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Chapter 5 - The Rise and Fool of UK Paintball ...


Owner of this website
Jul 5, 2001
All Roads lead to Jerry

Every serious player who’s ever picked up his/her paintball marker has but one aspiration when it comes to achieving the ultimate in tournament paintball – The World Cup …… it resides on its own atop the paintball mountain looking down on all pretenders to its throne.
It’s paintball’s one true Mecca …
The event was originated and promoted by a guy called Jerry Braun, one of our sport’s founding fathers – he had worked hard to put that event on every baller’s paintball map – it was by far the biggest and the best, both for player and industry alike … no other tournament had so many teams nor industry vendors, it was effectively the thousand-pound gorilla of the paintball jungle ..

Over here, we had the Mayhem event that was now beginning to tempt across an American contingent if only for them to win on foreign soil but the World Cup was out there on its own achieving almost mythical status amongst ballers world-wide.
Jerry had created a monster … but it was a monster that was frighteningly difficult to defeat for any team attempting to win – an exclusive club of teams had claimed it for their own, The All Americans, The Ironmen and Aftershock … this trilogy of US pro teams towered above the madding crowd of teams beneath.

Jerry was [and is] an extremely astute businessman and salesman, he was personable, unassuming and worst of all, smart … and when I say ‘smart’ I mean fuhkin smart.
Jerry was a corporate lawyer and had somehow got involved in paintball - he owned a paintball field, a paintball magazine, a paintball store and so he was totally immersed in our sport from the very beginnings.
Everyone knew Jerry ...

On one of the first few occasions when I had met him, I remember letting him know what I thought about US lawyers and their apparent lack of morality – I didn’t pull any punches and I had effectively put him on his back foot but I had confused Jerry’s lack of response with an inability to rebut my opinions.

Jerry was waiting for me to hang myself and I duly served my head up when I went for the intellectual kill and so, I thought I’d try and be clever and throw him some calculus, he was a lawyer for fuhk sake, he wouldn’t know a differential equation if it had head-butted him on the nose and so I somewhat dismissively quipped something like, ‘Well, Jerry, if you really wanna impress me, tell me what the answer is to differentiating 3x – squared’ – it hung between us for all of a nanosecond whereupon ‘6x’ came whinging its way back at me right between my eyes .. ouch !!!
His answer was correct ….
I looked at him half confused, half amazed … he then went on to inform me, in a humble way of course, ‘Peter, I’m not just a lawyer, I was also a professor of Mathematics at Pace University in New York’ ….Gulp!!!!!
Now, that was a put-down – he was double-degreed up to the ass and in one sentence, I was knocked spark out on the floor looking up at his feet.
I learned a valuable lesson, don't play intellectual volleyball with Mr Braun.

Actually, I’m glad he is part of our heritage, if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be where we are now, he had a profound influence on our sport’s development.

Back to the World Cup - The vast majority of ballers world-wide see it as an achievement in just attending the event and maybe, if you were lucky, you might have even got to play it, but for a few, elite hard-core ballers, contesting for the world title was a once in a life-time opportunity.
And here, I’m not talking about the amateurs nor novice events; I’m referring to the pro tournament.
If you win the world cup, it means you won the pro-event, the remainder are academic as far as pros are concerned.

Some time back, and on both sides of the Atlantic, there were a lot of guys going round claiming they were pros and they’d won this, or that but the average baller had no real clue as to who won what or when.

Guys were now calling themselves pro when they had played only a game or so for a pro team.
And so, two enterprising brothers from the US, Rusty and Gator Glaze [Dynasty] set out to put the record straight – they took it upon themselves to manufacture patches that had simply ‘Pro’ next to a star’ on them; there were two type patches manufactured, the silver patch would be given to those who players who had won a single world cup pro event, one world pro series and have accumulated at least 3 years as a pro.
The gold patch was handed out if you had two world pro cup wins, plus a world-series pro title and played for at least 5 years as a pro.
The real pros were given the real patches, now, far be it from me to boast or even to say which colour patch I was awarded, all I will say on the matter is, ‘it weren’t fuhkin silver’ …

This sorted the men from the boys, and the real pros from the bull-****ters … now the reason I even mention this is because it’s a pet peeve of mine, and of course, there is a humungous dollop of blatant self-interest involved.

