Michael Kightly is a player that will be well-known with a number of Wolves and Stoke City supporters from his services to the club.
The midfielder caught the eye with Grays Athletic in a two-year spell with the club, scoring 15 goals for the club before completing a loan move to Wolves in 2006. That loan move was then made permanent in 2007, and the Basildon-born winger went on to score his first goal for the club in a 1-0 win over QPR in December 2007.
His strong start to life with Grays Athletic saw (at the time) Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson register his interest in signing Kightly, with Ferguson labelling the winger as “the Ryan Giggs of non-league”, although a move failed to materialise for one reason or another.
He then joined Stoke City in the summer of 2012 for an undisclosed fee. He made the perfect start to life with the Potters as well, as he scored their opener against newly-promoted Reading on the opening day of the season at the Madejski Stadium, in a 1-1 draw with the Royals.
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But Kightly found game time hard to come by under the management of Tony Pulis, and made just 26 appearances in total for the club, before being loaned out to Burnley on loan ahead of the 2013/14 season.
The midfielder play his part for Burnley in that promotion-winning campaign from the Championship, as he scored five goals in 38 appearances for the club. That impressive run of form evidently didn’t go unnoticed, as he signed permanently for Burnley in June 2014 on a three-year deal.
He then joined Burton Albion in January 2017 on loan for the remainder of the season, and scored on his debut against Wolves. Kightly scored four goals in 12 appearances for the Brewers as they retained their status as a Championship club, before being released by Burnley when his contract expired in the summer.
Kightly re-signed for Southend United ahead of the 2017/18 season on a three-year deal, but announced his retirement from his playing career in August 2019.
But the midfielder came out of retirement in September 2020 as he signed for non-league side Rushall Olympic, although his progress with them has been minimal with off-the-field events calling a halt to fixtures across the non-league calendar this season.