Sam Greenhill, Daily Mail (London), October 30, 2009
Disgraced millionaire footballer Marlon King will be signed by another club when his jail sentence is finished, his agent insisted today.
The player was sacked by Wigan yesterday after being jailed for 18 months for groping a woman and then smashing her in the face after she rejected him.
But today his agent Tony Finnigan said that prison would change King for the better and that he would have good career prospects on release.
Mr Finnigan said: ‘I don’t want to name names but there are lots of players in this country who have fallen short of the law, done the crime, done the time, come out, and I’m sure if you’re sitting in a six by six you do have time to reflect on the change you make as a person in your life.
‘Forget about playing football here, just as a human being you’re going to be different.
‘He still will be a good goalscorer and I’m sure someone will want his signature to play football and do the job that he’s best at.’
Today it emerged that King has 13 previous convictions including theft, assaulting a police officer and wounding.
In a criminal career that ran parallel to his sporting one, the 29-year-old was given a succession of fines and community service orders–but only once was he actually jailed.
Yesterday he lost both his liberty and his job as a soccer player after a Southwark Crown Court jury found him guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and sexual assault by touching.
Within minutes of the verdict, he was sacked by his club Wigan Athletic.
Chairman Dave Whelan, who said he learned details of the trial only days ago, said: ‘He is absolutely sacked.
‘We will not tolerate football players who get sent to jail for 18 months.’
But the £40,000-a-week star will still earn earn another £228,000 from behind bars during a 40-day notice period.
King is now a convicted sex attacker who must sign the Sex Offenders Register.
That means that if the Jamaican international ever returned to football in Britain he would have to notify police of any intention to travel abroad for matches.
King had been on a boozy night out with friends in December last year to celebrate news that his wife was expecting their third child and to mark scoring a winning goal for Hull City, where he was on loan.
Just two days earlier he had been banned from driving for eight weeks after speeding at 106mph on a 60mph road.
Onlookers said he appeared to be drunk or on drugs as he tried to force his attentions on girls in the Soho Revue Bar in London’s West End.
When a 20-year- old student objected to him touching her bottom, King sneered: ‘Don’t you know who I am? I’m a millionaire.
‘You’re not even in my league.’
Minutes later, after the slightly-built woman tried to stop him touching her hair, he swung his fist and knocked her to the ground, breaking her nose.
The blow was so hard that two of her friends were knocked to the floor with her.
Yesterday, after the jury brought in 10-2 guilty verdicts, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith told King to pay his victim £3,125 compensation and £1,600 prosecution costs.
The player showed no reaction as he was convicted but sat open-mouthed as the judge told him: ‘You have shown not a hint of shame for your disgraceful and arrogant behaviour’.
As King’s victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, sat holding the hand of an aunt, the judge continued: ‘You broke her nose, and that can still be seen, and you cut her lip.
‘You are 29, you are just over six feet and you are a professional footballer.
‘She is a comparatively slight woman, just over five feet tall.’
As the sentence was delivered, several of King’s supporters stormed from court, swearing at the judge.
One screamed: ‘This is a clear case of institutional racism.
‘You should not be up there. . . . Up the National Front. Heil Hitler.’
[Editor’s Note: Read the earlier story about Marlon King’s attack on a small woman who rejected his sexual advances here.]