In paintball, you come across a whole slew of individuals, some of whom bullsh!t a bit, some a lot, some are delusional and some are just downright fuhkin crazy.
The problem is, most ballers don’t know who’s who, or what’s what, which of course allows some individuals to take advantage of that ignorance and lie till their teeth fall out when it comes to their ‘claimed’ accomplishments.
The vast majority of gold patch winners are from the US and I’m pretty sure, there has only been one UK player who has ever won the world cup; I don’t think you have to be Hercule Poirot to work out I must have won it [twice] otherwise I wouldn’t be even mentioning it .. and you’d be right but my point is, it irks me when I hear of people claiming or implying they have won this or that and I know damn well, they won jack-sh!t.

I find it a bit insulting because when these people go around telling others they have won the world cup, it kinda diminishes the achievements of the guys who have actually won it.
The UK’s greatest ever player, Jason Wheeler has got close, real close and I have little doubt he will inevitably achieve it .. a player that good, will eventually close in on the tournament of all tournaments.. and when he becomes the second Brit to win it, I’ll call him up and congratulate him, he will have earned it with skill and determination and not by deception or talking bollox.
In fact, I called him up just before I wrote this to make sure I hadn’t forgot anyone who might have got close to winning the world cup but unfortunately, it had eluded them all.
Jason confirmed there was only one UK player who had achieved it and he’s typing this out now ..did I experience any feelings of humility during the typing of these last paragraphs?
Did I fuhk !!
OK, pet peeve out of the way, I can move on …

The Preds had Europe wrapped up tight like Tutankhamen, and inevitably they looked westward toward the ultimate prize – Jerry Braun’s world cup - it was Marcus’s destiny, he knew it, we all did, even the Yanks were worried by him, they did well to fear him because he was good enough to seize the world cup title from their tripartite grip.

Marcus’s team were great but they weren’t a glittering array of starlets; I think it fair to say, they probably had two, maybe three world-class players …. but …. what Marcus achieved with that team, the way he organised and trained them was remarkable - he somehow got them all playing from the same page, they all had their roles and played them out like clockwork … they were a well-oiled machine, Marcus’s mean machine.

He went over to the US with UK hopes high; I think it’s not unfair to suggest, the whole of UK paintball looked toward the Preds to win it, to make us all proud that we could produce such a team… everybody this side of the Atlantic wanted them to win, well, not everybody exactly but …. well, look, a part of me didn’t want them to win it but another part did ….
I couldn’t quite make my mind up; either way, I wasn’t gonna like whichever result they achieved.

In the 90’s, there were only a handful of teams who had a realistic chance of winning the World Cup and so it came as no surprise when the Usual Suspects of the All Americans, Aftershock and the Ironmen seemed to be sharing the NPPL events as the seasons flew by.
If the Preds were gonna win the world cup, then they had to somehow negotiate their passage past those giants of our game.
I was lucky enough to play for the All Americans [2 years] and Aftershock [3 years] and so I've been given a privileged perspective of US paintball and it's a privilege I'm hugely grateful for - I owe my American adventures to three people, Billy and Adam Gardner of the All Americans and Renick Miller of Aftershock.
Each of those teams had different personalities that was an emergent property of each team's owners and players.
The All Americans were technicians of the game, masters of counter-punch paintball - the Ironmen played the game in character as Californian freestylers, they attacked in style, free-flowing and slick as fuhk, and last but not least, came Aftershock, they just didn’t give a flying fuhk about anyone, they would bludgeon teams to death with bunker moves from legends like Mikey Bruno and Gary Noblett, they might not have won every game but you can bet your bottom dollar they would hit you with the three ‘A’s … attack, attack and oh, I nearly forgot, attack …. I think out of those three teams, most paintballers would love to have played with Aftershock, they were the Mike Tyson of paintball, oblivious to all but attacking .. fearless, determined and real kick-ass.
They would live or die on their swords, or in this case, their markers.
Even as I just typed this last paragraph out, the hairs on the back of my neck began tingling - such was the mystique that surrounded Aftershock back then.
I played for them for 3 years and loved every single second of it - most of the guys on that team were stand-up fellows; the most notable and poignant quality those guys had, was an almost maniacal and obsessive sense of identity. For them, the team was everything, it meant everything and so when I joined them in 96, I really did feel honoured to be around these guys.
The names of Renick, Gary Noblett, Danny Love, Mikey Bruno and Billy Ceranski were true legends of our game. I was immersed in greatness but I had to make my name in the team, more of that later.

