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Marlon Francis King (born 26 April 1980) is a professional football player. After starting his career in non-League football he played for Barnet, Gillingham, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest before moving to Watford in 2005. At Watford he was the Football League Championship top scorer, and was voted Watford player of the season as the club earned promotion to the Premier League. King joined Wigan Athletic in 2008, and subsequently spent loan spells at Hull City and Middlesbrough. During his career King has also played and scored for the Jamaica national football team.

King had his contract cancelled by Wigan after being convicted of sexual assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm on 29 October 2009, and being sentenced to eighteen months in prison.

Club career

Early life and career

King was born in Dulwichmarker, Londonmarker. He started his career at Dulwich Hamlet, before becoming a trainee at Barnet. After making 60 first team appearances for the Londonmarker club he moved to Gillingham in 2000. Although the club intended him to be a back-up to established striker Carl Asaba, injuries to key players saw them thrust into the starting line-up, where he quickly established himself as the club's main striker.

Nottingham Forest

King left Priestfield to join Nottingham Forest in 2003 for a fee of £950,000. He scored 15 goals in 57 games, but was loaned to Leeds United in March 2005 for the remainder of the season. Whilst at Leeds, manager Kevin Blackwell mainly played King out of position on the wing, and as a result King failed to net a single goal for Leeds, including missing a penalty kick against Leicester City. In total he played nine games for Leeds and returned to Nottingham Forest in the summer of 2005 after his loan spell ended.

He struggled to win over the fans at Nottingham Forest, before netting a spectacular winning goal in an emotional match against West Ham United, the first after Brian Clough's death. At first King refused to celebrate, but finally punched the air and kissed the badge.

Watford

In the summer of 2005 King was loaned to Watford for six months, with an option to buy in the January transfer window. He impressed at the Hertfordshiremarker club, scoring 12 goals in 21 games as Watford featured in the upper-reaches of the table.

The transfer was made permanent for £500,000 in January, and King went on to finish top scorer in the Championship in the 2005–06 season with 21 goals. Watford finished third, with King scoring in the 3–0 semi-final first leg win over Crystal Palace. He played in the second leg, and in the final against Leeds United, which Watford won 3–0 to win promotion to the Premier League. King was named the club's Player of the Season.

He scored his debut Premier League goal against West Ham United in the second game of the new season. His second Premier League goal, the first in a 3–3 draw with Fulham on 2 October 2006 marked his 100th goal in domestic competition. In the following game, away at Arsenal, he sustained a knee injury which kept him out of the next three games. During his return to fitness he suffered a relapse, and in an exploratory operation it was discovered that some bone had flaked away from his femur. The injury kept him out of action for six months, and he did not return until 14 April 2007 when he came on a substitutes in the 4–1 FA Cup semi–final loss to Manchester United at Villa Parkmarker. He scored in the final two games of the season, away at Reading and at home to Newcastle United to bring his season tally to four.

Watford were relegated and returned to the Championship for the 2007–08 season. With Watford topping the table for much of the first half of the season, King scored ten goals before the end of 2007, including five in successive games in October.

Wigan Athletic

King had a medical at Fulham in January 2008, which Fulham at the time said he had failed. Following King's conviction in October 2009 Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said "I think we got lucky in that we didn't sign him. There was a problem with the medical and it also became a problem when we found out he had a jail sentence. Mohamed Al Fayed was not at all keen on that so the transfer was allowed to collapse and he went to Wigan instead."He signed on a three-and-a-half-year contract for an undisclosed fee on 25 January 2008. The next day, Watford chairman Graham Simpson said on BBC Three Counties Radio that King had left for a fee of £3million rising to £4million, dependent on appearances and Wigan keeping their Premiership status. He added that King would be doubling his wages to £40,000. King scored his first goal for Wigan against Blackburn Roversmarker on 22 March 2008.

Hull City

In August 2008, Premier League newcomers Hull City bid an undisclosed amount for Marlon King, which Wigan accepted. City agreed personal terms with King, but the move fell through as he was unable to negotiate the terms of his exit with Wigan. Hull instead took King on a season-long loan. He scored his first goal for City, a penalty, on 13 September 2008 against Newcastle United, adding a second goal in the second half to win the match 2-1.

King's loan at Hull was cut short after he reacted in an "unacceptable manner" when told he was not in the starting line-up for a match against Arsenal and was sent home rather than taking his place among the substitutes bench.

