In the annals of football history, there are few individuals as audacious as Vinnie Jones. Renowned for his aggressive and unyielding 'physical style of play', Jones epitomized the character of British football during the late 80s and early 90s.
Did you know? On this day in 1992, Jones was charged by the FA for a video production entitled "Soccer's Hard Men," which would gain notoriety for its celebration of physicality in football. This 78-minute feature-length paid homage to the game's most resilient players, featuring the likes of Graeme Souness, Nobby Stiles, Norman Hunter, Ron "Chopper Harris," and Billy Bremner.
The video served as a compilation of forceful tackles with Jones's personal reel of mayhem taking centre stage. This included striking hits and a reckless two-footed challenges. The Football Association was appalled by the video, viewing it as a glorification of the unsanctioned attempts employed by Jones and others to intimidate and in some cases injure opponents.
The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) made an attempt to suppress the video, but ultimately abandoned their attempts after legal advise recommended against it. Despite the controversy, the film flew off the shelves, becoming the second-highest selling sports video in the lead-up to Christmas in 1992. Providing much entertainment, I'm sure.
To many, the video was a reflection of the era's football hooliganism culture, marked by disruptive conduct by spectators events not only in this country but throughout Europe. The video was perceived by the FA & PFA as an endorsement of this culture, and Jones's commentary elucidating the tactics used by "hard man" players to intimidate stirred the pot some.
He was charged by the FA for bringing the game into disrepute and on this day in 1992 was found guilty, subsequently fined (a record for the time) £20,000. On top of this hefty fine he received a six month playing ban, which was suspended for three years.