If a fight was ever to break out when Shock were playing, there was only ever gonna be one winner and it weren’t any of Shock’s opponents – it should come as no surprise that I quite liked that about them.

This implicit physical threat negatively affected some opponents when they played against Aftershock even though nothing ever really happened like that. I think some guys are influenced by rumours of that kind and it affects the way they approach playing teams like Aftershock back then.
I finished my pro career playing for Aftershock and winning the world cup for the second time ... after all, there was nowhere else to go apart from down .....and so down I went down .....weeeeeee!!!!!!

All through the 90s, the NPPL in the US was the dominant series, no other stateside series had pro teams.
This is obviously before the NPPL split away in 2002 thus creating a schism with the NPPL on one side and the PSP on the other … more of that later.
In the 90’s, there were 5 NPPL events throughout the year and the culmination of that year was in Orlando – the World Cup – the fifth and final event.

As for the Preds world cup quest?
This is gonna be one time when I am not gonna name names here – not because I’m worried about anything or anyone, it’s because I’m friends with the people concerned and I’m not in the business of pissing my friends off …. The Preds got to the finals of this particular World Cup and all looked set for a humdinger but Marcus was well aware of what he had to do to ensure they won – he had to beat all of the other finalists and what I mean by that is, every team he played in that final, he had to max out and get their flag back; anything less left a door ajar for the darker side of paintball to sneak in and weave an insidious web of collusion … and so it came to be.

The Preds left a door open by not maxing out one of the teams; this enabled two of the finalists to engineer a result that effectively prevented the Preds from winning … without that collusion, the Preds would have been justified winners of the world cup … as to how I know this to be true?

I know, because one of the guys who fixed that game, told me … circumstantially, the evidence was all over the place anyway but unless people had been videotaped conspiring to fix the game, there’s always gonna be doubt .. there was no doubt in my mind however, Marc was prevented from fulfilling his destiny …. I can’t imagine how he must have felt … I suppose I helped a little in his rehabilitation because when I found out, after I had got home, I was in two minds about telling Marcus about what I’d been told, in the end, for good or for bad, I called him up and told him what had been said.
I coulda just left it hanging but something inside told me Marc didn't deserve that.
For all the crap we'd been through, there was a residual respect between us and I'd like to think he would have done the same for me, and in my estimation, he would have.

After I told him of the admission, he wasn’t angry, or didn’t seem it, I think he was just sickened to the bone, the silence on the end of the phone was deafening – he must have felt sickened but also relieved other people outside of the Preds knew what had gone down.
In a sense it was vindication for him albeit without the title.

I suppose from Marc’s point of view, he knew damned well he was good enough to win that title but people were paying lip-service to his protestations and accusations because it all seemed like sour grapes …. in all honestly, I don’t think Marc ever managed to overcome that disappointment, a part of Marcus’s paintball life died after that but quitting ain’t in Marcus’s DNA.
The harder you hit Marcus the more he’s gonna come for you .. a somewhat discouraging quality if you ever had to fight him .. and trust me, I knew.
This all sounds a little melodramatic I know but unless you know Marcus, you can’t appreciate what paintball meant to him – whichever sport Marcus participated in, he did so with meticulous attention to detail.
After we both retired from playing paintball, we ended up down the gym and sparred a few times, I was always curious as to how good a boxer he was and so I was now gonna find out … he didn’t disappoint.

His punching techniques and movement were outstanding, I was maybe a little faster but if any of his punches landed on me, I was gonna end up 'ga ga' in La La Land.

I took him on the pads once and he was practicing his combinations etc …after a minute or so, I had to stop him hitting the pads and told him something I would NEVER have ever dreamed of telling him before, not in a million years.

