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Marlon King
Position: Striker
From: Nottingham Forest - on loan (but we can have him if we've got half a million) - July 2005
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: Forest's loss


Don't you just love it when you sign a player who seems to have lost his way, yet turns out to be an absolute nugget? Early days yet, of course, (as I write this in October 2005) but Marlon King could turn out to be a very, very good acquisition.

His early career was spent playing for his local team, Dulwich Hamlet, before moving into league football with Barnet. Andy Hessenthaler obviously had his eye on him as he joined Gillingham for 250,000 on Hessy's first day in the job in June 2000 though he had been hardly whilst at the Bees. Indeed, it took until November before he scored his first before going on to score fifteen goals in the remaining twenty-eight games that season. Twenty goals followed the next season before his, errrr, sabbatical.

In May 2002 he was sentenced to eighteen months in prison for handling stolen goods after being caught with a BMW, which he claimed he hadn't realised was stolen and he just thought 15,000 was a good price. After five months inside (handily most of it during the summer) he returned to action at the end of October and continued his scoring form, hitting another seven in twelve before getting injured.

Obviously Marlon's strike rate was going to attract the attention of "The Big Boys" and they don't come much bigger than Nottingham Forest (ahem). In November 2003, Paul Hart shelled out 950,000 for him and the rest is history. Yes, six goals in twenty-six and, all of a sudden, he wasn't looking such a good buy for Forest.

Meanwhile, international football beckoned. Despite researching the possibility of playing for The Republic of Ireland, he found himself selected to play for Jamaica in April 2004, scoring just eight minutes into his debut against Venezuela, and he now has twelve caps and seven goals to his name (including a hat-trick against Haiti). At the end of the year he was the only footballer to be short-listed for the Jamaican Sportsman of the Year alongside cricketer Chris Gayle and sprinter Asafa Powell, amongst others.

2004-5, and five league goals in the season weren't ever going to help Forest stay up. After relegation, the need to cut costs, plus the fact that Megson was apparently not much of a King fan meant that he was on his way again, his departure not exactly mourned by the Forest fans.

Which, of course, is where we come in. The third of Adrian Boothroyd's summer signings (after those of Martin Devaney and Jordan Stewart), King came to us on a rather unusual loan-but-you-can-have-him-if-you-like-him deal where we have to stump up a fee (rumoured to be around half a million) should we wish to make the deal permanent after six months. And I think we really would like to make the deal permanent please, if we can get over the small hurdle of the money. Maybe he didn't like the Midlands, or maybe he just had a bad run of form but he now appears to be back to his best, scoring six in nine and looking damn good.

I would urge the board to check down the side of their sofas in the hope of finding the odd hundred thousand. Come the New Year we'd rather like to see him as a 100% permanent Hornet.

Ed Sleath
Last updated: October 2005