Vinnie Jones




"Vinnie" Jones is an English-born film actor and ex-footballer, who represented Wales. He has capitalised on his tough guy image and is now better known as an actor for his aggressive style and intimidating demeanour.

Jones was born in Watford. His father worked as a gamekeeper. He started his football career in 1984 at Alliance Premier League side Wealdstone, during which time he combined playing football with being a hod carrier on a building site. He played one season with second-level Swedish club IFK Holmsund in 1986 and helped them win the league.

Later that year he moved to Wimbledon for a £10,000 fee. He was part of the 'Crazy Gang' team that won the FA Cup in 1988, arguably the club's greatest achievement. He subsequently played for Leeds United, Sheffield United, and Chelsea, before moving back to Wimbledon again in 1992. He played over 250 games for the Dons, before briefly becoming player/coach of QPR in 1998. When overlooked for the vacant post of manager of QPR, he announced his retirement.

While a footballer, he became quickly infamous for his brutal "hard man" image, which frequently brought great criticism of his play. He was sent off 12 times in his career (second only to Roy Keane with 13), and holds the record for the quickest sending off, having been booked after only three seconds of play. In one notorious incident he distracted Paul Gascoigne by grabbing his testicles. During another match, he ended the career of Tottenham defender Gary Stevens with a vicious tackle.

However, during his season at Leeds United he proved that he could thrive without the illegal side of his game, and under the stewardship of Howard Wilkinson received only three yellow cards during the whole season.

He also was the presenter of the infamous Soccer's Hard Men video released in 1992, which featured archived footage of himself and many other "hard men" of the game, and included advice for budding "hard men". After the release of the video, Jones was fined £20,000, banned for six months, and suspended for three years from The FA for "bringing the game into disrepute." But Jones continued to find trouble nad the FA banned him indefinitely.  Many of Jones' fellow professionals were quick to condemn both the video and Jones himself. 

A high point in his football career was when he was chosen to play international football for Wales and he earned nine caps. 

In 1998 Jones published his autobiography, "Vinnie: The Autobiography" which was later reprinted to include information on his 1998 feature film debut in Guy Ritchie's 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.'

In May 2002, Jones played a character in the music video for Westlife's single 'Bop Bop Baby'. In November 2002, he released an album of blues and soul songs on Telstar called Respect in the UK, as his musical debut under the tuition of Phil Edwards. He also appeared in a series of UK TV advertisements for Bacardi.

Vinnie has appeared on Top Gear as the 'Star in a Reasonably Priced Car' and managed to make it around the track in 1' 53".

He was the first ever guest host for The Friday Night Project when it first aired on Channel 4 in 2005. 

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