Kightly playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2007.
|Full name||Michael John Kightly|
|Date of birth||24 January 1986|
|Place of birth||Basildon, England|
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
(on loan from Stoke City)
|2004–2005||→ Farnborough Town (loan)||11||(0)|
|2006–2007||→ Wolverhampton Wanderers (loan)||5||(2)|
|2011–2012||→ Watford (loan)||12||(3)|
|2013–||→ Burnley (loan)||14||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:24, 7 December 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Kightly was rejected as a schoolboy by Tottenham Hotspur but worked his way back to League football with Southend United. He again slipped into the non-League though, before being spotted by Wolverhampton Wanderers while starring for Grays Athletic. He soon became a vital player for Wolves and was pivotal in their promotion to the Premier League in 2009. However injuries disrupted his time in the top flight before the club's relegation after three seasons. He joined Stoke City in August 2012 for an undisclosed fee.
Born in Basildon, Kightly played schoolboy football for Tottenham Hotspur but was released and subsequently picked up by his hometown team, non-League Basildon United. His stay was short and was soon back in professional football, signing a two-year scholarship with Southend United on 16 December 2002 following a five game trial period. He made his league debut for the club on 3 May 2003, in a 1–0 defeat at Exeter City.
Although featuring in all their cup games of this time, scoring once in the Football League Trophy against Luton Town, he made only 13 league appearances over three different seasons for them. On 22 October 2004, he joined Farnborough Town on loan, spending three months with the club before returning to Southend United on 20 January 2005. He was released at the end of the season by Southend manager Steve Tilson.
Conference side Grays Athletic signed Kightly, where he scored 15 league goals in his first season, and won the FA Trophy. He began the 2006–07 season still with Grays, and had scored 10 goals by November. Such form caught the eye of scouts at Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, to whom he completed a two-month emergency loan move on 17 November 2006.
He would subsequently return to play against Grays for Wolves in a pre-season friendly, which was a condition of the permanent deal later made between the clubs.
Kightly scored his first ever league goal to earn a 1–0 victory at Queens Park Rangers in December 2006. His form at Grays Athletic led him to be dubbed "The Ryan Giggs of non-league football", and it was reported that Sir Alex Ferguson was interested in signing Kightly for Manchester United. After scoring two goals in five games, his loan move was made permanent when he signed a two-and-a-half-year contract for a nominal fee on New Year's Day 2007.
He became a first-team regular in the remainder of the season, and his six goals helped the club into a play-off position. His performances saw him come runner-up for Wolves' Player of the Year 2006–07, losing out to goalkeeper Matt Murray. After a play-off defeat denied promotion, it was reported that he was being tracked by clubs such as Aston Villa, Charlton Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth and Everton. Kightly ended such speculation by signing a new four-year deal with Wolves in June 2007.
His first full season with the club was severely hampered by a persistent ankle injury suffered in November 2007, from which he twice tried to return to first team football, eventually undergoing surgery in February 2008. Kightly had further injuries that kept him out of the Wolves side, finally returning to play in the final four fixtures as the club narrowly missed the play-off places on goal difference. He signed an improved new four-year deal with the club in June 2008.
During the 2008–09 season, he contributed eight goals, as Wolves led the promotion race. However, his campaign was prematurely halted by a broken metatarsal sustained during a reserve game in March 2009. He returned to make his first appearances in the Premier League, following promotion, by September but again suffered another injury after needing an ankle operation. Although planned to return early in the 2010–11 season, he suffered a further setback and was therefore omitted from the club's 25-man squad list for the first part of the campaign. He eventually made his return to first team action after 16 months on the sidelines from various injuries, against Newcastle United in April 2011.
In October 2011, he joined Championship side Watford in an initial one-month loan deal to regain match fitness, making his debut on 15 October 2011 in a 2–0 loss against Crystal Palace. This was later extended to run until January 2012, during which time Kightly made twelve appearances for the Hornets, scoring three times.
Following his loan spell, Kightly returned to Wolves and managed his longest period of Premier League football. However, he could not prevent the team from suffering relegation at the end of a troubled campaign that saw the departure of manager Mick McCarthy. Despite Wolves struggling Kightly hit a rich vain of form towards the end of the season scoring three goals against Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City. In August 2012 it was revealed by Wolves that Kightly was in talks with Stoke City, having rejected a contract extension to instead remain in the top flight. After signing for Stoke Kightly revealed that after missing 15 months of football at Wolves it left him fighting against depression.
