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Terry Pierce - Marlon King returns to the last-chance saloon

Published: 21 Sep 2010 - 06:56:35

Yesterday Coventry City completed one of the more controversial signings this season when former Watford, Wigan and Nottingham Forest striker Marlon King put pen to paper on a one-year deal.

King has only recently left prison after being jailed for 18 months for sexual assault and the resumption of his career will split the opinion of football fans up and down the country.

He is clearly a talented guy and has enjoyed fantastic scoring spells at some of his previous clubs - most noticeably at Watford, where he scored 21 goals, securing himself the Championship golden boot and his club a place in the top flight.

But there has always been a darker side to the Jamaican as well. His conviction for sexual assault in a London club was the fourteenth offence he had faced, ranging from dishonesty and drink-driving to violence against women.

And his recent spell inside wasn’t his first stay at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

So does a 30-year-old man with a string of criminal convictions deserve a career in football, and the cash and privileges it brings?

There is no doubting he is troubled, and that the excesses that success in football has given him haven’t helped but like any other criminal, he has served the time dished out to him and is now free to work.

And, like any other criminal, if he can find an employer willing to employ him irrelevant of his past then there is no reason whatsoever for him not to accept that role.

So the spotlight should then focus on the employer, in this case Aidy Boothroyd's side.

On the one hand, they are handing a guy with serious discipline issues both in and out of football a lucrative contract, further feeding King’s ego and wallet, while potentially alienating their fan base and opening themselves up to criticism from across the game.

But from footballing and business reasons, they are getting a very good player for very little money.

Boothroyd has commented that his side is getting a five-million-pound striker for nothing and while that may be an exaggeration of King's talent and the general market, you can see his point.

I don't like the idea of him resuming his career but fully understand there is no legal reason for him not to and he was always going to get a club.

However, I sincerely hope that King has found a sense of humility and privilege inside.

He's had a career thousands could only dream of and has been given another chance to extend his time in the game.

But if he doesn't realise how lucky he is he may well throw it all away again, and next time someone might not be quite so willing to give him a second (or third, or fourth) chance.

Marvellous Mackie proving a steal

In the summer even the most ardent of football league fan wouldn't have blinked twice at the news that Jamie Mackie had moved from Plymouth to QPR for a cut-price fee.

But the former Surrey-born striker has got off to an absolute flyer for his new side, scoring eight times in just seven games.

Amidst the big-money moves in pre-season, Mackie headed to Rangers for a fee believed to be around £500,000.

Without doubt the bargain of the season so far.

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:terry pierce
Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.

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