Controversy, hat-tricks, prison sentences, goals and more. The career of Marlon King had it all, and it all started in Barnet in 1998. He stayed there in London for 2 years before transferring to Gillingham at the turn of the millennium, this was where his career really kicked off as well as him picking up his first conviction. In 101 appearances he got 40 goals, a very impressive feat at such a young age. But then in May 2002 he picked up an eighteen month sentence for receiving stolen goods in relation to a BMW he was driving however was found not guilty of assaulting a police officer in a related event.
King got his ruling reduced to only 9 months thanks to the support of Gillingham, whom paid his salary throughout his his time in jail. After only serving 5 months he was released on license and returned to the Kent side within only 3 days. Back to the football and in 2003 Marlon was sold to Nottingham Forest for a fee close to £1 Million.
The first match after the death of Brian Clough was obviously an emotional one for Forest, they faced West Ham at the County Ground. King was really struggling to win over the fans but when he scored a winner in injury time the deed was done. From this moment onwards he was treated like a god. He didn't win over the then manager Gary Megson so was loaned out to Leeds where he failed to impress. It was on return when Watford approached Forest with a loan to buy offer, his 6-month loan spell was when he really started to excel scoring 12 in 21.
Watford excersised the clause so in January of 2006 he moved to Watford for a fee of half a million pounds. He went on to score 21 goals in the 05/06 season making him the Championship top goal scorer. They went on to finish 3rd but gained promotion to the Premier League via the play offs. He had a slow start with Watford in the top flight, getting injured for 6 months certainly didn't help the matter.
Back in the Championship he really began to storm it with Watford, scoring 10 in less than half the season, but in January he had a transfer arranged with Fulham which he failed. After being convicted in 2009 Roy Hodgson said that they "really dodged a bullet" by not signing him. Instead he made the switch to Wigan Athletic for £3 million with the potential of it rising to £4 million. Things really didn't work out for him here, he only scored 1 goal before getting loan spells to both Hull and Middlesbrough where he improved slightly but was nothing compared to his days at Watford and Gillingham.
Wigan cancelled King's contract after he was charged with sexual assault in October 2009 and ordered to serve 18 months in jail as well as being placed on the sex offenders register for 7 years. This was all because he allegedly punched a female university student in the face. Once again though he only served half because of good behaviour, meaning he was released in July 2010.
This is where we come in, Aidy Boothroyd invited him to train with us to get his fitness back. He impressed during this spell so in September of 2010 signed a 1-year contract. This was met with a lot of disapproval from most football fans, including Coventry. I will always remember the chants whilst he was here such as "She said no Marlon" and things similar. Whether you liked him or not, he scored goals for us whilst here, in my opinion he kept us up.
Reportedly he had verbally agreed a new deal with us in 2011 with his current contract about to expire. But on June 10th he signed a 3-year deal with Birmingham City leaving a lot of City fans hurt and angry with Marlon. As we had given him a chance and he had repaid us by leaving without telling Aidy Boothroyd. The following year you'll probably remember we got relegated. It's a case of what could have been if he had stayed, I'm confident we would have at the very least stated in the Championship for a couple more years.
Annoyingly, at Birmingham he did quite well early on, scoring 18 and assisting 12 in his first season. He got 9 in 9 in his second year but from here onwards he went on a huge downward spiral. Birmingham put him on the transfer list in January 2013 and cancelled his contract that August in an attempt to reduce the wage bill. Sheffield United was the last club he ever played for, he fell out of favour though when Nigel Clough took over. He scored just the 1 goal before being released in Decmber 2013. Throughout all of his career, he made 24 appearances for Jamaica scoring 12 goals.
This is where his football career ends, but by no means the story of Marlon King. Because just before signing with the Blades, he was arrested in connection with a hit and run incident. He pleaded not guilty with his trial in March 2014. The verdict was the opposite however and 6 weeks later was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the third time.
As for where he is now, well that's a tricky question. That may sound silly because that's the point of this post, but I've looked far and wide and can't find anything after him being sentenced in May 2014. Assuming he served his full term, he should have been released last November. I assume that is the case and he is trying to keep a low profile after having an eventful career to say the least.
Someone pointed it out to me that the career of Marlon King sounds very much like a soap opera, that's a very valid claim. I really think he could have been a very good consistent striker if he didn't have trouble with his knees. Another factor preventing him from excelling was his inability to stay out of trouble. He was a very clinical striker, there's no denying that, it's just a shame he couldn't go that little bit further. I'm not sure who the next former Sky Blue I will cover will be but look out that in the coming days, thanks for reading!