The Huddersfield Town Supporters’ Association (HTSA) would like to pay tribute to former Town player Jamie Vincent, who played for the club between 1999 and 2001, and sadly passed away yesterday at the age of 46.
Born in Wimbledon, South London, in 1975, Jamie Roy Vincent (Heritage Number 702) started his professional football career down the road at Crystal Palace in 1993. He moved to AFC Bournemouth three years later, where he would play over a hundred games in the Cherries’ defence.
Signing for Town under Jackson
After impressing on the South Coast, Vincent signed for Peter Jackson’s Huddersfield Town side for £500,000 on 25th March, 1999. At the time of his arrival, Town were in the second tier and, with a recent cash injection from new owner Barry Rubery, hoping to mount a credible promotion challenge. Acquiring players of Vincent’s calibre, and for such a fee, was a clear indicator of the club’s ambition.
Although they’d topped the division earlier in the season, Town were on a poor run of form with just two wins in their previous 14 games. It was hoped that Vincent, and other new arrival Craig Armstrong, could help them out of this slump. Sadly, Town limped on through the rest of 1999-2000, finishing 10th, after chalking up just three wins in their last 20 games. Despite playing out the remainder of the season for Town, Vincent still made it into the PFA Division Two Team of the Year for Bournemouth.
Playing Under Bruce
Peter Jackson was sacked at the end of that season, and after just two months at the club, Vincent found himself playing under a new manager, Steve Bruce, who arrived from Sheffield United in May 1999. Rubery’s open chequebook brought Chris Lucketti, Kenny Irons, George Donis, Scott Sellars, Chris Beech, Dean Gorre, and Clyde Wijnhard to the club over the summer. Vincent kept his place in the side, with Bruce opting for him over the long-serving Rob Edwards. He’d already followed two very good left-backs in Edwards and Tom Cowan, but soon made the position his own.
Up until the David Wagner era, Town fans would often describe the 1999-2000 season as one of the most entertaining periods in living memory, lamenting the failure of Bruce’s side to achieve the success it perhaps deserved. Indeed, for a spell, Town looked likely to gain promotion, dismantling teams in the league and topping it in December 1999. Unfortunately, they fell away in the opening months of the new millennium, dropping out of the playoffs after a final day defeat away at Fulham.
Even so, Vincent delighted the fans with his classy performances on the left, prompting Bruce to comment that he ought to be playing for England. And at various points during that season he was linked with moves away to the Premier League, with rumours of Arsenal, Everton, and Middlesbrough all being interested. In his only full season at the McAlpine, he clearly impressed the supporters and his fellow players, too, winning the Supporters' Club and Players' Player of the Year Awards.
The Macari Months
After such a near-miss, many were expecting more of the same for 2000-01. It didn’t really work out as Town managed just one win in the first 19 games of the season. Bruce was sacked in October, with Town rock bottom of Division One and relegation looking likely. Lou Macari was tasked with arresting the slide, which he duly did.
At the same time, Rubery began to get cold feet, reducing his funding accordingly. Regrettably, Vincent was a victim of this newfound frugality. Despite wanting to stay put, he was sold to Steve Claridge’s Portsmouth for £800,000 in February of 2001. Town might have needed the money, but the squad was left poorer for the decision.
In the end, Vincent played 66 games and scored two goals during his two years at the club, becoming a fans’ favourite in the process. He quickly became an integral part of Bruce’s side and was considered to be a cultured player who could defend as well as he could attack. He was also renowned for his set-pieces (including scoring a spectacular free-kick away at Port Vale in 2000) and fondly remembered for playing with his arm in a cast for a number of months during the 2000-01 season.
Life After Town
By March, Town had failed to win any of their last seven games and had crashed back down to the foot of the table. Notwithstanding a valiant effort from Macari and the players, they were cruelly relegated on the final day of the season after every possible result went against them. One of the teams that survived was Vincent’s new club, just one point above Town in 20th place.
Vincent’s time at Portsmouth saw his opportunities limited, but he is perhaps best remembered at Fratton Park for scoring a spectacular goal in a 4-1 victory over Barnsley. He played 49 games for Pompey, netting once, and was part of the squad that was promoted to the Premier League under Harry Redknapp after winning the 2002-03 First Division championship. He didn’t make an appearance in the Premier League and moved to Derby County in January 2004, after spending a short time on loan at Walsall. Spells at Millwall, Yeovil Town, Swindon Town, Walsall, Aldershot Town followed before he ended his playing days at Didcot Town in 2012.
With the outpouring of sadness from teammates and fans of all the clubs he played for, it’s clear that Jamie Vincent endeared himself to them all and will be hugely missed. And from the many comments from Town fans, it’s obvious that he was much beloved during his time at Huddersfield and is regarded as one of the club’s best modern left-backs.
Jamie Vincent passed away on Tuesday at the age of just 46. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this terrible time.