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King career in ruins

Marlon King's football future is in tatters after he was jailed for 18 months for sexual assault and actual bodily harm. We look at the striker's fall from grace and examine his chances of playing again...

Last Updated: 30/10/09 8:20am

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King: will he be given yet another chance?

King: will he be given yet another chance?

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Marlon King's career is in tatters after he was jailed for 18 months for sexual assault and actual bodily harm.

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"I do personally regret the day... when we signed him I always thought his heart and soul wasn't in being a professional footballer."
Dave Whelan on Marlon King Quotes of the week

The striker will be past the 30 threshold when he is a free man again, something which will count against him should he attempt to continue in professional football.

As damaging, though, was a picture painted by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan of a player whose heart was not in the game.

Whelan immediately confirmed the club's intention to sack the striker and suggested the club had been very keen to sell King in the summer - but nobody would take him.

"This sets a very, very poor example," Whelan told Sky Sports News.

"I do personally regret the day... when we signed him I always thought his heart and soul wasn't in being a professional footballer.

"We loaned him out last year, we were trying to offload him this year and couldn't.

"I sat him down this year personally and said, 'Marlon, this is your last chance to get yourself into the game and be a professional footballer'."

One suspects this was not King's first final chance, as brushes with the law have blighted his career.

Jurors were told their 10-2 majority verdicts were but the latest from a string of courtroom appearances involving 13 other offences.

Roger Daniells-Smith, prosecuting, said that since the age of 17 the Jamaica international had found himself in the dock on no less than seven previous occasions.

They feature dishonesty, drink driving and other motoring offences, and violence against women.

Spitting

Only one, receiving a stolen £30,000 BMW resulted in prison - 18 months reduced to nine on appeal. Apart from a couple of community penalties, he was invariably fined.

The violence solely involved women, and included common assaults on two he chased through Soho with a belt wrapped round his fist in 2003.

Three years later he was convicted of threatening behaviour after slapping another woman on her bottom and head and then spitting at her when police arrived.

His first stint in prison interrupted what was a successful spell at Gillingham, where he moved after beginning his professional career at Barnet.

The Gills gave King another chance following his first stint in prison and he went on to earn a move to Nottingham Forest.

Perhaps the highlight of his career was helping Watford gain promotion in 2005/6 and performing well in his first Premier League season, showing good pace and finishing ability in a campaign hampered by injury.

After relegation with Watford, though, he could not replicate his success at Wigan, nor during loan spells at Hull City and Boro.

He has also courted controversy in an international career with Jamaica, earning a ban, later overturned, for an alleged breach of discipline in 2006.

His past undoubtedly makes him tainted goods although, should King decide to continue his career after serving his sentence, there will surely be a club willing to offer him yet another opportunity.

Then he will have to prove Whelan wrong and show he wants to succeed with all "his heart and soul".

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