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John Hartson
Hartson, John.jpg
Personal information
Full name John Hartson
Date of birth 5 April 1975 (1975-04-05) (age 34)
Place of birth    Swansea, Wales
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Striker (retired)
Youth career
Luton Town
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Luton Town
West Ham United
Coventry City
West Bromwich Albion
Norwich City (loan)
054 0(11)
053 0(14)
060 0(24)
049 0(19)
012 00(6)
146 0(88)
021 00(5)
004 00(0)
399 (167)   
National team

Wales U21

051 0(14)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

John Hartson (born 5 April 1975) is a former Wales international footballer who played as a striker, best known for his spells with Arsenal and Celtic. Hartson also featured prominently for Wales, earning 51 caps until his international retirement in 2006. He retired from professional football after being released by West Bromwich Albion in January 2008.

In July 2009 it was revealed that he is facing treatment for testicular cancer which had metastasised affecting both his brain and lungs; he has undergone emergency neurosurgery on his brain.[1 ] [2 ]


Early life

Hartson was born on 5 April 1975 in Swansea, as the third of four children to Cyril and Diana Hartson. Cyril had also played football for local team Afan Lido. Hartson grew up in Talycoppa, Swansea, alongside his elder brother James, elder sister Hayley and younger sister Victoria.[3] As a youngster Hartson represented Lonlas Boys' Club in Skewen, playing his first match aged six.[4] He joined Luton Town's Youth Training Scheme at the age of sixteen but was suspended four months later for stealing a bank card from the son of a couple with whom he was lodging. He used the card to withdraw £50 in order to fund his gambling addiction. Hartson was suspended and sent home to Swansea but was reinstated by Luton shortly afterwards and allowed to resume his apprenticeship.[5]

Club career


Luton Town and Arsenal

Hartson turned professional in 1992 and made his first team debut as a substitute in a 1–0 League Cup defeat to Cambridge United on 24 August 1993.[6] In January 1995 he joined Arsenal for £2.5 million, a British record fee for a teenage player at the time.[7] He was one of George Graham's last signings before his sacking in February 1995, along with Chris Kiwomya. He made his Arsenal debut on 14 January 1995 and was a regular in his first season, the highlight of which was scoring Arsenal's 75th minute equaliser in the 1995 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final against Real Zaragoza; however a last-minute goal from 40 yards by Nayim meant Arsenal lost the game 2–1. He was strike-partner to Ian Wright, being favoured ahead of Kevin Campbell by filling the gap left by the injured Alan Smith, who retired at the end of the season.

With the signing of Dennis Bergkamp, who was preferred up front to partner Ian Wright, Hartson featured less under Graham's successors Bruce Rioch and Arsène Wenger. With Wenger angling for the signing of Nicolas Anelka in early 1997, he made it clear Hartson was surplus to requirements and in February 1997 he was sold to West Ham United for £3.2 million. At the time, he was the most expensive player to be signed by West Ham. It had initially been reported that the deal was worth £5million.

In total he had played 70 times (15 as substitute) for Arsenal, scoring 17 goals.

West Ham United

For West Ham, Hartson scored 33 goals in 73 league and cup appearances for the East London club. He became the second highest scoring player (behind Andrew Cole) in the Premier League in his first full season. In a training ground incident in 1998, Hartson kicked West Ham team-mate Eyal Berkovic in the face, after the Israeli midfielder had punched Hartson in the leg as he attempted to help Berkovic to his feet. The incident was captured on camera. Hartson was fined for the incident. Hartson has admitted in his biography that this was an error of judgement.

Wimbledon and Coventry City

He joined Wimbledon in January 1999, becoming the club's most expensive signing ever at £7.5m.[8] His time with the Dons was marred by injury, though he still managed a respectable goal tally, first in the Premier League, then the First Division following the club's relegation in 2000. Moves to Rangers, Spurs and Charlton fell through due to doubts over the player's fitness, and he instead joined Coventry City on a pay-for-play deal in February 2001.[9]


In August 2001 he joined Celtic in a £6.5m transfer.[10] He played for the Scottish Premier League club for five seasons. In March 2004, he dropped out for the remainder of the football season for surgery to his back; however, he recovered in time for Wales' unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the 2006 World Cup.

In April 2005 he shared the Scottish PFA Players' Player of the Year award with Fernando Ricksen and a short time later in May he was voted the Scottish Football Writers' Association Player of the Year.

On 6th November 2005 Hartson scored his 100th goal for Celtic against Falkirk. He scored the only goal against Hearts, on 5 April 2006, (his 31st birthday) to clinch the title for Celtic.

