Football is not a matter of life or death, it is more important than that

John Hartson

John Hartson

Just wanted to add my voice to the many others in support and love for Big John Hartson. If anyone is capable of fighting this I am sure it is him. For me JH was one of those wonderful “honest” players who gave their all to the cause and to the shirt. I will forever remember that goal he scored, a massive long range shot that looped and flew over and past the keeper on a wonderful sunny day at Highbury.

Former Arsenal striker John Hartson has been diagnosed with testicular cancer and told the illness has spread to his brain, the 34-year-old was given the news over the weekend after going to hospital last Friday suffering with horrendous headaches.

According to the Sun, tests were carried out at the Singleton Hospital in Swansea where Hartson was told the news and where the former Celtic and West Ham player is believed to be starting a course of chemotherapy.

John joined the Gunners as a teenager from Luton Town in January 1995 and in two seasons at the Club, made 62 appearances, scoring 16 goals, under Bruce Rioch and Arsène Wenger.
John left Arsenal for West Ham United in February 1997 and continued his fantastic career with the Hammers, Wimbledon, Coventry City, Celtic, West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City, before retiring in January 2008. As well his successful club career, John was also a regular for his country Wales, earning 52 caps, in which time he scored 15 goals.
Hartson joined Celtic in 2001 after Martin O'Neill signed him from Coventry City for £6 million. Central to the club's success, he helped his side reach the Uefa Cup final in 2005 - the same year he was named the Scottish Football Writers' Player of the Year. The following season - and his final year in the SPL - Hartson flurry of goals helped his side win the league.

Before his five seasons in Scotland, Hartson played with Arsenal, West Ham and Wimbledon. He finished his career with West Bromwich Albion in February 2008 when he announced his retirement after being released by the club.

One really famous moment in the annals of football folklore that involved big John was captured on video and is now there for all to see on YouTube is the training bust-up with Eyal Berkovic, John is seen giving his former team mate a right smack and it is still today regarded as one of the ultimate footie scraps, not that I condone such violence, but is well worth a look.

Good luck big fella, my personal thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and friends.


© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.