When boxers go on the pads practicing combinations, if you hit them normally, there’s a ‘thud’ as glove hits pad … but, if you hit them perfectly, you hear a crack …. As I was holding those pads for him, I heard nothing but crack after crack after crack …. I had to tell him something though my head was screaming out, ‘Don’t fuhking tell him, keep your mouth shut Pete’ ….. My heart had decided otherwise and so I said, ‘Marcus’ … he looked up, I continued, ‘Marcus, I’m really pleased we never had that straightener [a proper stand-up fight]’, he looked at me kinda quizzically and asked, ‘why not’?
And I uttered the following admission, ‘because I think you would have beaten me’ ….and he would have.

He didn’t even blink an eye, not out of arrogance, nor was he being dismissive, he didn’t blink an eye because he wasn’t bothered by it. Damn, fuhk, sh!t, I hated him even more :) … but my respect for him inexorably grew.

Marcus did take the Preds back again to assault the world cup and I’m not sure if he came second or third but that first place eluded him .. he knew his fate was never to coincide with that first place at world cup …

I must have played against the Preds well over fifty times and not once did I see a chink in their armour.
I watched them lose a few times yeah, but even then, it seemed as though there was an air of something unnatural just happened.
I can vividly remember the first time I beat them on UK soil, it was the final of Steve Mattacott’s Arena-ball event.
Both our teams went through to the final as expected but for the first time ever, my team was destined to be the victor.
As we shot the final Pred player to win the trophy, I was elated and looked more like an epileptic who’d just been plugged into the mains … when the prize giving came around, Marcus went up to accept his second place trophy and congratulated us through teeth that were crumbling under the strain of 4 metric tons of dental force [JK] – as I went up to collect the winner’s trophy for my team, Marc sidled up beside me, leant forward and gruffly whispered in my ear, ‘Peter, don’t mug me off’ ….. I knew exactly what he meant and I would never have done it anyway but he wanted to make the point, I understood that, and for a second, only a second mind you, I felt a bit sad we had pushed them into second place.
I had gotten used to second place with the Preds and so this was uncharted territory and felt slightly surreal.
I realised it was the beginning of the end of an era .. the Pred era … it took a few more years for their dominance to taper off as teams around them smelled their invincibility waning.

I wasn’t used to feeling sorry for the Preds but as I walked back toward my team with the Arena-Ball cup, the previous feelings of elation subsided …. WTF?????
Don’t ask me, I don’t know why I felt like that but I did.

Back in Europe, things were hotting up, The Brits still ruled the roost but France and Scandinavia were catching up fast: we never really allowed ourselves to take their threat seriously from these Euro teams - this was partly down to arrogance, partly ignorance.
The UK industry spawned many companies but only a few would attain international status.
One was WDP [Who Dares Plays] which was owned by Ged Green and his brothers - Ged was a man who became one of our sport’s great visionaries … I gotta say, WDP were really unlucky … they could have become one of the biggest players in the world paintball industry if the roll of the dice hadn’t taken a diversion to Sh!ts-ville, USA.

A couple of major things went wrong for them that had a disastrous effect on their financial integrity in the mid to late nineties.
Ged’s legacy though was immense – his company created the Angel Marker which was one of the first electronic markers in the world and Ged was also responsible for two other quantum leaps in international paintball, the first was Hyperball and the second was the break-away NPPL but that was much later on and so I’ll get to that later.
Hyperball was a vision, a vision that launched WDP into the future, with the tournament players in hot pursuit behind them.
This was the first time that a serious international competition had been taken out of the woods and deposited in an open arena format.
There had been other half-hearted attempts but this was the absolute bollox of an event – we could all feel it as soon as we arrived on site.

Ged had long since realised the game of paintball needed to morph into a sport if it was ever going to be taken seriously as a mainstream concern.
There was no way our sport would be accepted if it was played out in the woods.
Ged realised the game needed to change its format and so he set about taking the first baby-step toward the revolution.
And with all that in mind, God created Hyperball, Oopps, I meant ‘Ged’, sorry about that !

Not only did Ged realise he needed to change the basic format, he also realised that you could build entertainment around the event itself and so he booked a rock-band, a tattooist, bungee jump and lord knows what else was going on … as players, we were all flabbergasted by it all but at the same time, we loved it.
Hyperball was ushering in a new paintball dawn ... and we were all involved.
It made us feel special when you finally got out into the main arena to play in front of the spectators.
Ged was the man !!!!

