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Vinnie Jones - From football hard man to Hollywood actor

18:12 GMT 25/01/2018
Vinnie Jones Wimbledon Uriah Rennie
He was part of Wimbledon's FA Cup-winning 'Crazy Gang' in the 1980s, but he is now a regular 'hard man' in Hollywood action movies

As their playing careers wind down, most footballers tend to look at ways in which they can remain in the game.

Avenues such as coaching, management and punditry are well-worn paths trodden by ex-footballers, but some individuals take the road less travelled.

One such example of that is Vinnie Jones, who delved head-first into the world of acting and entertainment even before he had hung up his boots.

Now well established in Hollywood circles, Goal brings you all you need to know about Jones' football and acting careers.

Vinnie Jones' football career

Long before he became a regular on the crime-comedy film circuit, Jones enjoyed an eventful career as a professional footballer that lasted 15 years.

A physically imposing midfielder, Jones cultivated a reputation as a tough-tackling 'hard man' and frequently found himself on the wrong side of the referee, getting sent off a total of 12 times.

What clubs did Vinnie Jones play for?

Born in Watford, Jones began his career at non-league club Wealdstone before joining First Division outfit Wimbledon in 1986. He spent three seasons at Wimbledon, helping the club to FA Cup success over Liverpool in 1988.

While at Wimbledon, Jone was considered part of the 'Crazy Gang', which included the likes of Dennis Wise, John Fashanu and Lawrie Sanchez.

In 1989, he joined Leeds United and played a part as the club won the Second Division. However, he did not last long at Elland Road and reunited with former Wimbledon boss Dave Bassett at Sheffield United in 1990.

Year (s) Club
1984-1986 Wealdstone
1986-1989 Wimbledon
1989-1990 Leeds United
1990-1991 Sheffield United
1991-1992 Chelsea
1992-1998 Wimbledon
1998-1999 Queens Park Rangers

Jones joined Chelsea in 1991, but left shortly after the beginning of the inaugural Premier League season in 1992-93 in order to return to Wimbledon, who were managed by Joe Kinnear.

Having failed to settle at Sheffield United, Leeds or Chelsea, Jones settled well at his former club and stayed there for a total of six seasons before departing for Queens Park Rangers in 1998.

International career

Year (s) Team Caps Goals
1994-1997 Wales 9 0

Despite being born in England, Jones represented Wales at international level thanks to his familial links to the country.

He made his debut for the Dragons in December 1994 against Bulgaria at the age of 29 and played a total of nine times, with his last cap coming in March 1997 against Belgium.

Jones was made captain of the team in 1996 ahead of the 1998 World Cup qualifiers. "We had a democratic vote and the players chose Vinnie," then-Wales manager Bobby Gould is quoted by the Independent as saying. "They knew who they wanted to lead them."

Vinnie Jones movies

As his playing career came to a conclusion, Jones took the wholly unusual step into the world of acting, where he embraced used his 'hard man' persona to land roles.

It turned out to be a successful move for the former Wimbledon man, who has been involved in a number of successful films, working with action superstars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham, as well as sharing cast listings with Academy Award-winning actors Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken.

What movies has Vinnie Jones been in?

Jones' acting debut came in 1998 - while he was still a footballer - in the Guy Ritchie crime-comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, for which he received the Empire Award for Best Newcomer. He subsequently appeared in Ritchie's 2000 follow-up film Snatch and, in the same year he featured in Gone in 60 Seconds, alongside Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie.

The following year, Jones worked with Gone in 60 Seconds director Dominic Cena again, in the crime thriller Swordfish and also starred in the lead role in Mean Machine.

Due to his imposing stature and rugged appearance, Jones has predominantly been cast in roles of villainous tough-guys or criminals, but he has also voiced characters in animated films such as Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties and Madagascar 3.

As well as action movies, he has also featured in comedies, such as EuroTrip, She's the Man and You May Not Kiss the Bride.

You can see Jones' filmography below.

Year Movie Role
1998 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Big Chris
2000 Snatch Bullet-Tooth Tony
2000 Gone in 60 Seconds Sphinx
2001 Swordfish Marco
2001 Mean Machine Danny Meehan
2002 Night at the Golden Eagle Rodan
2004 The Big Bounce Lou Harris
2004 EuroTrip Mad Maynard
2004 Blast Michael Kittredge
2004 Survive Style 5+ Killer
2005 Slipstream Winston Briggs
2005 Submerged Henry
2005 Mysterious Island Bob
2005 Hollywood Flies Sean
2006 Johnny Was Johnny Doyle
2006 She's the Man Coach Dinklage
2006 Played Detective Brice
2006 The Other Half Trainer
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Juggernaut
2006 Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Rommel
2007 Strength and Honour Smasher O'Driscoll
2007 The Riddle Mike Sullivan
2007 The Condemned Ewan McStarley
2007 7-10 Split Roddy Nightengale
2007 Tooth and Nail Mongrel
2008 Loaded Mr Black
2008 Hell Ride Billy Wings
2008 The Midnight Meat Train Mahogany
2009 The Bleeding Cain
2009 Assault of Darkness Mr Hunter
2009 Year One Sargon
2010 Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball McTeague
2010 Locked Down Anton Vargas
2010 Age of the Dragons Stubbs
2010 The Heavy Dunn
2011 Kill the Irishman Keith Ritson
2011 Blood Out Zed
2011 You May Not Kiss the Bride Brick
2011 The Liquidator Killer
2011 Cross Gunnar
2011 Not Another Not Another Movie Nancy Longbottom
2012 Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Freddie the Dog
2012 Fire with Fire Boyd
2012 Hijacked Joe Ballard
2012 Freelancers Sully
2012 Magic Boys Jack Varga
2013 Escape Plan Drake
2013 The 34th Battalion Lieutenant Colonel
2013 Company of Heroes Brett Willoughby
2013 Fractured Quincy
2013 Ambushed Vincent Camastra
2013 Armed Response Tillinghast
2013 Blood of Redemption Campbell
2014 A Certain Justice Bennett
2014 Redirected Golden Pole
2014 Reaper Rob
2014 Way of the Wicked John Elliott
2014 Gutshot Straight Carl
2014 The Calculator Yust Van Borg
2014 Puncture Wounds Bennett
2015 Bite Big John
2015 Rivers 9 Ray Kaplan
2015 Absolution The Boss
2015 Gridlock Ryker
2015 The Enforcer Renner
2016 The Magnificent Seven Uncredited
2016 Kill Kane Ray Brookes
2016 The Midnight Man Pearl
2016 Decommissioned Michael Price
2017 Cross Wars Gunnar
2017 Madness in the Method Vinnie

Vinnie Jones on TV

As he was beginning to establish himself as an actor, Jones became a regular face on television, notably appearing in a series of advertisements for the alcoholic drinks company Bacardi as well as taking part in a variety of shows.

As far back as 1992, Jones showcased his ability to present in the football video Soccer's Hard Men, but it ultimately landed him in trouble with the Football Association, who fined him and threatened him with a six-month ban for 'bringing the game into disrepute'.

Since moving into the entertainment business, he has presented other shows, notably Vinnie Jones' Toughest Cops and Police Interceptors. He has taken part in reality TV shows himself and in 2010 was a part of Channel 4's 'Celebrity Big Brother' programme, in which he finished third.

Despite being typecast as a hard-man, Jones has taken on a variety of roles and recently starred in the musical comedy TV show Galavant.