VIN­NIE JONES

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By JON LIVESEY

Many fans claim a reck­less tackle by Jones in 1988 was re­spon­si­ble for end­ing Stevens’ ca­reer.

Af­ter do­ing his ut­most to ruin Gazza’s chances of ever hav­ing chil­dren, Jones had spells at Leeds United and Sh­effield United be­fore sign­ing for Chelsea, where he achieved the fastest book­ing in Premier League his­tory by re­ceiv­ing a yel­low card just three sec­onds into a game.

Speak­ing about the foul, he said: “I must have been too high, too wild, too strong or too early, be­cause, af­ter three sec­onds, I could hardly have been too bloody late!”

By 1992, Jones was back at Wim­ble­don, and it didn’t take him long to find trou­ble.

That year he pre­sented the now in­fa­mous Soc­cer’s Hard Men video which fea­tured archived footage of his fel­low dirty play­ers, com­plete with help­ful ad­vice for bud­ding hatchet men.

He was fined £20,000, banned for six months and sus­pended for three years from the FA, prompt­ing Wim­ble­don chair­man Sam Ham­mam to brand him “mos­quito brain”. Jones con­tin­ued to at­tract con­tro­versy, ex­ceed­ing

Hatchet

HOW was any team sup­posed to stop a young, fear­less and ridicu­lously gifted Paul Gas­coigne?

Some tried man-mark­ing or cut­ting off his sup­ply. Oth­ers didn’t even bother try­ing.

Vin­nie Jones, while play­ing for Wim­ble­don, AKA “The Crazy Gang”, sought to cas­trate him.

In 1987, 22-year-old Jones – who al­ready had a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing bru­tal – was snapped sav­agely squeez­ing Gazza’s bol­locks, caus­ing the New­cas­tle star­let to writhe in agony.

And it’s just one ex­am­ple of the vi­o­lence that che­quered his football ca­reer.

Gazza, a Sun­day Sport colum­nist, even sug­gested Jones for our Head The Balls hall of fame.

Born and bred in Wat­ford, Jones be­gan his football ca­reer at non-league side Weald­stone, also work­ing as a hod-car­rier on build­ing sites, be­fore play­ing a sea­son in Swe­den’s sec­ond tier.

But it was only af­ter sign­ing for Wim­ble­don in 1986 that he re­ally put his stamp on the game.

Just ask for­mer Tot­ten­ham and Eng­land full-back Gary Stevens. 40 dis­ci­plinary points and later be­ing let off by the FA af­ter he failed to at­tend a hear­ing at Lan­caster Gate. He re­ceived a four-match ban.

In re­sponse, he said: “The FA have given me a pat on the back. I’ve taken vi­o­lence off the ter­rac­ing and onto the pitch.”

Jones stayed at Wim­ble­don un­til 1998, won nine caps for Wales – he qual­i­fied through a grandparent – and hung up his boots af­ter a brief spell with Queens Park Rangers.

De­spite help­ing Wim­ble­don to FA Cup glory in 1988, not ev­ery­one was a fan of his style.

For­mer France winger David Gi­nola once re­marked: “Jones doesn’t de­serve to be con­sid­ered a foot­baller. Get­ting kicked is part of the job in France as well as Eng­land, but the real scan­dal is that some­one like Jones gets to be a star, to make videos and be­come an ex­am­ple for kids.”

Even af­ter re­tir­ing, Vin­nie con­tin­ued to make head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons.

In 1998 he was found guilty of as­sault­ing his neigh­bour and in 2003 he was con­victed of air rage af­ter slap­ping a pas­sen­ger and threat­en­ing to kill cabin crew. Then, in 2008, he was ac­cused of hav­ing a bar fight in South Dakota, USA.

But ul­ti­mately, Jones has used his hard man im­age to his ad­van­tage, carv­ing out a suc­cess­ful ca­reer play­ing brutes in films like Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock And Two Smok­ing Bar­rels, as well as Mean Ma­chine and Gone In 60 Sec­onds.

Now 47, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife Tanya – and he’s still ter­ror­is­ing op­po­nents, for his own Sun­day league team in Hol­ly­wood.

most SQUEEZY DOES IT! Vin­nie gets to grip with Gazza

and in Lock, Stock

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