Regtransfers.co.uk: The World of Personal Number Plates has interviewed many sports stars and people from the entertainment world, but the chance to speak with someone who combines a current Hollywood film career with earlier fame as a successful premier league footballer and international team captain… Well, let’s just say that opportunities of that sort are few and far between. So, the reader can probably understand how delighted we were when X-Men starVinnie Jones told us he was happy to appear in the magazine.
Vinnie’s 2006 role, as Juggernaut, the massively destructive super villain in X-Men: The Last Stand, introduced him to a whole new audience. The subject matter, and the ‘12’ certificate the movie was given for its UK release, appealed to a market that may not have had the chance, or the inclination, to see his earlier outings, many of which were‘18’ certificate crime capers.
Slightly more mature filmgoers, however, will be familiar with Jones’s early roles in Guy Ritchie’sLock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. These are also the people who are likely to remember his soccer career, and the controversial ‘hard-man’ label that made the move into tough-guy movie parts such a logical one.
As a professional footballer, Vinnie Jones played for Wimbledon (as part of their 1988 FA Cup winning team), Leeds United, Sheffield United and Chelsea, finally retiring from the game at the end of a period spent as player/coach with QPR. His playing style was determined and uncompromising, and he became known as much for the controversy that constantly surrounded him as for any technical ability he may have shown. His approach often resulted in his being booked or sent off, however, the period he spent at Leeds United showed that he could also put up a good account of himself without resorting to the aggressive tactics that had so often brought him into conflict with officials. Vinnie also earned nine caps with the Welsh national team, which he eventually captained against Holland.
In 1992, he presented a video entitled Soccer’s Hard Men, which featured archive footage of Vinnie and other aggressive players. His involvement incurred the strong disapproval of the FA, who claimed he had brought the game into disrepute: a charge that carried a hefty fine.
Since leaving football, Vinnie has made more than 60 television and film appearances, with many more projects either in progress or at advanced planning stages. Most of his screen work has, at least in part, reflected the tough reputation he developed during his football career: nevertheless, there is a lighter side to Vinnie Jones – even, dare we say, a sense of humour.
Vinnie and fellow tough-guy actor Ross Kemp sent themselves up in a well-received episode of Ricky Gervais’s sitcom Extras. The two faced each other in a brilliantly conceived confrontation scene, and showed that they were more than able to laugh at themselves and the stereotype characters for which they have been known.
That hint of a humorous side was very reassuring to our team when they visited Vinnie at his home in Hertfordshire. He had set aside a morning for us, shortly after his return from Ireland, where he had finished filming Mark Mahon’s boxing drama Strength and Honour, and shortly before he was due to fly to LA to discuss forthcoming movies.
We were aware that Vinnie had bought a few personalised number plates (hence the request for the interview), but we were still surprised when we discovered how many of his family members have personal registrations displayed on their vehicles. “I just think they’re brilliant,” he says. “Ones that spell words, ones with your initials… they’re great. A good plate is the business. It’s handy that you can cover the age of a car with a dateless plate as well. If I see something like a new Bentley with bog standard plates, I just think it’s wrong. I mean, why go half way? A good car needs a good number. They’re unique aren’t they? And they reflect your identity and become a part of you. I’m surprised more people don’t know how easy it is to get one. I got one for my mum from you guys about ten days ago, and it’s already on the car.
“I have 100 VJ on my car. My son says it stands for 100% Vinnie Jones. My wife, Tanya, has 99 TJ. I’ve also bought plates for my mum and Tanya’s mum, and I got one for my dad, who thinks it’s great. Now I’m looking for one for my son.” Vinnie recently acquired a registration for his daughter from Regtransfers. “Kaley has 75 KJ. I got that for the car I bought for her 17th birthday.”
Kaley’s MG car was significantly customised by the manufacturer to suit their requirements. So much so, Vinnie says, that: “On the log book it says ‘1 of 1’.”
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