Yorke was spotted by the then-‘Aston Villa’ manager Graham Taylor in 1989, during a tour of the West Indies. Impressed by his talent, Taylor offered him a trial at ‘Villa.’ Eventually, the club signed a contract with him, which marked the beginning of Yorke’s professional football career.
His ‘First Division’ debut for ‘Villa’ happened on March 24, 1990, in a match against ‘Crystal Palace.’ Till the 1995–1996 season, Yorke played for ‘Ville’ as a right-winger. He then played in the center forward position and soon made his mark as a top striker of the ‘Premier League.’
During the 1996 ‘Football League Cup’ final, Yorke netted the third goal for ‘Ville’ as the club defeated ‘Leeds United’ 3–0.
He scored a hat-trick in a match against ‘Newcastle United’ on September 30, 1996. ‘Newcastle’ was leading till half-time, with a 3–1 score. While ‘Villa’ was struggling with a 10-man line-up, Yorke put up an impressive show in the second half and fought back by netting two more goals for ‘Villa.’ What he thought to be his fourth goal of the match was however ruled offside. The match ended in a 4–3 win by ‘Newcastle.’ However, the remarkable performance of Yorke caught the attention of many.
He was named the ‘Premier League Player of the Month’ in February 1996 and earned the honor again in January 1999 and March 2000.
In August 1998, ‘Manchester United’ showed interest in Yorke. Although, initially, ‘Ville’ had made it clear that they would sell Yorke to ‘Manchester United’ only if the latter consented to lend them striker Andy Cole in return, Yorke’s interest in joining ‘Manchester United’ made ‘Ville’ to somewhat reluctantly transfer him to ‘Manchester United’ on August 20, 1998, for £12.6 million.
His first season with the club (1998–1999) saw him creating a fruitful partnership with striker Andy Cole and remaining an integral part of the club in winning the ‘Premier League,’ the ‘FA Cup,’ and the ‘UEFA Champions League.’ He completed the season by netting 18 goals in the league and emerging as the top league goal-scorer.
In the 1998–1999 season, he was included in the ‘PFA Team of the Year: 1998–99 Premier League.’ The same season, he became the ‘Premier League Player of the Season,’ won the ‘Premier League Golden Boot,’ and was named the top scorer of ‘UEFA Champions League.’
‘Manchester United’ secured its sixth ‘Premiership’ title in the 1999–2000 ‘FA Premier League,’ while Yorke became the top goal-scorer for the club. The 2000–2001 ‘FA Premier League’ final saw Yorke scoring a hat-trick as ‘Manchester United’ clinched its third successive title, in a match against ‘Arsenal.’
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Moving on, he played for the ‘Blackburn Rovers ‘(2002–2004) and then for ‘Birmingham City,’ (2004–2005) before signing with ‘Sydney FC’ for a salary of $1 million per season. Eventually, he was moved to a midfield role and made the captain of the team by coach Pierre Littbarski.
As the captain of ‘Sydney FC,’ Yorke played an instrumental role in the first ‘A-League Grand Final’ that was held on March 5, 2006. A pass from him led Steve Corica to score the only (and the winning) goal of the match, resulting in ‘Sydney FC’ beating the ‘Central Coast Mariners’ 1–0, to emerge as the league's inaugural champions. Yorke became the ‘Man of the Match’ and received the ‘Joe Marston Medal’ as the best player in the grand final. ‘Football Federation Australia’ (FFA) also used his name and image for promoting the second season of the ‘A-League.’
An announcement of his transfer to ‘Sunderland’ was made on August 31, 2006. The transfer fee was £200,000 (A$500,000). During Yorke’s tenure with the club, ‘Sunderland’ finished on top of the league. They scored 88 points during the 2006–2007 ‘Football League Championship.’ After Roy Keane resigned as the manager of ‘Sunderland’ in December 2008, Yorke and Neil Bailey became assistants of Ricky Sbragia. Yorke was discharged after the end of the 2008–2009 season.
Career with National Team
Yorke became part of the national team of Trinidad and Tobago in 1989, and throughout his career, Yorke was capped 72 times for the national team and netted 26 goals for it. He was part of the national team that failed to qualify for the 1990 ‘FIFA World Cup.’
A dispute with the then-coach led him to retire from international football in 2001. He, however, re-joined the national team for the 2006 ‘World Cup’ qualifying campaign. Thus, the team qualified for the ‘World Cup’ finals for the first time in the history of the country. Yorke captained the team in the tournament and was declared the ‘Man of the Match’ in a match against Sweden. He was later made a ‘Sports Ambassador’ for Trinidad and Tobago, in recognition of his contribution to the national team during the 2006 ‘FIFA World Cup.’
In March 2007, he declared his retirement from international football to concentrate on his career with ‘Sunderland.’ The ‘Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’ (TTFF) declared on July 10, 2008, that Yorke would return to the national team for the 2010 ‘FIFA World Cup’ qualification campaign. His first international goal after returning from retirement came on October 15, 2008, during a 2010 ‘World Cup’ qualifying match against the US.
Retirement & Life Thereafter
‘Sunderland’ released him in 2009. He retired from football completely in September that year, as he could not find a club before the transfer window ended. He then served as the assistant manager of the Trinidad and Tobago national team till some time in 2010.
He finished his ‘Level B’ coaching badge and expressed interest in a coaching career in 2010, mentioning ‘Aston Villa’ as his preferred club. The following year, on April 17, he participated in the ‘London Marathon’ and completed his run in 3 hours and 32 minutes. On August 14 the same year, he signed a 2-year deal to work as a pundit for ‘Sky Sports.’
Personal Life & Legacy
The ‘Dwight Yorke Stadium,’ built in Bacolet, Scarborough, Tobago, for the 2001 ‘FIFA U-17 World Championship,’ was named after him.
His son, Harvey, born in May 2002, through his brief relationship with Katie Price, is blind and autistic. Although Yorke disputed the paternity of Harvey, a DNA test proved him to be the father. His second child, Orlando, was born in 2007, as a result of his relationship with a woman named Naomi.
His older brother, Clint Yorke, is a former first-class cricketer who played as an opening batsman for Trinidad and Tobago.
He released his autobiography, ‘Born To Score,’ in 2009.
He was denied entry to the US on February 16, 2017, for having an Iranian stamp on his passport.