Chelsea’s Vinnie Jones sets a new footballing record
by Richard DJJ Bowdery.
Vinnie Jones, the former ‘hard man’ of English football, has featured in a few ‘infamous’ moments during his footballing career – a certain Mr. Gascoigne and the Football Association, to name but two, can vouch for that. But one of those moments has entered the record books and will probably never be beaten for as long as the beautiful game is played.
It was 21 March 1992. Chelsea, whose side included Jones the ex-Crazy Gang cheerleader, were playing an FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge against Sheffield United.
The referee had just signaled the start of the game and removed the whistle from his lips when Vinnie Jones had announced his presence by introducing himself to United’s Dane Whitehouse. The referee’s whistle was hurriedly called back into action. Out came the notebook and in went the name of Vinnie Jones: a mere three seconds into the match. That has to be one of the quickest records to rival any other collated by football’s statisticians who record these things.
In his book, ‘Vinnie: The Autobiography – Confessions of a Bad Boy?’ he recalled the incident. He wrote: “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!” Indeed Vinnie.
A year earlier Vinnie, then a Sheffield United player, managed to get himself booked after 5 seconds against Manchester City at Maine Road – so this was shaving two seconds of his personal best!
As for the game, Whitehouse and company got their revenge by knocking the Blues out of the Cup, winning the game by two goals to one.
As for Vinnie, the incident added another layer to the mystique that was gathering momentum and would one day propel him onto the silver screen.
For now, however, he was just another name on the team sheet, with his steely stare and wearing those boots into the footballing arena where – taking the words from a Nancy Sinatra song – his opponents would fear that “One of these days [his] boots are gonna walk all over you.”