Yup, that’s right. We have yet another CIE piece for you, this time Josh Lawless joins us to look at Kenwyne Jones’ career in Europe…
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Jones has spent a considerable amount of time in England, after moving to Southampton in 2004. Upon his arrival in the South-Coast from Trinidad & Tobago side W Connection, Connection’s Chairman David Williams described the move as “the biggest thing in Trinidad and Tobago football since Dwight Yorke.” And that mustn’t be taken lightly.
Jones had previously had trials with Manchester United, Middlesbrough, West Ham and Rangers and had revealed he had been searching for a club in Europe otherwise he would be placed in the Trinidad Army. It was make or break. His footballing career was on the line. But in came Southampton, and it all took off from there…
He failed to instantly make an impression for the Saints and was sent on loan to Sheffield Wednesday, where he really began to shine, he netted seven goals in seven games, averaging a goal per game in a successful short loan spell.
He then returned back to St Mary’s and featured in fixtures against Liverpool and Portsmouth, but was again sent out on loan, this time to Stoke City – where Jones scored three times in 13 appearances for the Potters.
The 2006/07 season was a brilliant campaign for the 27-year-old, he started the season by bagging a hat-trick in a pre-season win over Anderlecht and continued his fine form throughout the season, striking twice in a 4-3 win over Birmingham and repeated the impressive display with a double against Southend on the last day of the season, ensuring Southampton’s place in the play-offs.
To many’s surprise, in August 2007 Jones made his intention’s clear of leaving Southampton, by handing in a transfer request and going on strike until he was allowed to depart.
Jones was snapped up by Sunderland for a deal totalled to be valued around £6 million and became a fans favourite with the Black Cats.
Jones would go onto score 26 times in a a bumper 94 appearances. He then left for Stoke in 2010, for a fee in the region of £8 million. A large sum, clearly manager Tony Pulis thought highly of him.
However, Jones was surplus to requirements in the 2011/12 season, mainly because of the signing of fellow strikers Peter Crouch and Cameron Jerome. Not to forget the impressive form of Jonathan Walters, too, who is one of the club’s best strikers.
Last season was tough for Jones. Neglected from the first team set-up and only really utilised in domestic cup competitions. And although he had done nothing wrong, other players had come in and he had to pay the price. Football’s a cruel game.
Jones managed to score against Norwich in the Premier League and FC Thun in the Europa League, but was limited to league opportunities. And as the January transfer window soon came around, inevitably the press and media began to link Jones with a move out of the club.
The forward was linked with various clubs, in Europe and beyond, but made the decision to retain his place in the Stoke squad.
So he stayed put. He scored a historical goal for Stoke against Dynamo Kyiv, earning them qualification to the knockout stages of the competition – confirming his legendary status in Stoke folklore.
Jones is one of the most famous Caribbean players who have conquered Europe and has had a successful time in England with all the clubs he has played for.
He is approaching his 50th cap for his country and is an iconic figure not only back in his homeland but in Europe, too. Trinidad & Tobago football fans look up to Jones for inspiration and his consistent top-level and reliable performances for Stoke and others are why he’s one of Trinidad’s prized assets.
By Josh Lawless
And remember folks to check out Josh’s blog at http://backofthenetfootball.wordpress.com/ or follow the man himself on Twitter @BackOfTheNetJL