Dwight Eversley Yorke CM (born 3 November 1971) is a Trinidadian and Tobagonian former professional footballer. Throughout his club career, he played for Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Sydney and Sunderland, mainly as a forward, between 1988 and 2009. He was the assistant manager of the Trinidad and Tobago national team until the completion of the qualifying matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Yorke scored 123 goals in the Premier League, a record for a non-European which was not broken until Sergio Agüero in 2017.
Yorke in 2012
|Full name||Dwight Eversley Yorke|
|Date of birth||3 November 1971|
|Place of birth||Canaan, Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|1988–1989||Signal Hill Comprehensive School|
|1989–2009||Trinidad and Tobago||72||(19)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
At international level, Yorke represented Trinidad and Tobago on 74 occasions between 1989 and 2009, scoring 19 goals. He helped his nation reach the semi-finals of the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and also helped Trinidad and Tobago to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the first time in its history, later representing his national side in the final tournament in 2006.
Yorke was first discovered by Graham Taylor, at the time the Aston Villa manager, on a tour of the West Indies in 1989. Yorke, aged 17, appeared in a team that played a friendly match against Aston Villa, Taylor was impressed and offered Yorke a trial at Villa. Yorke was subsequently given a permanent contract and played for the Villa Reserve and Youth sides for the majority of the 1989-90 season, making his First Division debut for Aston Villa against Crystal Palace on 24 March 1990: Crystal Palace won the game 1–0. During his time with Aston Villa, from 1989 to 1998, Yorke played initially as a right winger until the 1995–96 season, he then switched to centre forward and quickly established himself as one of the Premier League's top strikers.
Yorke was an integral member of the Villa team that reached the League Cup Final in 1996. Villa won 3–0 against Leeds United with Yorke getting on the scoresheet. On 30 September 1996 he scored a hat-trick against Newcastle United in a 4–3 defeat. Newcastle were leading 3–1 at half-time and Aston Villa were down to ten men, with Mark Draper being sent off late in the first half. Yorke showed great character in leading his team in a brave fight back by scoring two more goals in the second half to complete his hat-trick, although it was to no avail as Aston Villa still lost the game. Yorke thought he had scored a fourth goal to equalise the game at 4–4, only for it to be ruled offside. It was performances like this that led to interest from Manchester United in August 1998. Yorke appeared for Aston Villa on 284 occasions, scoring 97 times. He also has the distinct honour of being the last Villa player to score in front of the old Holte End standing terrace, notching both goals in a 2–1 victory on the final day of the 1993–94 season, 7 May 1994.
The circumstances of his departure from Aston Villa were controversial. John Gregory, Aston Villa manager at that time, made it known that the club did not want to sell Yorke to Manchester United unless they were prepared to exchange striker Andy Cole. Yorke then approached Gregory to state that he wanted to leave the club, to which Gregory was later attributed as saying that he would have shot Yorke if he had had a gun in his office. Yorke played for Villa on the opening day of the season at Everton on 15 August 1998, however it appeared he made no effort during the match as he was unhappy at not being allowed to leave the club. Villa were left with no option but to sell the player and he was transferred to Manchester United for £12.6 million on 20 August 1998.
In his first season Yorke was a key player in guiding his club to a unique treble of the Premier League title, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, and forming a legendary partnership with Andy Cole. Yorke finished the season as the top league goalscorer with 18 goals and contributed goals against Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Internazionale, and Juventus in the Champions League, and he won the Premier League Player of the Season. Yorke was also a regular member of United's 1999–2000 title winning team, contributing 23 goals in all competitions.
Despite a less successful third season personally, Yorke scored a hat-trick in the top of the table clash with Arsenal as United went on to win a third successive title. In January 2002 a move to Middlesbrough fell through. He played his last game for United that month, and was not issued a squad number for the 2002–03 season. Altogether he scored 65 goals for Manchester United in 152 appearances.
In July 2002, Yorke moved to Blackburn Rovers for an initial £2 million, potentially rising to £2.6 million; United had wanted a fee of £6 million. He was signed to cover the long absence of Matt Jansen from a traffic accident, and was reunited with his former United strike partner Andy Cole.
Yorke scored 13 goals in all competitions in his first season at Ewood Park, including the winner on 26 October 2002 as Rovers won 2–1 at reigning champions Arsenal. The following 4 January on his return to Villa Park, he scored twice in a 4–1 win in the FA Cup third round. On 11 May, in the last game of the season, he opened a 4–0 win at Tottenham Hotspur as Blackburn beat Everton to sixth place and UEFA Cup qualification.