Middlesbrough

On 22 January 2009, King's loan spell with Hull ended and he signed a loan deal with Middlesbrough. He made his debut against Chelsea on 28 January. He scored his first goal for Middlesbrough on 14 March against Portsmouth. King grabbed a goal against his old club Hull on 11 April in a crucial win for Middlesbrough.

Return to Wigan

King returned to Wigan in the summer of 2009 season after his loan spell ended. He mainly found himself on the bench for Roberto Martínez's side. He was sacked in October 2009, following his conviction and sentencing on serious criminal charges, a decison he has indicated he will appeal against.

International career

King played for Jamaica in the friendly against Ghana on 29 May 2006 which they lost 4-1. He would also have been in the squad to face England in a friendly on 3 June 2006, but was sent home for an alleged breach of discipline. Jamaica lost the match 6–0.

As a result of the incident, the Jamaican Football Federation banned King from international football until May 2008. When Captain Horace Burrell returned as the JFF president he lifted the ban. King played in Jamaica's 1–1 draw with Costa Rica in February 2008, where he provided the cross for Jamaica's goal. King also played for Jamaica in the friendly vs Trinidad and Tobago where he scored a goal and captained the team in the absence of Ricardo Gardner due to injury.

Personal life

King is married to Julie and has three children.

Incidents and legal cases

While on loan to Hull City, King was alleged to have headbutted teammate Dean Windass in a casino in Scarboroughmarker. Hull City stated that the matter had been dealt with internally, and both players remained with the club. Windass later described the incident as a "storm in a teacup".

King has convictions for 14 offences, dating from 1997. He received fines, driving bans, community service sentences, a rehabilitation order and orders to pay compensation on convictions including: theft from a person and from a car, criminal damage, and attempting to obtain property by deception; fraudulent use of vehicle licence document, driving without insurance, speeding, drink driving; a wounding incident while playing amateur football, and two cases involving assault of young women rejecting his advances in the Sohomarker area of London.

Two cases have lead to imprisonment. In May 2002 he received an eighteen month prison sentence for receiving stolen goods, in relation to a BMW convertible that he was found driving. He was found not guilty of a charge of assaulting a police officer in a related case. His solicitor commented that "His reputation will be tarnished forever, whatever success he achieves, he'll always be referred to in a Tyson-esque way as someone who has had a criminal past and that is a considerable penalty." Gillingham continued to pay his salary while he was in jail, and supported in his appeal, which resulted in the sentence being reduced to nine months, and he was released on licence after five months, returning to the Gillingham team within two days of his release. In December 2008, again in the Soho area, he was arrested on suspicion of punching a 20 year-old female university student in the face, causing a broken nose and split lip for which she was treated in hospital. He was later convicted of sexual assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and sentenced to 18 months in prison and placed on the sex offender register for seven years. He has indicated he will appeal against the length of his jail sentence. Wigan Athletic immediately initiated the cancellation of his contract.

King’s agent, Tony Finnigan, said he was confident that his client would find a club on his release and accused the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) of failing to offer support. Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the PFA, said that the PFA did not represent players when they have broken the law and been convicted on non-footballing matters. It would support members with anger management or other issues if approached but no approach had been made by Marlon King.

Club statistics

All statistics correct as of 31 October 2009
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total Reference
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Barnet 1998–99 21 6 1 0 0 0 1 0 23 6
1999–00 31 8 0 0 2 0 3 0 36 8
Gillingham 2000–01 38 15 2 0 3 0 0 0 43 15
2001–02 42 17 3 1 3 2 0 0 48 20
2002–03 10 4 1 2 1 1 0 0 12 7
2003–04 11 4 0 0 2 1 0 0 13 5
Nottingham Forest 2003–04 24 5 2 1 0 0 0 0 26 6
2004–05 26 5 2 1 3 3 0 0 31 9
Leeds United 2004–05 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0
Watford 2005–06 41 21 1 0 0 0 3 1 45 22
2006–07 13 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 14 4
2007–08 27 11 1 0 0 0 0 0 28 11
Wigan 2007–08 15 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 1
Hull 2008–09 20 5 1 0 1 0 0 0 22 5
Middlesbrough 2008–09 13 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 2
Wigan 2009–10 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 0


Honours

Club

Watford


Footnotes

  1. Includes appearances in Football League Trophy and Football League Championship play-offs


References

  1. Includes appearances in Football League Trophy and Football League Championship play-offs


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