Vinnie Jones vs ZOO!

Hi, Vinnie! Are you doing anything particularly “Hollywood” right now?
Well, I’m filming The Tomb as we speak – with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.

Blimey! What’s that like?
It’s all right. Sly’s a great lad and loves his golf, and Arnie’s always cracking jokes. We have a laugh on set. I’ve worked with Bruce Willis too, and he’s great. But if you look at the Rocky and Rambo films, I think you’d have to say Sly’s the hardest. They’re all at the top of their genre, so I’d love to reach their level.

The Expendables 3, perhaps?
I can’t comment – I’ve been sworn to secrecy!

Noted. Are you happier as a Hollywood hardman or a hardman footballer?
Playing top-flight football was just as massive for me, really. I was labouring before Wimbledon came in for me, so that was everything at the time. As it was when I joined Leeds and then Chelsea. I’ve even got a Leeds tattoo on my ankle.

Now you’re mates with Brad Pitt, though…
He actually rang the house one day and asked me round for a game of poker, but I had a mate over from Watford at the time. He said, “That’s OK, bring him along, too!” So there we were playing poker with Brad Pitt, while he was serving Guinness from a tap in his back garden!

Nice! At the other end of the scale, do you keep in touch with your “Crazy Gang” buddies?
I spoke to Dennis Wise today, actually. And Wally Downes often comes out to do some coaching for my team, Hollywood Allstars.

What’s the maddest prank that sticks out in your mind from back in those days?
We were on a training camp in Portugal and wanted to use this dune buggy, but the owner wouldn’t let us. The morning we left, one of the lads got some bolt cutters, smashed the chain off and rolled it down the hill.

What happened?
We legged it onto the coach and watched as it sank into the pool. They tried to charge us for it, but we were like, “Yeah right. This is Wimbledon!” 

You still hold the record for the fastest-ever Premier League booking – after just three seconds! Do you think it will ever be beaten?
I don’t think anyone in the Premier League is that quick these days! It’s the one thing that stands out when you Google me, so the Americans love it. They’re like, [adopts American accent] “Oh my God, you got yellow carded after three seconds. How did you even do that?”

What do you say to people who used to criticise you for the image you had as a player?
Any of you got a lighter to light my cigar? I don’t need to say anything, really. When I’m riding my Harley Davidson down Rodeo Drive, I just smile instead.

Do you think Joey Barton – football’s current “bad boy” – will ever follow in your footsteps?
I did some ridiculous things, so I’m the last person who can make any comments about Joey Barton. He’s doing his thing, but with me it was one million per cent. I’d sacrifice myself for the team, the manager and the staff on and off the field. I think Joey is a bit more 50/50. It’s for him and the team.

OK, so what can you tell us about Vinnie Jones that the public perhaps wouldn’t expect?
I’m in the Pacific Sierra Southern California Fly Fishing Association. I go every other Thursday for the meetings. They’re all about the fishing, so they couldn’t give a sh*t that I’m there – apart from when I win the raffle!

And, lastly, have you seen Gazza recently?
Not for a while, but that’s because I’m in LA now. I’m still confronted with that picture most days, you know. Whenever I’m filming it’ll be up in the trailer and people are always bringing copies of it in. I’ve signed 200 today!

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