Observers of his two-decade career on the pitch largely recognised Darren Byfield for his goal threat, while those who worked with him identify a frontman whose impact directly benefited his strike partners.
What the man himself freely admits is that he’s always enjoyed calling the shots, so when the former Aston Villa, Sunderland and Jamaica forward began pursuing a post-playing future, his eyes were always on management.
It’s almost 20 years since a young striker from Aston, Birmingham first ran out for Villa in the Premier League, with a professional debut handed to Darren Byfield at Leeds United’s Elland Road. While he would reach double-figures for games at his famous first club, his release as a 23-year-old truly kick-started his career, which would see him bag goals with regularity, and as high up the pyramid as the Championship’s upper reaches, with the likes of Sunderland and Bristol City.
He also proudly pulled on the gold, green and black for the nation of his parentage, Jamaica, featuring at the iconic Estadio Azteca against Mexico in the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup. There would be appearances at Wembley and the Millennium Stadium, too, in playoff finals with Bristol City (Championship, 2008) and Walsall (Division Two, 2001), with his extra-time winner against Reading in the latter still standing as his favourite club football moment today.