Walters was born in Moreton, Merseyside and started his career at Blackburn Rovers having being spotted by playing for Shaftesbury under 16s in the Eastham & District Junior League by Rovers's scout for Wirral and Wales, Mike O'Brien who moved quickly to sign him.
"He was at Shaftesbury under-16s when I first decided he had something. I had been watching him for the previous two years but his physique wasn't what it should be. But once he got to 16 you could see him developing. He was always quick. He played against Tranmere Rovers and scored three for Merseyside Schools, so I made the decision to bring him in and he scored two against Manchester United on the Saturday and we signed him on the Monday. If a player is a bit special you need to make a quick decision. And it paid off because the gaffer (Graeme Souness) thinks a lot of him. But I'll never predict what he can do or if he is close to making the first team. All I will say is the lad is scoring goals for the reserves and if he continues to do that he's got a chance."
—Blackburn Rovers scout Mike O'Brien on why he signed 16 year old Jonathan Walters.
He played for Blackburn's youth and reserve teams where he scored prolifically, helping the club reach the FA Youth Cup final in 2001, losing 6–3 on aggregate to Arsenal. However his promising career with Rovers was ended due to a 'serious breach of club discipline' which was described as 'totally out of character' and saw him suspended by the club.
He then joined Bolton Wanderers for a fee of £50,000 following interest from numerous clubs. He played in four Premier League games for Bolton making his professional debut as an 85th minute substitute in a 2–1 defeat to Charlton Athletic, before signing for Hull City on loan in 2003. On his debut for Hull Walters scored twice in a 5–1 win over Carlisle United. Following his loan spell at Hull, Walters returned to Bolton, where he again went out on loan, this time to Crewe Alexandra however he failed to make an appearance for Crewe due to a tooth infection. In the 2003–04 season he joined Barnsley on loan and played eight league games for the "Tykes".
He then signed for Hull City for a second time in 2004 this time on a permanent transfer. In February 2005 he joined Scunthorpe United on a months loan and made three appearances for the "Iron". He played 17 times for the "Tigers" in 2003–04 as they won promotion to League One and then gained back to back promotions in 2004–05.
After only scoring three goals for Hull in two seasons, Walters was sold to League Two side Wrexham. Upon signing for the cash strapped club Walters believed that he made the right choice moving closer to his Merseyside home. He played in 41 matches for the "Dragons" in 2005–06 scoring against Cheltenham Town, Stockport County, Torquay United (twice) and Mansfield Town
He spent the 2005–06 season at Wrexham before he joined their rivals Chester City in 2006. It was at Chester where Walters began to show his potential. Walters scored nine goals in twenty six league games as well putting in some impressive performances which drew the attention of several Championship clubs mainly Ipswich Town.
Walters agreed terms with Ipswich on a deal worth £150,000 plus add-ons in mid-January 2007, having impressed in FA Cup ties between the clubs earlier in the month. He made his debut for Ipswich on 30 January 2007 in a 0–0 draw at Stoke City. Walters scored his first goal for Ipswich in their 2–1 over Queens Park Rangers at Portman Road on 3 March 2007. Walters ended the 2006–07 season with goals against Barnsley and a brace on the final day of the season against Cardiff City.
He scored his first ever senior hat-trick in the 6–0 win over Bristol City in November 2007 at Portman Road, in the same week he received a call up to the Republic of Ireland B squad. On 12 January 2008, he extended his contract with Ipswich until 2011. He went under the knife for surgery on a niggling knee problem on 19 March 2008 and returned to action against Norwich City on 13 April in half the expected time. Walters played 41 times for Ipswich scoring 13 goals in 2007–08 as the Tractor Boys missed put on a play-off place by just one point. His performances during the season earned him the player of the year and players' player of the year awards.
The 2008–09 season saw Walters again play 41 matches, scoring seven goals as Ipswich failed to build on last season and finished in 9th position. 2009–10 under the management of Roy Keane saw Ipswich struggle to score goals with Walters top-scoring with only eight and Ipswich finished the season in a poor 15th position. In August 2010 Walters expressed to Roy Keane his desire to leave Portman Road after Stoke City made an offer for him
On 18 August 2010 Walters joined Premier League side Stoke City for an initial £2.75 million fee on a four year contract. He made his City debut on 21 August 2010 against Tottenham Hotspur. He scored his first goal on 24 August 2010 in a 2–1 Football League Cup win over Shrewsbury Town. He scored his first Premier League goal for Stoke on 2 October 2010 in a 1–0 win over Blackburn Rovers. After the match Walters earned praise from his former manager Sam Allardyce, and City manager Tony Pulis. Walters scored twice for Stoke in a 3–0 win over West Bromwich Albion the first came from the penalty spot and the other via a rebound from Scott Carson.
Walters scored twice for City in a 2–0, FA Cup third round replay win at Cardiff City. It took him until the end of March 2011 to find the back of the net in the Premier League again, scoring in a 4–0 win over Newcastle United. He scored in the next match against Chelsea and was named as man of the match. Following the match Pulis spoke of his delight at Walters improved performances.
