Michael Kightly

Michael Kightly
Michael Kightly
Personal information
Full name Michael John Kightly
Date of birth 24 January 1986 (1986-01-24) (age 25)
Place of birth Basildon, England
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in) [1]
Playing position Winger
Club information
Current club Watford
(on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Number 18
Youth career
2000–2001 Tottenham Hotspur
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2003 Basildon United 18 (11)
2003–2005 Southend United 13 (0)
2004–2005 → Farnborough Town (loan) 11 (0)
2005–2007 Grays Athletic 53 (24)
2006–2007 Wolverhampton Wanderers (loan) 5 (2)
2007– Wolverhampton Wanderers 89 (21)
2011– Watford (loan) 4 (1)
National team
2007–2008 England U21 7 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11:49, 20 November 2011 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15 June 2009

Michael John Kightly (born 24 January 1986) is an English footballer who plays as a winger. He is on loan at Championship side Watford from Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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.


Club career

Early years

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[2] following a five game trial period.[3] 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,[4] he made only 13 league appearances over three different seasons for them. On 22 October 2004, he joined Farnborough Town on loan,[5] spending three months with the club before returning to Southend United on 20 January 2005.[6] He was released at the end of the season by Southend manager Steve Tilson.[7]

Grays Athletic

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.[8]

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.[9]

Wolverhampton Wanderers

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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] Kightly ended such speculation by signing a new four-year deal with Wolves in June 2007.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18] He eventually made his return to first team action after 16 months on the sidelines from various injuries, against Newcastle United in April 2011. He is contracted to the Molineux club until summer 2013.[19]

On loan at Watford

In October 2011, he joined Championship side Watford in a one-month loan deal to regain match fitness. He made his debut on 15 October 2011 in the 2–0 loss against Crystal Palace. He scored his first goal for the club in their 2–0 victory over Portsmouth on 19 November, from 25 yards out. After the game against Portsmouth his loan deal was extended to January 2012.

International career

Kightly was called into the England U21 squad in August 2007 for a friendly against Romania[20] and went on to make his debut, playing the first half of the game.



  1. ^ "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League. http://www.premierleague.com/page/PlayerProfile/0,,12306~23659,00.html. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Kightly signs Shrimpers scholarship". Southend United F.C. official website. 16 December 2002. http://www.southendunited.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10444~316558,00.html. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Rising stars - Michael Kightly". Southend United F.C. official website. 26 February 2003. http://www.southendunited.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10444~348868,00.html. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Southend 3–0 Luton". BBC. 9 December 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/3301465.stm. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "Kightly goes out on loan". Southend United F.C. official website. 22 October 2004. http://www.southendunited.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10444~579763,00.html. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Loan Spell Does Kightly World Of Good". Southend United F.C. official website. 22 October 2004. http://www.southendunited.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10444~615828,00.html. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Kightly released by Southend boss". BBC Sport. 2005-05-31. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/s/southend_utd/4596331.stm. 
  8. ^ "Kightly completes move to Wolves". BBC Sport. 2006-12-17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/wolverhampton_wanderers/6143282.stm. 
  9. ^ "Grays reception impresses Kightly". BBC Sport. 2007-07-14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/wolverhampton_wanderers/6902452.stm. 
  10. ^ "Saturday's football gossip". BBC Sport. 2006-12-30. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/gossip_and_transfers/6218749.stm. 
  11. ^ "Wolves sign McIndoe and Kightly". BBC Sport. 2007-01-01. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/wolverhampton_wanderers/6222413.stm. 
  12. ^ "The Screamer ... It's the talk of football". Daily Mail. 2007-03-15. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/sport/football.html?in_article_id=442413&in_page_id=1779. 
  13. ^ "Kightly signs new Wolves contract". BBC Sport. 2007-06-18. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/wolverhampton_wanderers/6763641.stm. 
  14. ^ "Kightly suffers fresh ankle woe". BBC Sport. 2008-01-28. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/wolverhampton_wanderers/7213455.stm. 
  15. ^ "Kightly pens new deal with Wolves". BBC Sport. 2008-06-24. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/wolverhampton_wanderers/7471056.stm. 
  16. ^ "Kightly's season ended by injury". BBC Sport. 2009-04-01. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/wolverhampton_wanderers/7975284.stm. 
  17. ^ "Wolves winger Michael Kightly faces eight-week lay-off". BBC Sport. 2009-12-01. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/wolverhampton_wanderers/8389345.stm. 
  18. ^ "Premier League clubs name their 25-man squads". BBC Sport. 2010-09-01. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/8960432.stm. 
  19. ^ "Contract extension for Kightly". wolves.co.uk. 2011-07-18. http://www.wolves.co.uk/page/News/0,,10307~2394901,00.html. 
  20. ^ "Agbonlahor in England U21 squad". BBC Sport. 2007-08-16. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/6949403.stm. 

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