He’s football’s original hard man – and now Sheffield United fans will be able to get up close with former Blades hero Vinnie Jones at an exclusive event.
A member of the infamous Wimbledon FC ‘Crazy Gang’ which scrapped and kicked its way through defences in the 1980s, Jones is now a serious Hollywood A-lister.
But the Los Angeles-based star is heading back to Sheffield in April for a talk, question and answer session and three-course dinner to regale audiences about his life – including a memorable season no doubt still indelibly etched in the minds of United fans everywhere.
He joined the Blades from Leeds in the 1990–1991 season and went on to help rescue the team’s entire season, making 35 appearances in his time at the club.
“It was one of the most amazing football seasons,” says Jones. “I went from Leeds to Sheffield United when they had seven points at Christmas.
“That season it was getting to the point where I couldn’t go out with my family because people would come up to me and say ‘what’s going on?’ But we turned it around and by some miracle we managed to stay up.
“Seven points at Christmas! That’s ridiculous. People talk about that FA Cup win at Wimbledon, but to stay up after that is a miracle.”
Jones talks fondly of Sheffield and says he still keeps in touch with his Sheffield friends.
“I haven’t been in Sheffield for a long, long time, but I still have some great friends in Sheffield. My son was born in Sheffield, he’s a Sheffield boy. I lived in a nice place just outside Sheffield so I have fond memories of it.”
Jones has since become a Hollywood regular having starred in gangster action classics Snatch and Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Gone In Sixty Seconds.
But the pull of the LA scene hasn’t affected him. Jones insists: “I am just plodding along now, doing the films and TV shows.
“I think I’ve done 72 now and I live in Hollywood, which is great because of the weather, so I can go out and play golf.
“I don’t really go in for the glitz and the glamour. I live an English lifestyle.
“There is a show I’ve done called Gallivant, an American TV show that’s filmed in Britain and it’s the number one comedy in the US.”
But what does Jones think of the state of football now?
“I still follow what goes on at Sheffield United. I think football is in a league of its own now. I don’t think someone could come up from non-league in the same way I did. I’m blessed I got the opportunities I did and I have been able to fulfil my ambitions.”
An Experience With Vinnie Jones will be at Bramall Lane on May 1, with some profits going to Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.
n Tickets, priced from £60, are available by going to www.anexperiencewith.com