Vinnie Jones launched blistering attack on England as he snubbed UK: Past sell-by date

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Known as one of football’s greatest hardmen, Jones is set to star alongside sporting greats such as Eric Cantona and Alan Shearer on BBC Two’s Fever Pitch! The Rise of the Premier League tonight. He will detail his own journey in the four-part series, which explores how England’s top footballing division become the world’s greatest league. The show begins as England is gripped by a decline in interest for the beautiful game in the Eighties, before the reinvention of Division One into the Premier League in the early Nineties.

The Hertfordshire-born star, who has gone on to make a name for himself on screen, known for his gritty performances, played in the Premier League for current European champions Chelsea, as well as Wimbledon.

And although his career was built in England, the footballer admitted eight years ago he had no plans on returning to his homeland following his move to LA.

Jones, who won nine international caps for Wales, described England as “past its sell-by date”, before claiming the nation had welcomed too many immigrants into the country.

The Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels actor was living in LA after his film career erupted in the early Noughties, following his retirement from football.

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According to a 2013 Radio Times interview, Jones was not interested in returning.

He said: “There’s nothing to come back to here. To me, England is past its sell-by date.

“It’s not the country I grew up in. It’s a European country now.

“If someone blindfolded you and put you on a plane in LA, and you landed at Heathrow and they took it off, you wouldn’t have a clue where you were.”

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He added: “I just think we should get our own house in order before we open our doors. It’s mind-boggling to me.”

At the time, Jones was reportedly living next door to fabled Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino on Mulholland Drive.

But during the interview, which was conducted while he was in London, Jones said the weather in England was “depressing”, concluding: ” People say you can get bored of the sunshine in LA. No, you can’t.

“I play golf six days a week, and I’ve still got my football team, the Hollywood All-Stars. Those are my two main things.”

There were, however, certain things the FA Cup winner did miss from home – most notably baked beans and English humour.

The star explained: “We can get all that in LA, though you sometimes have to pay through the roof for it. A bottle of Ribena is $14 [£9].

“But I get my Walkers crisps delivered once a month.

“I have a box of Roast Chicken, a box of Salt and Vinegar, and a box of Monster Munch … and there’s more Premier League football on TV there than there is here.”

More recently, Jones appeared on ITV’s Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, where he opened up about the death of his wife Tanya in 2019.=

The couple had been childhood sweethearts, but Tanya was diagnosed with skin cancer.

By 2018 she was told it had spread to her brain.

A year later Jones was by Tanya’s side when she passed away.

Speaking to Morgan last year, the actor recalled their relationship, and was shown a clip of him talking about why he was destined to marry Tanya.

Following the excerpt, Morgan asked Jones: “Before that even came up, you were getting emotional there. Is it still unbearable almost, to see her?”

To which a tearful Jones replied: “No, I suppose it’s probably the memories…”

Fever Pitch! The Rise of the Premier League airs tonight on BBC Two from 9pm.

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