Recently I spoke to Trinidad and Tobago international Kenwyne Jones who signed for Sunderland in 2007 for Roy Keane’s side. He soon became a fans favourite at the Stadium of Light.
WAW: What was it like to play for SAFC, and was it difficult for you to settle in?
KJ: “It wasn’t easy to settle in, it was my first club in the Premier League so I was trying to hit the ground running. The fans were amazing and that eased the transition a lot, Sunderland was an experience that I’ll forever cherish.”
WAW: What is your favourite goal for Sunderland?
KJ: “Well firstly every goal was special, but to me the one against Reading at home always stands out to me the most.”
WAW: What was your celebration about, the one with Cisse and your acrobatics?
KJ: “The celebration with Djibril was a bit of Caribbean culture so it came out on the pitch. My acrobatic celebration was a replica of my uncles’ so I just carried on. I’ve been doing it since I was seven years old; just horsing around at first but it then became perfected after a while.”
WAW: What were your partnerships like with Darren Bent and Djibril Cisse?
KJ: “I think all my partnerships were great, I think that they are two different players and we were able to get along well; the time with Bent was obviously more fruitful but all in all it was a joy to play with both guys.”
WAW: What was Roy Keane like as a manager?
KJ: “I thought he was fantastic, he was early into his managerial career so maybe he was still learning but overall he was good”
WAW: When Keano left, how did things change under Steve Bruce?
KJ: “First we had a tough period under Rick (Sbragia), we were trying to be safe in the division, and under Steve it really wasn’t great.”
WAW: What was it like to play in a Tyne and Wear derby?
KJ: “Well coming to a club in the North East you quickly became aware of it’s history, and it was a game that needed no extra motivation. It’s probably one of the most intensive and exciting games of my career.”
WAW: What was your inspiration to go professional?
KJ: “Well it was a family thing, a part of my culture so it was one of the things I gravitated to. I didn’t start taking it seriously until I was about 15 and then it kicked off pretty rapidly from there. I went from being a schoolboy star on the youth national sides and making my first team debut aged 17, so from then on I had no other choice but to go for it!”
WAW: Who were you football heroes growing up?
KJ: “Well firstly, it was my dad, uncle, and my cousin; of course Carlos Edwards and I went to the same school, so he was a school hero for me. Stern John was a national hero as was Dwight (Yorke) so that goes without saying.”
I’d like to thank Kenwyne for taking the time to speak to me about his playing days at Sunderland. He most recently played in the MLS for Atlanta United, after enjoying spells at Stoke City, Cardiff City, Bournemouth, on loan, Al Jazira, on loan, and a loan spell at Central, a Trinidad and Tobago club in California, along with Stern John who is head coach. He has recently announced his retirement from football.
Kenwyne is a great guy and a really nice bloke who really values his time at the club and knew what it meant to be here. Good luck to him in his future endeavours.