|Full name||Leon Leroy Knight|
|Date of birth||16 September 1982|
|Place of birth||Hackney, England|
|Height||1.66 m (5 ft 5 1⁄2 in)|
|2001||→ Queens Park Rangers (loan)||11||(0)|
|2001–2002||→ Huddersfield Town (loan)||31||(16)|
|2002–2003||→ Sheffield Wednesday (loan)||24||(3)|
|2003||→ Brighton & Hove Albion (loan)||2||(4)|
|2003–2006||Brighton & Hove Albion||106||(32)|
|2006–2007||→ Barnsley (loan)||9||(0)|
|2007–2008||Milton Keynes Dons||33||(5)|
|2008–2009||Rushden & Diamonds||12||(4)|
|2010||Queen of the South||6||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21:10, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Leon Leroy Knight (born 16 September 1982) is an English footballer who plays as a striker. A journeyman player, he has played for fifteen different clubs spanning five countries; England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Greece.
Having begun his career with Chelsea, he spent time on loan with Queens Park Rangers, Huddersfield Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton & Hove Albion before joining the latter permanently in 2003. Knight spent three years with Brighton, scoring 30 goals in 106 league matches. He was transferred to Swansea City in 2006 and had a loan spell with Barnsley before joining Milton Keynes Dons and then Wycombe Wanderers.
Knight signed for Rushden & Diamonds in 2008, but left the club five months later when he was sacked for misconduct. Rushden retained his registration and would not release it to another English club unless they were compensated, which prevented Knight from playing in England for three years. He subsequently played in Greece for Thrasivoulos Fylis, Scotland for Hamilton Academical and Queen of the South and Northern Ireland for Coleraine, before joining Glentoran in January 2012. He was released by Glentoran in June 2012 after a probationary clause in his contract was invoked by the club.
Knight began his career as a trainee at Chelsea (where he made one appearance in the UEFA Cup against Levski Sofia), before spending loan periods at Queens Park Rangers, Huddersfield Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton & Hove Albion before joining Brighton on a permanent contract in August 2003. During his spell at Huddersfield, he reignited the Terriers' play-off push and formed an unlikely partnership with local hero Andy Booth, earning himself the nickname 'Neon Light'. Unfortunately, he was sent off in the penultimate game of the season and was suspended for the play-off games. Although his transfer was initially free, £50,000 was to be paid if Brighton were promoted. It was Knight himself who secured Brighton's promotion with his penalty against Bristol City in the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff in 2004. Knight had a falling out with Brighton manager Mark McGhee, which culminated in Knight being thrown off the team bus in the middle of the New Forest en route to a match against Southampton on 2 January 2006.
Knight moved to Swansea City shortly afterwards, and scored a hat-trick on his debut against Milton Keynes Dons. His stay at the Liberty Stadium was short-lived, and he was placed on the transfer list in October 2006, due to a poor attitude. After a short spell on loan with Barnsley, he joined Milton Keynes Dons in January 2007. In January 2008, Knight signed for Wycombe Wanderers, just one year after joining MK Dons. On 19 August 2008, Knight's contract was "terminated by mutual consent", after he scored five goals in 20 appearances during his short stay with Wycombe.
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. 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. Knight was later released by Hamilton on 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 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.
On 21 August 2014, Knight sign for North West Countries League, Division One side Barnton AFC. On 18 March 2015, Knight was appointed Barnton's first team manager, also continuing to play for the club. On 15 February 2016, Knight resigned as manager of Barnton.
Knight was born in Hackney, London, to a Jamaican mother and St. Lucian father, and was educated at Raine's Foundation School, Bethnal Green, He has three sisters, and is the cousin of Bolton Wanderers defender Zat Knight. He is the cousin of Grime MC Trim. Knight was a good all-around sportsman and a third dan black belt in karate as a child. He played schoolboy football for his school, the Hackney & Tower Hamlets District team and Senrab, and had trials with Charlton Athletic and Tottenham Hotspur before joining Chelsea as a trainee.
As of August 2014, Knight has appeared regularly via Facetime on the YouTube channel "Filthy Fellas" where he and fans of clubs Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Liverpool discuss the events of the latest Premier League weekend.
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- Hamilton 2–1 Hearts BBC Sport, 6 December 2009
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 October 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- Harvey, Tom (22 February 2007). "New dawn as Knight aims for promotion". Hackney Gazette. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
The chance to play against his cousin – Fulham's Zat – is just one of the reasons [Leon] Knight wants to get back to the big time. He added: "Zat is my lanky cousin. He tries to give me advice from time to time but after seeing him letting in goals on Match of the Day every week I tend to avoid it!
- "Leon has spring in his step". The Angus. 4 December 2003. Retrieved 6 January 2008.[permanent dead link]
- "Brighton move pays off for hitman Knight". Coventry Evening Telegraph (England). 31 May 2004. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
[Leon] Knight is the younger cousin of Fulham defender Zat Knight and received a good luck message from his relative before playing a leading part the [play-off] final, in which he also hit the crossbar with a first-half free-kick.
- "Knight sparks Twitter outrage" The Newsletter 10 May 2012
- Club statement re:Leon Knight[permanent dead link] Official Glentoran Website 11 May 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012
- Leon Knight at Soccerbase