Vinnie gets to grips with Gazza at St James' Park in 1987 (Action Images)Vinnie gets to grips with Gazza at St James' Park in 1987 (Action Images) © Copyright

Been there, won that- Vinnie Jones

Football's hardest man lifts the lid on the Crazy Gang, missed opportunities and Gazza's nuts.

For me, my proudest moment would have to be winning the FA Cup with Wimbledon. Next to that, it was a massive thing to break out of non-league football and sign as a pro. I went on to win the FA cup two years later and I think is pretty unbelievable. It reminds me of Jamie Vardy's story to an extent.

Semi-professional football makes you hungry. I had two great years at Wealdstone F.C. then I moved to Sweden to play. After that, Dave Bassett had a look at me and said, "You want to play full time? It will make a man out of you." My home debut was against Man United and I scored the winner. You can't write that book.

Being part of the Crazy Gang was a special moment in all of our lives. I'd like to go back and do it again. You lived in the moment; you don't think about taking your time or how to conduct yourself, you just do it. It's like being at the edge of the ocean and skimming thin stones across the top of water. That's what it was like for us; we just skimmed across the top, never going too deep, just loving it. If you stick your head up and try to take it in, you'll miss it.

I'm not the best one to give advice to be honest,but what I do say to people is that when you're in the moment, enjoy it. Soak it all in. When we won the FA cup we did nothing after that. We got to a semi-final in the FA cup a few years later with Joe Kinnear, but after that, nothing. It happens so quick and if you don't soak it in you won't have the memories.

It wasn't the best place to be on a Saturday afternoon, on the pitch, playing against me. You were better off on the terraces. People in the game knew I could play. Don Howe thought I was one of the best professionals he'd ever had, but I did regret my behaviour on the pitch because of the Sunday mornings. It was hard work reading what was said about me sometimes!

I don't have a defence for my reputation as a hard nut to be honest. I think my passion overshadowed what I could do on the pitch. When I went to Leeds then Chelsea I proved I was a decent player. But when we was at Wimbledon, we were programmed to be a cog in the wheel, and that's why individuals didn't necessarily shine through.

That picture of me and Gazza is iconic. It pops up somewhere everyday, doesn't it? I still have people asking me if I got the picture at home. It's iconic isn't it?

I’ve achieved a lot in my life and there's a sadness I never got to be a manager. I don't regret it, but I really think I had the passion to be a manager, and that never happened. It nearly happened with QPR but then of course Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels came along and then Snatch off the back of that. I was in Hollywood blockbusters after that, so it never materialised.

Technonolgy has come on like anything, especially in football. I remember in the 90s when the phone I had was like four house bricks big or at least as heavy. Nowadays you've got those little slim things and I think football is a reflection on that. No longer have you got the big boys clumping people, blood and stitches and everything. These days when the wind blows in the wrong direction, four players will fall over.

Technically football has come a long way. I love watching the premier league now. Young guys come along and they want to get involved in the national team. They're passionate. That's why I’ve sat down with Hyundai and we're doing this FanDome at Kings Cross. It’s really exciting, and it's really put a smile on my face because we'll get others involved. I'm moving with the times too: I don't want to be that guy stuck in the past!

//CREDIT// Vinnie Jones is launching the Hyundai FanDome the world's first 360-degree multi-sensory experience in London


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