On 31 August 2004, transfer deadline day, Yorke moved to Birmingham City on a one-year deal with the option of a second. Instead of a loan to Celtic, he chose to join Birmingham for a "substantial but undisclosed fee". It was later reported as £250,000.
Yorke scored on his home debut for Birmingham in a 1–1 draw against Charlton Athletic, netting the equaliser seven minutes after replacing Clinton Morrison. He scored again against Graeme Souness's Newcastle on 3 October. However, Yorke fell out of favour at St Andrew's and was released by mutual consent in April 2005.
Yorke immediately signed for Sydney FC, with a salary of $1 million a season. He scored the first goal for Sydney FC in its first A-League regular season match, a diving header against the Melbourne Victory. Yorke came to Sydney FC with the biggest pedigree of all players in the A-League, having won the treble with Manchester United. Yorke scored 7 goals in the A-League, with three of them being from penalty kicks. Sydney FC coach Pierre Littbarski moved Yorke into a midfield role and gave him the team captaincy.
He played a major role in leading Sydney FC to victory in the inaugural A-League Grand Final on 5 March against regional rivals Central Coast Mariners. He set up the only goal, scored by Steve Corica, in front of a sell out crowd of over 41,000 at Aussie Stadium, and was awarded the Joe Marston Medal as best player in the grand final. Yorke was the marquee player for Sydney FC – meaning that his salary fell outside the salary cap. He was also a star name for the A-League as a whole. Aside from his footballing talents, the drawing power and credibility he brought both locally and internationally proved to be beneficial for the competition in its inaugural season, leading the FFA to use his image and name for the promotion of the A-League's second season.
Yorke returned to Sydney FC to take part in a friendly against Everton in 2010. The game was considered his 'farewell game' as he never had the chance to say a proper farewell to the fans at Sydney FC. Everton won the match 1–0, and Yorke was substituted midway through the second half.
On 31 August 2006, Yorke's transfer to Sunderland was announced. The transfer for a fee of £200,000 (A$ $500,000) re-united Yorke with ex-teammate Roy Keane, manager of Sunderland. Yorke made his debut in the home match against Leicester City and received a rapturous standing ovation from home fans when he came on as a substitute in the first half. Yorke was used as a defensive midfielder rather than his usual striker role. He scored his first goal for Sunderland in the 2–1 loss against Stoke and was accepted by the people of Sunderland, switching on the city's Christmas lights in 2006. He was handed the number 19 shirt at Sunderland, the number which he wore at Manchester United and Sydney.
On 2 January 2008, during Sunderland's 1–0 defeat to Blackburn, Yorke was given a red card by referee Rob Styles. Yorke stated several times he would like to return to the A-League, preferably Sydney FC. However, following Sydney FC's signings at the time it seemed unlikely that Sydney would have been able to fit him under the salary cap. It was reported that Yorke play for rivals Central Coast Mariners, the team bankrolled by the man who brought him to Sydney, Peter Turnbull.
On 11 March 2008, it was announced that the Mariners were in "advanced negotiations" with Yorke to become the marquee for two years. However, on 1 July he signed a new one-year contract to stay with Sunderland for the 2008–09 season. He was named man of the match for his performance against Arsenal on 4 October 2008, with Sunderland drawing 1–1 at home. Following Keane's departure in December 2008, Yorke and Neil Bailey were named as assistants to Ricky Sbragia. Yorke was released at the end of the 2008–09 season.
Yorke has completed his Level B coaching badge, and in 2010 was quoted as being interested in pursuing a career in coaching, ideally with Aston Villa. On 17 April 2011 he completed the London Marathon in a time of 3 hours and 32 minutes. On 14 August 2011, Yorke signed a two-year deal to work for Sky Sports as a pundit.
Yorke was capped 72 official times for the Trinidad and Tobago national team, scoring 19 goals, but has played over 100 matches for T&T that were not recognised as international friendlies. Along with his friend Russell Latapy, Yorke was a member of the 1989 'Strike Squad', the national team which narrowly failed to qualify for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He retired from international football in 2001 after a disagreement with the side's coach; however he returned to the team for the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, in which the team qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time in their history after a 2–1 aggregate qualifying victory over Bahrain.
Yorke was captain for all of Trinidad and Tobago's games at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and was Man of the Match in the 0–0 draw against Sweden, pipping his close friend Shaka Hislop to the honour despite the then West Ham goalkeeper making several world-class saves. He was one of six players in the Trinidad squad (the others being Brent Sancho, Dennis Lawrence, Chris Birchall, Carlos Edwards and Stern John) to have played every minute of the campaign. Yorke was rated the best defensive midfielder in the opening stages of the World Cup.