Hyperball was paintball played on a flat open field with massive black industrial tubes that had an apocalyptic look to the field when they were all located. These tubes were about four feet in diameter and varied in length and orientation which allowed sufficient cover points and alleys for both teams to move through.
Bleachers straddled one flank that housed hundreds of spectators – it seems commonplace today but you gotta remember, we had been playing in the woods and spectators weren’t really encouraged for fear of cheating.
To morph the game into an arena where all these spectators could see your every move, it was exhilarating.
Even though this new format was liberating, it had its limitations because the field wasn’t portable in the sense you could just pick it up and go, or even move the cover points around.
The big black industrial tubes had to be fixed into position which made it cumbersome.

At that event was someone who would take the Hyperball idea and stamp his French ass all over it.
The man was Laurent Hamet, the creator of the modern game whereby inflatable bunkers were used as against the fixed industrial tubes of Hyperball - This was the birth of Sup’ Air ball.
Laurent realised that although Hyperball was on the right lines, if he made the bunkers variable in shape, portable and inflatable, it would take another giant leap forward for our sport.
Laurent took this idea and promoted a 7-man Sup’air event in Toulouse, it quickly became the players’ favourite from all over the world. The Yanks loved it …

But for Ged, he first had to deal with a very real problem.
When WDP came out with their Angel in the early to mid-nineties, another company called Smart Parts from the US also launched their version of the electronic marker, the Shocker, thing was though, they looked surprisingly similar.

The Automag and Autococker were mechanical by design and the next evolution was bound to integrate electronics in some way but you needed somewhere to house the electronics and there’s only a few locations you can achieve that.
And to make the trigger electronic, as against mechanical working, some sort of electronic switch was required but once again, there was only a limited way of achieving this and so any electronic marker being developed was bound to have similarities in design.

Most [right-minded] people would have put this similarity down to developmental co-incidence but that’s not how things were perceived back then.
There were other considerations that needed to be addressed and these were legal by nature.
Both WDP and Smart Parts became locked in to a bitter legal dispute that lasted years as to who owned the patent rights of the first electronic marker.
Both were claiming their design was first and to this day, nobody really knows who was first because their research and manufacture were both going on at the same time.
Accusations of industrial espionage were rife when the case got before a court but like everything else to do with the American judicial system, the lawyers turned the case into a protracted affair destined to milk the fuhk out of the two companies concerned.
What can be said is this, Smart Parts got to their lawyers first which effectively forced WDP to go buckle up their own lawyers …. The stage was set for a show-down.

The two brothers, Adam and Billy Gardner owned Smart Parts, they also owned and played for the All Americans, the team I was playing for in the mid-nineties and so I was pretty much up to speed as to who done what and when.
With so much money at stake in patent rights, co-incidence wasn’t an option for either company - money talks, co-incidence walks it seems.

As soon as Smart Parts initiated litigation, WDP had no other choice but to reciprocate, it was either fight or .. pay patent infringements … neither being too palatable but the situation had already gone past the point of no-return.

If I told you some of the strokes that got pulled during that legal clash, you’d think I was making it up.
It was outrageous, there were times when private investigators were sifting through trash cans, people being followed and Lord’s know what else.
Every trick in the book was used to try and authenticate their respective markers as the first electronic gun thus opening up the possibility of damages in terms of patent infringement.
People who had worked for both companies were being rail-roaded into involvement and effectively asked to make statements that reinforced their respective positions, it got seedy, real seedy.

During this somewhat unwholesome fight to the death, Dye eventually became involved after they had acquired the rights to the Matrix, a marker created by Richmond Italia [more of him later] and subsequently sold to Dave Youngblood; fortunately for Dave, he suffered least out of all three, in terms of litigation costs anyhow.

