Leon Knight

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Leon Knight : biography

16 September 1982 –

Knight signed for Rushden & Diamonds on a three-year contract on 24 August 2008. but was transfer listed on 29 October, along with Lee Tomlin, Curtis Woodhouse, Andy Burgess, Phil Gulliver, Sagi Burton, Lee Phillips and Dean McDonald, after the club’s poor start to the season. On 12 December, Rushden & Diamonds confirmed that Knight had been sacked after continual breaches of conduct between November and December 2008. Despite his contract having been terminated, Rushden & Diamonds retained the players registration, preventing Knight from joining another English club until the term of his contract had expired, unless £30,000 in compensation was paid to the club. The FA confirmed and validated the retaining of the registration, meaning Knight could not play at any level of English football until the contract had expired. The contract had initially been due to expire following the 2009–10 season, but Rushden & Diamonds invoked a clause allowing them to extend the contract by a further year.

On 13 January 2009, Knight joined Greek club Thrasivoulos Filis on a six-month contract. He made his Super League debut on 25 January as a second half sub playing 20 minutes against Skoda Xanthi. Knight made only 2 subsequent appearances as a sub, his last appearance coming on 8 February 2009. Knight had not been involved in any game for the club in over 3 months and looked certain to leave Thrasivoulos when his contract expired at the end of the season. After his contract expired he went on trial with Major League Soccer side San Jose Earthquakes.

Knight joined Scottish side Hamilton Academical on 21 August 2009, and he made his SPL debut against Aberdeen as a second half substitute the following day. He made one start and six substitute appearances for the Lanarkshire side. BBC Sport, 19 January 2010 He was sent off for his role in a tunnel brawl after a win over Heart of Midlothian, having been an unused substitute during the game. BBC Sport, 6 December 2009 BBC Sport, 7 December 2009 Knight was later released by Hamilton on 14 January 2010. BBC Sport, 14 January 2010 The next day, Knight joined Dumfries club Queen of the South until the end of the season. He made his debut in a 1–1 draw with Dundee on 23 January. He was released at the end of the 2009–10 season, having made six league appearances for the club. In September 2010, Knight was set to return to English football with Conference side Darlington after a successful trial, but his transfer was blocked by previous club Rushden, who had held onto his registration and demanded £30,000 for the deal to be completed. Knight responded by criticising Rushden & Diamonds on his Twitter account, saying that he has chosen not to buy-out his contract as a matter of principle. "Rushden have said they don’t want the money from Darlington, they want it from me – I refuse to pay them out of principle. If I wanted I could raise the money and pay them but I don’t want to give them the satisfaction."

The following month, Knight elected to continue his career outside of England by signing for Northern Irish side Coleraine. He scored twice on his debut in a 2–1 win away to Glenavon on 16 October 2010. He agreed an 18-month contract extension with the club in January 2011, and finished the 2010–11 season with 14 league goals from 23 matches. In June, he went on trial with Swindon Town, but was released after two days because of insufficient fitness levels. "He’s not the player for us. It’s not his fault, we tried, but his fitness at the moment is not good," said Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio. "We are not in a position where we can wait for a player to be fit, we need a player to be ready and fit in the next two weeks, to compete and challenge during the season." Two weeks later, Knight was transfer-listed and suspended by Coleraine for failing to appear for training and matches. He also breached club rules by stating his desire to return to England and play for another IFA Premiership club. However, a fortnight later, Knight signed a new two-year contract with the club. "I said things about wanting to leave and at the time I felt it was right for me, but things change," he said. "I’ve spoken at great length with the manager over the last three or four days and I came back to him wanting to work something out. Agreeing a new two-year deal shows my commitment to the club and that I’m eager to put the last few weeks behind me."

In January 2012 however, Coleraine asked Knight to either live in Northern Ireland or pay his own travel costs, as he was still living in London and had to travel over to Northern Ireland for each game, which was costing Coleraine £1,000–£1,500 per month. An agreement could not be reached, and Knight joined Glentoran on 30 January 2012. His stay at Glentoran was relatively short lived, as the club released him in June 2012 when they invoked a probationary clause in his contract after he allegedly made homophobic comments on Twitter.