Yorke announced his retirement from international football in March 2007, choosing to focus on his club career at Sunderland. He captained the side in Germany, and up until his retirement. However, he made a guest return appearance for a friendly against England in June 2008 after being invited by FIFA vice-president Jack Warner. On 10 July 2008, the TTFF announced Yorke's return to the national team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.
On 15 October 2008, he scored his first international goal after returning from retirement against the United States in a 2010 World Cup Qualification match. The game ended 2–1 for Trinidad and Tobago. His goal was a crucial tie-breaker scored in the 79th minute, which put Trinidad and Tobago in a great situation to advance to the next qualifying stage, needing only a tie against Cuba in their final game. On 11 February 2009, Yorke scored a 26th-minute penalty for his country, but was sent off in the dying seconds of Trinidad and Tobago's opening match of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Fourth Round against El Salvador (2–2) after exchanging heated remarks with Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodríguez (the Trini star had voiced his disapproval of the disruptions caused by the home crowd) and was consequently banned for four games due to his use of abusive language. The suspension was later reduced to two matches.
After being released from Sunderland and being unable to find a club before the end of the current transfer window, Yorke retired from football altogether in September 2009, and took up the post of assistant manager with the Trinidad and Tobago national team.
Yorke was once in a brief relationship with former model and writer Katie Price; they have a son, Harvey, who is autistic, partially blind and has the genetic disorder Prader–Willi syndrome. In an interview, Yorke conceded being unfaithful to Price during their relationship, and subsequently playing no role in the upbringing of their son.
The Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago, constructed for the 2001 U-17 World Cup, was named in Yorke's honour. Yorke is a cricket fan. One of Yorke's closest friends is Brian Lara. During the 1999 Cricket World Cup, Yorke made regular appearances bringing on drinks for the West Indies cricket team. Yorke's older brother, Clint Yorke, is a former first-class cricketer who has represented Trinidad and Tobago as an opening batsman.
Yorke featured extensively in an episode of Australia's The Biggest Loser, which aired on 28 February 2006. The episode involved Yorke coaching the "red team" of contestants while they competed against the "blue team" in a game of football. Mark Rudan, Yorke's Sydney FC teammate, was the manager of the "blue team".
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Aston Villa||1989–90||First Division||2||0||0||0||—||—||0||0||2||0|
|Manchester United||1998–99||Premier League||32||18||8||3||0||0||11||8||—||51||29|
|Blackburn Rovers||2002–03||Premier League||33||8||3||3||4||2||3||0||—||43||13|
|Birmingham City||2004–05||Premier League||13||2||1||0||2||0||—||—||16||2|
|Trinidad and Tobago||1989||10||2|
|1||9 July 1989||Bridgetown, Barbados||Grenada||2–1||Win||1989 Caribbean Championship|
|3||21 May 1993||Montego Bay, Jamaica||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||4–1||Win||1993 Caribbean Cup|
|4||23 June 1996||Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Dominican Republic||8–0||Win||1998 World Cup Qualifier|
|5||15 February 2000||Los Angeles, United States||Guatemala||4–2||Win||2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup|
|6||7 May 2000||Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Haiti||3–1||Win||2002 World Cup Qualification|
|7||19 May 2000||Port-au-Prince, Haiti||Haiti||1–1||Draw||2002 World Cup Qualification|
|8||8 July 2000||Port of Spain||Jamaica||2–4||Loss||Friendly|
|10||16 July 2000||Edmonton, Canada||Canada||2–0||Win||2002 World Cup Qualification|
|11||16 August 2000||Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Panama||6–0||Win||2002 World Cup Qualification|
|13||23 June 2001||Hamilton, Bermuda||Bermuda||5–0||Win||Friendly|
|14||28 February 2006||London, England||Iceland||2–0||Win||Friendly|
|16||7 October 2006||Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||5–0||Win||Friendly|
|17||15 October 2008||Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||United States||2–1||Win||2010 World Cup Qualification|
|18||19 November 2008||Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Cuba||3–0||Win||2010 World Cup Qualification|
|19||11 February 2009||San Salvador, El Salvador||El Salvador||2–2||Draw||2010 World Cup Qualification|
- Premier League: 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01
- FA Cup: 1998–99
- UEFA Champions League: 1998–99
- Intercontinental Cup: 1999
- A-League: 2005–06
Trinidad and Tobago
- Caribbean Cup: 1989
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