
O’DELL: Its funny this death thing. You only ever come out of the woodwork when the man is gone. You bunch of cowards.
If only you listened to my prayers. I asked for the powers of the pikey but I’m not strong enough. You took away my whole life and I can’t keep fooling myself like an LSD competitor. With Hughie Freeman, I once had hope.. we all did. So you leave me with no choice..
O’Dell immediately pours the petrol over his head and all down his body. Jonny O’Dell is scared, lost, and at the end of his tether.
O’DELL: The art is damaged and I’m worthless, GOD! I don’t deserve to carry the name..
O’Dell is in floods of tears as he immediately strikes a match in complete lunacy. It’s remarkable how he’s not even set alight.
O’DELL: Goodbye cruel world!
The match edges closer and closer, merely inches away. This is the end of possibly the most bizarre character ever seen in HOW. The most controversial star to ever lace them up and make an even bigger comeback than Jatt Starr.
Suddenly, O’Dell is frozen deadly still on the spot. His face gleefully smiles and tosses the match far and wide. Slowly, and animatedly, O’Dell turns to be greeted by the very much alive… Hughie Freeman! The estranged duo share a moment of joy with eyes locked.
O’DELL: ..Precious Pikey Art.
Freeman smiles and takes a cigarette out the box from his jeans pocket. He lights up and takes a puff.
HUGHIE: Thank-you my friend……. Goodbye.
Jonny O’Dell looks contently at peace as a Fatality Punch (in slow motion) connects with his jaw. The thunderous strike makes the controversial HOW star float in the air and finally into the open grave like sweet poetic gypsy art.
HUGHIE: Your man late to the party.. ?! Harrison, Starr… TROY.
.. You are the ones that wait for Hughie Freeman. Enjoy pivoting for me.
Painfully (yet eagerly) pleading is Jonny O’Dell deep in the open grave.
O’DELL: Finish the job, Freeman.
Hughie Freeman is elated. He can’t hide his joy with the biggest (yet sickest) smile ever produced. The feeling of being alive takes over our sensors as the penultimate climax nears.
O’DELL (squirming): Say it… say.. it..
Freeman takes another drag of his cigarette and he’s never looked so prouder.
HUGHIE: ……… Never trust a fucking pikey!
Suddenly, the cigarette gets thrown into the grave and the fire shoots up out of it. O’Dell screams for dear life but somehow in a sick version of events.. therapeutic calmness evokes the atmosphere. Hughie Freeman watches on bidding his final farewell to Mike Best’s man-crush (and pikey follower), Jonny O’Dell. Making everything come completely full circle.