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Tony James (footballer born 1978)

Tony James (footballer)
Personal information
Date of birth9 October 1978(age 38)
Place of birthCwmbran, Wales
Height1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing positionCentre back
Club information
Current clubBurton Albion

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Tony James (born 9 October 1978 in Cwmbran) is a Welsh footballer currently playing for Burton Albion. In the first half of the 2000s he was widely regarded as one of the highest performing central defenders in the Conference, with Peter Shreeves stating that he was the best defender in the Conference. James has also represented his country at semi-pro international level.

He started his professional career at Hereford United having failed to win a professional contract at West Bromwich Albion where he played in the reserves. He soon established himself as a first choice centre back, partnering Hereford captain Ian Wright. He was voted Player of the Year for the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, in the latter he was an ever-present. When Wright left the club in 2003, James took over the captaincy and led the club to runner-up spot in the Conference in three successive seasons. He was also the regular penalty taker for Hereford, his most notable penalty being the opening goal in the televised 9-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge in 2004.

By 2006 injuries had cost him his first team place to Dean Beckwith and James did not play a part in the last nine games of the season, including the play-off final which saw Hereford win promotion to the Football League. His significant contribution to the club was recognised when he was invited onto the rostrum to lift the trophy with team captain Tamika Mkandawire. He holds the record for the most Conference appearances by a Hereford United player and is ranked 18th on Hereford's all-time list of most appearances with 322 (20 goals).

James moved to Weymouth where he was to spend just one season at the promotion-chasing outfit, captaining the club and scoring three penalties. When financial troubles hit the Terras, James moved to Burton Albion for the current season. A knee injury sustained at the start of the season limited his appearances but he returned to first team action against Altrincham.

James was part of the 2008-2009 Conference National winning side. He signed a new contract in May 2009.

James rejoined Hereford United on a month's loan in October 2010.

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