He’s the one-man Gazza-tribute act described as a loopy “loveable rogue” by former Sydney FC and Hibernian coach Terry Butcher. And he’s coming to an A-League ground near you.
Jason ‘Cumdog’ Cummings - A-League's Central Coast Mariners latest signing - will be the competition’s joker in the pack after winning his release from Scottish Premiership strugglers Dundee for a fresh start in the land of his lineage.
Jason Cummings Signing
- Scottish football’s clown prince Jason Cummings has signed an 18-month deal
- Edinburgh-born Cummings has dual nationality and is hoping the move leads to a Socceroos call up
- Mariners coach Nick Montgomery hopes his goalscoring prowess is fire his team up the table
More A-League news can be found on FTBL.
The embodiment of devil-may-care eccentricity, Cummings, 26, is the antidote to the robotic players and po-faced pundits who populate the modern game.
He brings with him a penchant for goal scoring, when the mood takes, and a back catalogue of madcap moments that have cemented his image as Scottish football’s jester-in-chief.
Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth - the man who sought to convert Usain Bolt into a pro footballer - isn’t averse to a gamble.
Though in Cummings case, his undoubted prowess in the penalty box provides the perfect counter weight to a compendium of off-piste antics.
Butcher, who worked with Cummings at Hibernian, still hasn’t quite gotten over the experience of managing the man who touched down in Sydney on Sunday night to begin his Mariners adventure.
“You just don’t know what he is going to do or say. You just laugh at him, because he is a real character. He’s bubbly, he’s a clown but he can also be a genius,” said the ex-England defender.
“He doesn’t overthink anything. A lot of more experienced pros would never say some of things he does in public, but he just says what he thinks because he thinks it’s funny.
“A lot of what he does is instinctive. He can score screamers, mis-hits or tap-ins.
"He can miss unbelievable chances but he always goes back for more. Nothing fazes him.
“You can’t help but love him. He’s a loveable rogue. You want to see him do well because he works his socks off.”
Christened ‘Cumdog’ - in homage to his alter ego as a wrestler - Cummings’ roll-call of funny-bone tickling incidents is long.
In no particular order the hit-list of the ex-Hibs, Rangers and Nottingham Forest forward includes swinging from a chandelier at a Dundee function to celebrate last season’s promotion to the Scottish Premiership - he managed 11 goals in his total of 29 league appearances for the Dees.
Then there’s hilarious impromptu match-up with Scottish wrestler Grado in the Hibernian canteen, where - to a backing track of Madonna’s Like A Prayer - Cummings emerges in his underwear, bandage wrapped around his head and the word ‘Cumdog’ inscribed on his bare chest.
In front of a bewildered audience he proceeds to grapple with Grado before dumping him on a sofa and trapping him in pin.
The clip went viral on YouTube but the Hibees physios weren't laughing since Cummings was nursing a back injury at the time.
“That’s when the Cumdog (nickname) was born. It came from one of my teammates and I’ve not managed to shake it off since,” explained Cummings last year.
“Every club I go to go they say ‘Cumdog, I’ve seen the video’. I think it will stick to the end of my career.
“I’ve even had managers in the past call me Cumdog. I’m a big fan of the wrestling back in the day with Triple H, The Undertaker and The Rock.”
But wait, there’s more. Cummings gate-crashed a live television interview with Shrewsbury Town teammate Dave Edwards four days after ‘Cumdog’s two goals off the bench had rescued a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in the FA Cup.
He strutted past Edwards, semi-naked, before attempting to duplicate a dance routine from the 2019 movie The Joker starring Joachim Phoenix.
Cummings even inspired a tattoo craze across western Scotland after his inked hand - featuring a toothy smile complete with lips and tongue - caught on during his time at Ibrox.
“I probably should have taken out a copyright on that one,” he said.
“I use the tattoo (hand across the face gesture) as my (trademark) goal celebration, so it looks like I’m always smiling.”
He once volleyed a steak across a restaurant in Dubai during a pre-season trip, and his parting of the ways at Dundee was precipitated when former teammate turned coach James McPake took exception to Cummings attending a football roadshow event in Glasgow in December decked out as the Joker from Batman.
He turned up the following day “completely unfit” to train, sparking an internal disciplinary hearing. Cummings didn’t feature for Dundee again, though McPake spoke fondly of the irrepressible maverick.
“We wish him all the best, he helped us get promoted and I hope he does well out in Australia,” he told the Glasgow Evening Times.
“I hope he goes there, shows the type of player he can be when things are right and scores goals.
“We all know he’s got that in him, this is a great opportunity for him and a change of environment might be what he needs.”
With dual Scottish-Australian citizenship, Cummings - who was capped at U-21 level by Scotland- harbours hopes of one day winning a Socceroos call-up.
An impressive spell in Gosford, where he’s inked a deal beyond this season, might crystalize that ambition.
Of his adoration for England’s greatest flawed genius Paul Gascogne, Cummings said: “Football is meant to be about fun and entertainment. I look back in the olden days and people enjoyed it more. Gazza was always just having a laugh."
A big occasion junkie, Cummings famously botched a Panenka spot-kick in the goalless 2016 Scottish Cup semi-final against Dundee United, only to bury the winning penalty in the shoot-out in what might be the perfect illustration of his untamed nature.
For Mariners fans, things are about to get very interesting. So buckle up.
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