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Dwight Eversley Yorke (born 3 November 1971 in Canaan, Tobago) is a Trinidad and Tobago football player. He currently plays for Sunderland, having previously played for Aston Villa for most of his career, followed by stints with Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City and Sydney

Along with his compatriot Russell Latapy and Pat Jennings, the former Northern Ireland goalkeeper, Dwight Yorke holds the record number of participations in different World Cup competitions, including qualifying stages - six in total (1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010).

Dwight Yorke was nicknamed 'The Smiling Assassin'[1][2] because of his goal scoring abilities as well as the fact that he is constantly smiling.

Club career

Aston Villa

Dwight Yorke was first discovered by Graham Taylor, at the time the Aston Villa manager, on a tour of the West Indies in 1989. Yorke appeared in a team that played a friendly match against Aston Villa, Taylor was impressed and offered Yorke a trial at Villa. Yorke was subsequently given a permanent contract and he made his First Division debut for Aston Villa against Crystal Palace on 24 March 1990: the game ended 0-1.

During his time with Aston Villa, from 1989 to 1998, Yorke played initially as a right winger until the 1995-96 season, he then switched to centre forward and quickly established himself as one of the Premiership's top strikers. Yorke was an integral member of the Villa team that reached the League Cup Final in 1996. Villa won 3-0 with Yorke getting on the score sheet. On 30 September 1996 he scored a brilliant hat-trick against Newcastle United in a 4-3 defeat. Newcastle were leading 3-1 at half-time and Aston Villa were down to ten men, with Mark Draper being sent off late in the first half. Yorke showed great character in leading his team in a brave fight back by scoring two more goals in the second half to complete his hat-trick, although it was to no avail as Aston Villa still lost the game. Yorke scored a fourth goal to equalise the game at 4-all, only for his goal to be ruled offside. It was performances like this that led to interest from Manchester United in August 1998. Yorke appeared for Aston Villa on 231 occasions, scoring 97 times. He also has the distinct honour of being the last ever Villa player to score in front of the old Holte End standing terrace, notching both goals in a 2-1 victory on the final day of the 1993-94 season, 7 May 1994.

The circumstances of his departure from Aston Villa were very controversial; Manchester United were accused of making an illegal approach for the player. John Gregory, Aston Villa manager at that time, made it known that the club did not want to sell Yorke to Manchester United unless they were prepared to exchange Andy Cole, a striker at Manchester United. Yorke then approached Gregory to state that he wanted to leave the club, to which Gregory was famously attributed to saying that he would shoot Yorke if he had had a gun in his office. Yorke played in a match for Villa at Everton early in the season in August 1998, however it appeared he made no effort during the match as he was unhappy at not being allowed to leave the club. Aston Villa was left with no option but to sell the player and he was transferred to Manchester United for £12.6 million in August 1998. Despite spending 9 years at Villa he is disliked by some of its fans for his behaviour at the time he left the club and also because he later joined Birmingham City, the arch-rivals of Aston Villa, but he is also widely regarded in the hearts of Aston Villa fans as one of the clubs greatest ever goal scorers.

Manchester United

In his first three seasons, Yorke was a key player in guiding his club to three successive Premiership titles including a unique treble of the Premiership title, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, and at the same time forming an attacking partnership with Andy Cole in the 1998-1999 season. Yorke finished the season as the top league goalscorer. His partnership with Cole in United's treble winning 1999 season is reminiscent of the great Dalglish-Rush partnership in the eighties and with their demolition of Barcelona in the Champions League a key highlight. Yorke made, in total, 95 league appearances for Manchester United, scoring 47 goals.

However, in the 2001-02 season, Yorke lost his place in the line-up following the arrival of Ruud van Nistelrooy. It was also rumoured that Yorke had a fall-out with United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, following his much publicised relationship with British model Jordan. The following summer he was sold to Blackburn Rovers for £2 million.

Altogether he scored 64 goals for Manchester United in 188 appearances.

Blackburn Rovers

Yorke spent two years at Blackburn Rovers, where he rejoined his old United strike partner, Andy Cole, but never made the same impact that he made at United, there he fell out with manager Graeme Souness. It was rumoured that Souness, accusing him of not trying hard enough, hit Yorke with a tackle that could have broken his leg. Subsequently he joined Birmingham City in 2004 on a free transfer.

Birmingham City

Yorke started his Birmingham career well enough with a goal on his debut which went a long way in winning over skeptical fans owing to his lengthy association in the past with city rivals Aston Villa F.C.. However, Yorke ended up spending most of the remainder of his time at the club on the bench and was eventually released by Steve Bruce and was snapped up by Australian A-League team Sydney FC.

Sydney FC

By signing for Sydney FC, Yorke opted to continue his career in Australia for less money than might have been available in some other leagues, notably those in the Middle East (a common destination for aging stars seeking a lucrative final contract before retirement). Qatar's football league were most interested, but Yorke opted for the Australian club instead. He scored the first goal for Sydney FC in its first A-League regular season match, a diving header against the Melbourne Victory. Dwight Yorke came to Sydney FC with the biggest pedigree of all players in the new A-League, having won the treble with Manchester United. He signed for two years. Yorke scored 7 goals in the A-League, with three of them being from penalty kicks. Former Sydney FC coach Pierre Littbarski moved Yorke into a midfield role and went on to give him the team captaincy.