Millions of dollars were at stake here and in the end, millions were spent on lawyers fighting over who did what and when .. it was crazy, but all companies were locked in, with each clutching the other’s financial balls and not being able to let go … I know what that fight cost and of the three companies locked into that legal wrangle [Smart Parts, WDP and Dye] a total of 10 million dollars went into the pockets of US lawyers … the lawyers were like leeches constantly assuring each party they would be the winners and thus continuing the battle ….The lawyers all got paid win or lose and so it comes as no surprise what strategy they would employ.
The legal battle ended up with Smart Parts effectively winning the main patent problem and other electronic gun manufacturers ended up having to pay a price on each marker they sold.
It was a bitter legacy that didn’t make too many friends within the industry for Billy and Adam.
I think the fairest way of looking at what went down is to recognise that anyone put in the same positions as SP or WDP would have gone down the same road, if they didn’t they would just allow some other company to try and be awarded patent rights.
It’s the way of the modern corporate world especially in the US.
It was a tragic force-majeure that soured the industry for long past its sell-by date.
I was friends with Billy and Adam seeing as I played on their team but I felt really sorry for WDP.
I can remember once talking to Ged when all this crap was going on, he obviously knew I was playing for Billy and Adam’s team and as we were talking, I could sense Ged was uneasy with me … I eventually realised Ged was being careful in what he said in fear of me running back to Billy and Adam telling them lord knows what but the reality was, I would never have done anything to hurt Ged or his company; I might not have been in Ged’s stable of teams but I draw the line at that sorta sh!t.
I wasn’t gonna be in anyone’s pocket but my own [or Matt Tudor's]… but to be fair to Ged, he couldn’t have known that.
WDP had effectively been forced to grab a tiger by its tail and after millions of dollars had been leeched from those involved, the tiger shook free and turned on WDP’s bank account.
It maybe wasn’t a death blow in itself but it undermined the financial stability of WDP leaving it seriously impaired just when WDP needed it most.
We shall return to WDP later when it spawned a company called Pure Promotions that was set to revolutionise our sport.

Coming in Chapter 6 - fuhk knows, I ain't written it yet !
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Owner of this website
Jul 5, 2001
So do you still have this patch, i'd love to see what they looked like, curiosity an all that...
Attached as requested - I have given everything away associated with my paintball career and this is now the only thing I have left - the only other thing I was going to keep was my first world cup winning plaque but when that auction thing came up for the Leezo, I lobbed it in to make a few quid.
I dunno if I'll ever give this away because it kinda says everything for me and for what I was lucky enough to be part of.

PS And if anyone intimates they have won world cup and doesn't have one of these patches, rename him Billy Bullsh!t because Rusty and Gator Glaze awarded all the patches to the right people.


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Owner of this website
Jul 5, 2001
Addendum to main article Chapter 5

We may have another UK player who has won world cup, Phil Ham - I was playing with Phil on the All Americans but I didn't start playing for them until 1994 - the confusion arose [if indeed there was one] because the World Cup moved from Jerry's site in NY down to Orlando in Florida and the records don't go back to when it was played at its original location.
I'll try and found out today and if Phil did win the WC, I will rectify the main article accordingly.
Apologies to Phil if I omitted him.


Owner of this website
Jul 5, 2001
My next submission isn't really part of UK paintball history but it's an addendum as to some of the more outrageous things that happened in the 90s with my team, NWC.
I'm not particularly proud of them but nevertheless, they happened as I tell - I'm sure some people may condemn such things [rightfully so I suppose] but on the other hand, some less sensitive people may find it humorous - decide for yourself if indeed you do read it.
Nothing is exaggerated, fabricated or glossed over.
If you are in any way a sensitive type who's quick to condemn, then best you not read my next submission.
It's not part of UK Paintball history but it is part on my old team's.
I'm gonna call it Chapter 5 addendum that's entitled - 'Ooops, Sorry About That' !


Platinum Member
May 1, 2010
Attached as requested - I have given everything away associated with my paintball career and this is now the only thing I have left - the only other thing I was going to keep was my first world cup winning plaque but when that auction thing came up for the Leezo, I lobbed it in to make a few quid.
I dunno if I'll ever give this away because it kinda says everything for me and for what I was lucky enough to be part of.

PS And if anyone intimates they have won world cup and doesn't have one of these patches, rename him Billy Bullsh!t because Rusty and Gator Glaze awarded all the patches to the right people.
Nice and simple no mistaking that at all!
I only asked as without seeing it I would have no clue what it was were I ever to stumble across one (chances are incredibly slim I know....)
Where are my manners!
Thanks for doing that Pete