VINNIE Jones said no amount of jet-setting for his hectic film schedule would have prevented him from returning to his footballing roots at Wealdstone.
The former midfield hardman turned movie star has been flying back and forth from Detroit where he has been filming with screen legend Christopher Walken and Val Kilmer.
However, Jones vowed to honour his promise to his old friend, Wealdstone commercial manager Dennis Byatt, to fly from his Los Angeles home and help raise some cash for the club that took a chance on him when he was a wet-behind-the-ears gardener.
After last Thursday's golf day at Stockley Park, Jones entertained more than 150 fans at Ruislip Manor Sports & Social Club by recounting his fascinating rags to riches story.
He also posed for pictures, signed autographs and auction items and answered questions from those in attendance. More than £8,000 was raised in total - more than 300 times the amount the £26 weekly wage Stones paid their young midfield terrier in the 80s.
"It's great to be back and help out," Jones told the Observer. "There are people here I've not seen for 20-odd years and it's been great catching up with them.
"I've kept in touch with Dennis and he has been trying for a few years to get me here. I've just been filming in Detroit and I've had to work this out around that, but I've always wanted to come back.
"I owe a lot to this club and the supporters. I might not be sitting here now if it was not for this club and (then manager) Brian Hall." Jones had the crowd in raptures as he told stories spanning his time in football and his unlikely transition into a film star.
He said it was his stamina rather than his football skills that convinced Stones to give him a trial, although he certainly had enough in the locker for the likes of Wimbledon, Sheffield United and Chelsea to enlist his services.
And while these days he regularly hobnobs with Hollywood's finest, Jones has never forgotten his roots.
"To Wealdstone I owe a lot," he told the crowd. "The club will forever be indebted in my heart as I've got great memories of it.
"Rest assured I'm still the same old Vinnie, the same one that took on the big, loony goalkeeper all those years ago. It's really lovely to be back and raise some money to keep the club going."