He played a major role in leading Sydney FC to victory in the inaugural A-League Grand Final on 5 March against regional rivals Central Coast Mariners. He set up the only goal, scored by Steve Corica, in front of a sell out crowd of over 41,000 at Aussie Stadium, and was awarded the Joe Marston Medal as best player in the grand final.

Yorke was the marquee player for Sydney FC - meaning that his salary fell outside the salary cap. He was also a star name for the A-League as a whole. Aside from his football talents, the drawing power and credibility he brought both locally and internationally proved to be beneficial for the competition in its inaugural season, leading the FFA to use his image and name for the promotion of the A-League's second season.

In June 2006, Yorke trained with Manchester United in a bid to achieve a higher level of fitness prior to the 2006 World Cup, although he was at that time contracted to Sydney FC. This was because the Australian season had already ended and pre-season training had not yet commenced.


On 31 August 2006, Yorke's transfer to Sunderland was announced. [1] The transfer for a fee of £200,000 (AU$ $500,000) re-united Yorke with ex-teammates Roy Keane, now manager of Sunderland and Andy Cole, signed in August 2006. Yorke made his debut in the home match against Leicester City and received a rapturous standing ovation from home fans when he came on as a substitute in the first half. He scored his first goal for Sunderland in the 2–1 loss against Stoke and has become accepted by the people of Sunderland, switching on the city's Christmas lights in 2006. He has recently been handed the number 19 shirt at Sunderland, the number which he wore at Manchester United and Sydney. On 2 January 2008, during his teams 1-0 defeat to Blackburn, Dwight Yorke was given a red card by referee Rob Styles, who booked Collins, Wallace and Higginbotham in the same match.

Dwight has been caught on record several times recently, stating he would like to return to the A-League, preferably Sydney FC. However following Sydney FC's recent signings, it seems very unlikely that Sydney would be able to fit him under the salary cap. For a time it seemed that Dwight would end up playing for rivals Central Coast Mariners, the team bankrolled by the man who brought him to Sydney, Peter Turnbull.[3]

On 11 March 2008, it was announced that The Mariners were in "Advanced Negotiations" with Dwight to become the marquee for two years.[4] However on 1 July 2008 Yorke signed a new one-year contract to stay with Sunderland for the 2008–09 season[5]. He demonstrated that he can still perform at the highest level with a man of the match performance[6] against Arsenal on 4 October 2008, a game which Sunderland drew 1–1 at home.

Following Roy Keane's departure from the post of Sunderland manager in December 2008, Yorke and Neil Bailey were named as assistants to caretaker manager Ricky Sbragia.[7]

International career

Yorke has been capped 59 official times for the Trinidad and Tobago national team, scoring 26 goals, but has played over 100 matches for T&T that were not recognised as international friendlies. He retired from international football in 2001 with his friend Russell Latapy after a disagreement with the side's coach; however he returned to the team for the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, in which the team qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time in their history after a 2-1 aggregate qualifying victory over Bahrain.

Yorke announced his retirement from international football in March 2007, choosing to focus on his club career at Sunderland AFC.[8] He captained the side in Germany, and up until his retirement. However, he made a guest return appearance for a friendly against England in June 2008 after being invited by FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.[9]

On 10 July 2008, the TTFF announced Dwight's return to the national team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign[10].

On 15 October 2008, he scored his first international goal after returning from retirement against the United States in a 2010 World Cup Qualification match. The game ended 2-1 for Trinidad and Tobago. His goal was a crucial tie-breaker scored in the 79th minute, which put Trinidad and Tobago in a great situation to advance to the next qualifying stage, needing only a tie against Cuba in their final game.

Life outside football

He was once in a much-publicised relationship with the British Page Three model Jordan, and has a son with her named Harvey who suffers from autism. Yorke disputed paternity until Jordan's claims were proven by a DNA test.[11]

The Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago, constructed for the 2001 U-17 World Cup, was named in Yorke's honour.

Dwight Yorke is also a cricket fan. One of Yorke's closest friends is fellow countryman Brian Lara, who is currently the second highest run scorer in test match cricket. During the 1999 Cricket World Cup, Yorke made regular appearances bringing on drinks for the West Indies cricket team. Yorke's older brother, Clint Yorke, is a former first class cricketer who has represented Trinidad and Tobago as an opening batsman. [2]

He was said to have been dating former Miss Wales and Big Brother UK 2006 contestant Imogen Thomas. She reportedly finished her relationship with Yorke because "he was no longer famous enough".[3]

Yorke featured extensively in an episode of Australia's The Biggest Loser TV show, which aired 28 February 2006. The episode involved Yorke coaching the "red team" of contestants while they competed against the "blue team" in a game of football. Mark Rudan, Yorke's Sydney FC team-mate, was the manager of the "blue team".

For his contribution to the national team in the 2006 FIFA World Cup he was made a Sports Ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago.


Aston Villa

  • Football League Cup: 1994, 1996

Manchester United

  • Premier League: 1998–99, 1999–00, 2000–01
  • FA Cup: 1999
  • UEFA Champions League: 1999
  • Intercontinental Cup: 1999

Sydney FC

  • A-League: 2005–06


  • Football League Championship: 2006–07


  • Joe Marston Medal: 2005-06

References and Notes

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