Kightly joined Premier League side Stoke City on 8 August 2012 for an undisclosed fee. He made an instant impact with Stoke scoring with his first touch in a 1–1 draw with German side SpVgg Greuther Fürth in a pre-season friendly. He then scored on his Premier League debut for Stoke in a 1–1 draw away at Reading. He scored his second goal for Stoke on 20 October 2012 in a 4–2 defeat at Manchester United. However he fell out of favour with manager Tony Pulis and found himself in and out of the team. He scored against Aston Villa on 6 April 2013. Kightly ended the season with 26 appearances to his name of which 19 were starts, as Stoke finished in 13th position. In May 2013 Pulis was replaced by Mark Hughes and Kightly expressed his desire to become a first team regular under the new manager and also admitted he struggled with confidence in the 2012–13 season.
- As of match played 6 April 2013
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other[A]||Total|
|Southend United||2002–03||Third Division||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Farnborough Town (loan)||2004–05||Conference National||11||0||0||0||—||1[b]||0||12||0|
|Grays Athletic||2005–06||Conference National||35||14||3||1||—||10[c]||3||48||18|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers (loan)||
|Stoke City||2012–13||Premier League||22||3||3||0||1||0||—||26||3|
- Grays Athletic
- FA Trophy winner: 2006
- Wolverhampton Wanderers
- "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- "Kightly signs Shrimpers scholarship". Southend United F.C. official website. 16 December 2002. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- "Rising stars – Michael Kightly". Southend United F.C. official website. 26 February 2003. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- "Exeter 1–0 Southend". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- "Southend 3–0 Luton". BBC. 9 December 2003. Retrieved 3 March 2010.
- "Kightly goes out on loan". Southend United F.C. official website. 22 October 2004. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- "Loan Spell Does Kightly World of Good". Southend United F.C. official website. 22 October 2004. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- "Kightly released by Southend boss". BBC Sport. 31 May 2005.
- "Kightly completes move to Wolves". BBC Sport. 17 December 2006.
- "Grays reception impresses Kightly". BBC Sport. 14 July 2007.
- "Saturday's football gossip". BBC Sport. 30 December 2006.
- "Wolves sign McIndoe and Kightly". BBC Sport. 1 January 2007.
- "The Screamer ... It's the talk of football". London: Daily Mail. 15 March 2007.
- "Kightly signs new Wolves contract". BBC Sport. 18 June 2007.
- "Kightly suffers fresh ankle woe". BBC Sport. 28 January 2008.
- "Kightly pens new deal with Wolves". BBC Sport. 24 June 2008.
- "Kightly's season ended by injury". BBC Sport. 1 April 2009.
- "Wolves winger Michael Kightly faces eight-week lay-off". BBC Sport. 1 December 2009.
- "Premier League clubs name their 25-man squads". BBC Sport. 1 September 2010.
- "Watford sign Wolves winger Michael Kightly on loan". BBC Sport. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Wolves winger Michael Kightly seals longer Watford stay". BBC Sport. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Michael Kightly is relegation-threatened Wolves' one bright light". BBC sport. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Wolves Confirm Kightly Talks". Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. 8 August 2012.
- "Stoke winger Michael Kightly faced depression at Wolves". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- "Kightly Seals Move". Stoke City F.C. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Michael Kightly: Stoke City sign Wolves winger". BBC Sport. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Kightly strikes in Stoke draw". Sky Sports. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- "Reading 1–1 Stoke". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- "Man U 4–2 Stoke". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
- "Stoke City: It's not nice when the fans turn against their team, says Michael Kightly". The Sentinel. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- "Stoke 1–3 Aston Villa". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- "Michael Kightly is hoping to be a first-team regular for Stoke this term". Sky Sports. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- "Michael Kightly: I'll fight for my place on the Stoke City wing". The Sentinel. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- "Clarets Take The Michael". Burnley. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- "Agbonlahor in England U21 squad". BBC Sport. 16 August 2007.
- Stoke City Official Matchday Magazine 26 August 2012 v Arsenal
- "Michael Kightly". Soccerbase. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2002/2003". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2003/2004". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2004/2005". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2004/2005 for Farnborough". Grimsby Town Mad. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2005/2006". Grimsby Town Mad. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2006/2007". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2007/2008". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Games played by Michael Kightly in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 June 2013.