"Jon's come from the Championship and sometimes it takes time to have the confidence and the belief to make the step up. He had an up-and-down start but he's been fantastic for us. He's certainly my type of player, he gives everything, he never stops and whatever you've paid him, you know he's earned it."
—Stoke manager Tony Pulis speaks highly of Jonathan Walters.
Walters scored twice in City's 5–0 rout over former club Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley to help Stoke into their first FA Cup Final. Walters described it as the pinnacle of his career. Walters ended the 2010–11 season as joint top goalscorer with Kenwyne Jones, both having scored 12 goals. His first goal against Bolton in the semi-final won goal of the season. He played in the 2011 FA Cup Final against Manchester City as Stoke lost 1–0.
Walters played in his first European match on 28 July against Hajduk Split where he scored the only goal in a 1–0 Stoke win. He signed a 12-month extension on his contract in August 2011. Walters went on to play in 31 matches during the first half of the 2011–12 season scoring seven goals. In March 2012 Walters won the Sir Stanley Matthews Potteries Footballers of the Year award for 2012. Speaking after picking up the award Walters revealed that he would like to remain at Stoke for the rest of his career. By 21 April 2012 Walters has played in 50 of Stoke matches during the 2011–12 season and has scored just nine goals of which five are penalties. This has led to Walters being criticized by a number of Stoke supporters but he has been backed by his manager. On his 100th appearance for Stoke, Walters scored twice against his old club Bolton Wanderers in a 2–2 draw, a result which relegated the "Trotters".
Walters continued to be a virtual ever-present in 2012–13 making a club record 61 consecutive Premier League starts by 3 November 2012. He scored a well worked set-piece in a 1–1 draw against West Ham United which earned praise from pundit Gary Neville. He scored twice against Liverpool on Boxing Day in a 3–1 victory. On 12 January 2013 against Chelsea, Walters scored two own goals becoming only the fourth player to do so in the Premier League, he also missed a penalty in the match as Stoke lost 4–0. He made amends three days later, scoring twice in a FA Cup third round replay victory over Crystal Palace. Walters played in every match in 2012–13 and was the club's top-scorer with 11 goals and the final game of the season against Southampton was his 89th consecutive start.
Walters made a bad start to the 2013–14 season against Liverpool as after being awarded a last minute penalty he saw his shot easily saved by Simon Mignolet and Stoke went on to lose the match 1–0. However despite this Walters insisted that he would not shy away from taking penalties. On 10 November 2013 Walters played in his 100th consecutive Premier League match and he marked the occasion by scoring in a 3–3 draw with Swansea City. His run of 102 consecutive games ended on 4 December 2013 against Cardiff City after picking up an injury. Walters scored a penalty against Arsenal in a 1–0 win on 1 March 2014. He also scored from the spot in the next match against Norwich City but was later sent-off for the first time in his career for a high challenge on Alexander Tettey.
Can you name the players at the start of the 70/71 season - answers given at the foot of the page.
John Joseph Manning (born 11 December 1940, Liverpool) is an English footballer who played as forward for Tranmere Rovers, Shrewsbury Town, Bolton Wanderers, Norwich City, Crewe Alexandra and Barnsley.
Ripley first made his name with Middlesbrough in the late 1980s, before achieving success in a £1.3 million move to Blackburn Rovers, helping them to the league title in the 1994–95 season and becoming a cult hero. In the 1991–1992 season he helped Middlesbrough achieve promotion to the newly founded Premier League, as well as playing an important role in Middlesbrough getting through to the League Cup semi-final. They also reached the fifth round of the FA Cup losing in a replay to Portsmouth. In 1986 he was on loan to Bolton for a short spell.
During the summer of 1992, Ripley was signed by Blackburn Rovers who had achieved promotion along with Boro. He was briefly their record signing until later in July they signed Alan Shearer for £3.3million. On his debut for Blackburn, he scored the club's first Premier League goal, opening their scoring a 3–3 draw with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park
In 1998, aged almost 31, he moved to Southampton teaming up with legendary Matthew Le Tissier, and retiring four years later. He scored one goal for Southampton against Derby County on 4 October 1999. He also served loan spells at Barnsley (twice) – scoring in his debut, a 1–2 home loss to former side Blackburn – and Sheffield Wednesday, where he scored once against Crystal Palace
Others who played for both the tykes and trotters include Craig Davies and Tony Cunningham.
Left to right:
Back row: Ron Phillips, Alan Boswell, John Ritson, Peter Clarke, John Hulme, Paul Jones.
Middle row: Eddie Hopkinson (Trainer), Charlie Hurley, Roy Greaves, Gareth Williams, Don McAllister, Paul Hallows, Arthur Marsh, John Manning, Jim Conway (Coach).
Front row: Warwick Rimmer, John Byrom, Paul Fletcher, Garry Jones, Jimmy Meadows (Team Manager), Jim Redfern, Ian Seddon, Chris Duffy, Roger Hunt.