When writing this week’s historical piece there wasn't a shortage of players to choose from, Stoke have had a number of our former players in their ranks at one time or another. In the end though I have chosen to go for Kenwyne Jones, a player I both loved and hated in equal measure.
On his day he was unplayable and could turn games in our favour, those days were unfortunately few and far between. There is no doubt he was naturally gifted but at times (a lot of times!) he was lazy and disinterested, it’s a real shame he has never fulfilled his potential either here or with Stoke.
Jones was one of Roy Keane's marquee signings on our return to the Premiership after going on strike at his former club Southampton, pushing the move to Wearside through. This should have given us a clue about the type of person he was, I never agree with players refusing to play for their club in an attempt to manoeuvre a move to a bigger club. We did end up signing him after a bit of a saga for around 6 million, a hefty fee for a lad from a lower league.
He chipped in with 7 goals in 33 appearances in his first season up here and while never prolific he was certainly talented. Then England captain John Terry praised him as the best in the league in the air after Chelsea narrowly beat us 1-0;
"Jones was fantastic and I have played against him twice now. He is a very good player. Very hard working and probably the best in the air in the entire Premier League. He really is that good.
All the lads are talking about him afterwards. How well he did and how impressive he was. If Sunderland can stay up and keep hold of him they have a fantastic chance of kicking on."
Jones ended his Sunderland career with 28 goals in a 101 appearances which isn't great considering how good I felt he could have been. That was before being shipped out by Steve Bruce who cited his frustration with the Caribbean;
“There has always been a frustration with me, and I think with supporters who have watched Kenwyne, that you see an abundance of talent but it has not come out often enough for us for whatever reason. “
Jones seems to have carried on in a similar vein since joining Stoke with 27 goals in 115 games. I really thought that the Stoke move could have been good for him given his ability in the air and the way Stoke played under Tony Pullis. Again though it seems like his lack of application has held him back and at the end of his career he will be dreaming of what could have been.
He was even heavily linked with Chelsea and Liverpool while at Sunderland but the move to a bigger club never came off. I really don't know if he would have been a success at either club being the enigma he is.
My fondest memory of him is tearing the Portsmouth defence apart in a 3-1 win at the Stadium of Light. He was unplayable that day and ran rings round a still in his prime Sol Campbell, finishing the game with a great goal and an assist for Kieran Richardson. Jones just highlights what having huge potential but no will to fulfil it can do, he will end his career as a mediocre player who should have been so much more.