If someone looks up the definition of a rags to riches story, a picture of Jamie Vardy pops up. The Englishman began his career with non-league club Stocksbridge Park Steels, after being cut from boyhood club Sheffield Wednesday at the age of 16. He would work in a factory as a carbon fibre technician while playing football (or soccer) matches in the night.
’We had to do a lot of heavy lifting into ovens and the shelves we had to put items on were way above my height. When you have to do that on a daily basis and you are lifting about 100 times a day it damages your back so it was time to stop. It didn’t stop me playing football. If anything it was playing football the night before and then ringing up work the next day and saying I was injured to get off work, to be honest’ – Vardy
He even had to wear an ankle tag for six months after being convicted for assault, which in reality was him defending a deaf friend from a group of thugs in a pub. Jamie Vardy is a fucking good friend. After impressing with Stocksbridge, he would move to non-league club FC Halifax, then Fleetwood Town, who were looking to get promoted to League Two.
During this time in non-league football, we would be introduced to Vardy’s signature catch phrase, which would rise up even more a few years later.
After scoring 31 goals in 36 games for Fleetwood, he would be snapped up by Leicester, who were in the Championship at the time, for £1 million. This was a record signing for someone in non-league football, and even for 1 mil, it was seen as a massive gamble. He struggled to adapt in his first year in the 2012-2013 season, but he stuck with it in his next season, scoring 16 goals and being named Leicester’s player of the year as they were promoted to the Premier League.
Vardy heated up late into Leicester’s first season back in the Prem, as they were making a spectacular great escape from the relegation zone. But everything would cultivate into Leicester’s historic, fairy tale season in 2015-2016.
The former non-league reject would break Dutch legend Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record of consecutive games with a goal, with 11 games. He even fucking did it against Rudd’s former team. Manchester United. Legend. He would become the villain of the Premier League, pissing off all of the big teams more and more with each goal. He would finish the year 2nd in the Golden Boot race, tied with Sergio Aguero with 24 and one behind fellow English breakout star Harry Kane, and of course, he finished as a Premier League champion.
With Leicester now an upper echelon Premier League team, Vardy is far from done, even at his older age of 33. His pace and positioning still frighten defenders, as seen this year with his 19 goals this year. A Champions League Vardy party beckons yet again. Best £1 million spent, ever.