His early career almost didn't get off the ground, but John Scales' determination saw him play for nearly 20 years, although that time was plagued by injury.
He did not make it at local club Leeds United, having to move down to the West Country with Bristol Rovers to make the first team. His performances brought him to the attention of Wimbledon, who had recently joined the old First Division and his dominating performances alongside Eric Young won them many good reviews. His first medal came in the giant-killing of Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup Final with the Dons winning 1-0, although his appearance in the final was an odd one for him, as a substitute playing up front !!
This obviously lived in the memory of those at Anfield, as they signed the centre-half for £3.5 million in 1994. He was played in a three man central defensive formation with Neil Ruddock and Phil Babb, where his heading and pace were shown off to their best. In his first season with the Reds, he won a League Cup winners medal in the 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers.
Having had three good years at Liverpool, his appearances became limited by niggling injuries and he was suddenly sold to Spurs, despite being a favourite among the Liverpool fans.
After coming to Tottenham in 1996, Scales failed to make himself a regular in the team because of a string of injuries that have disrupted his career. There was talk in 1997-98 of West Ham being interested in buying him, but Scales seemed set on proving his worth at Tottenham. He could fit quite well into the centre of defence, but his lack of speed off the mark hampered him in this role. He has played at full-back before and there is some flexibility in his experiences there, but he may need to lose his "nicest man on Earth" tag to become a bit more ruthless in his play.
What John really needed was a decent run in the side to see if he could have added something to the team. 1998/99 was a continuation of the rest of his Spurs career with injury further preventing him appearing in the first team. Yet another injury ravaged season in 1999-2000 for John Scales, who when he did play early on looked sound, but was caught out for the goal at Watford and he looked set to depart in the close season, but shortly after a free move to Ipswich Town in summer 2000, he had to retire because of injury.
Well spoken and good looking, Scales took on jobs as a model and football pundit on leaving the game, but settled into a role providing football kits for school children.