Hartson was sent off on a number of occasions, one being a notable dismissal towards the end of an Old Firm derby, when he was sent-off for violent conduct along with Celtic team-mate Johan Mjallby and Rangers player Fernando Ricksen. Hartson's dismissal was overturned on appeal.

West Bromwich Albion

On 26 June 2006, Hartson signed a two-year contract with English Football League Championship side West Bromwich Albion in a £500,000 move.[11][12] Hartson scored twice on his Albion debut in a 2–0 Hawthorns win against Hull City on 5 August, 2006.[13]

On 31 August 2007, The Times said that Hartson had signed for League One club Nottingham Forest on a loan move. On 5 September 2007, the Western Mail reported that Hartson had rejected a firm approach from Forest and was on the verge of signing for his hometown club Swansea City on loan. However the club quickly issued a statement on its website denying the striker was set to sign.

In October 2007 Hartson joined Norwich City on a month's loan.[14] Although Norwich had the option to extend the loan until 31 December, newly appointed manager Glenn Roeder decided to send Hartson back to the Midlands after the initial month period.[15] He then rejected an offer to join Chester City on loan.[16] In January 2008 Hartson was released by West Bromwich Albion, six months before the end of his contract.[17]

On 7 February 2008 Hartson announced his retirement from professional football citing his long term struggles with weight and fitness as major reasons for finishing his footballing career.[18]

International career

Hartson won 51 first team caps for Wales, scoring 14 goals. He retired from international football in early 2006 but in August that year he stated that he would come out of retirement to play if John Toshack needed him. He is currently the 9th top scorer of all time for the international team.

He also holds a record for the Wales U21 team by being one of only four people to have scored a hattrick at that level alongside Craig Davies, Lee Jones and Ched Evans.

Hartson retired from international football in February 2006 in order to concentrate on his career with Celtic.[19]

Off the field

Just a few weeks after his retirement from playing, East Stirlingshire in the Scottish Football League Third Division offered Hartson the chance to succeed Gordon Wylde as manager, but Hartson rejected the opportunity, saying that, "the timing is just not right for me at the moment."[20] Hartson joined Setanta Sports as a pundit for the 2008–09 season, as part of the broadcaster's coverage of the Scottish Premier League.[21] A fluent Welsh speaker, Hartson appears regularly as a studio guest on S4C's Sgorio.[22]


In July 2009 it was reported that Hartson will undergo chemotherapy after being diagnosed with "testicular cancer which has spread to his brain".[1 ] It was later reported the cancer had spread to his lungs and that he remains in a "critical condition" following emergency surgery[2 ]. Professor Colin Cooper, head of the Everyman Campaign, still believed Hartson's prospects were good at 60:40 though they would have been 99:1 with an earlier diagnosis.[23]

On 11 August 2009 Hartson was released from hospital, but would continue chemotherapy as an outpatient.

On 4 December 2009 the [1]BBC website reported that the cancer had been virtually eradicated from Hartson's body although he has more surgery and treatment to come.[24]

Career statistics


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1992–93 Luton Town First Division 0 0
1993–94 34 6
1994–95 20 5
1994–95 Arsenal Premier League 15 7
1995–96 19 4
1996–97 19 3
1996–97 West Ham United Premier League 11 5
1997–98 32 15
1998–99 17 4
1998–99 Wimbledon Premier League 14 2
1999–00 16 10
2000–01 First Division 19 8
2000–01 Coventry City Premier League 12 6
Scotland League Scottish Cup Scottish League Cup Europe Total
2001–02 Celtic Premier League 31 19
2002–03 27 18
2003–04 15 9
2004–05 38 25
2005–06 35 18
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2006–07 West Bromwich Albion Championship 21 5
2007–08 Norwich City Championship 4 0
Total England 253 80
Scotland 146 89
Career Total 399 169


  1. ^ a b "Hartson facing cancer treatment". BBC News. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2009-07-13.  
  2. ^ a b "Hartson told cancer also in lungs". BBC News. 2009-07-15. Retrieved 2009-07-15.  
  3. ^ Hartson, 27–31.
  4. ^ Hartson, 28.
  5. ^ Hartson, 44–48.
  6. ^ Hartson, 55.
  7. ^ Hartson, 89.
  8. ^ "Dons swoop for Hartson". BBC Sport. 1999-01-15. Retrieved 2008-08-07.  
  9. ^ "Coventry complete Hartson deal". BBC Sport. 2001-02-08. Retrieved 2007-04-26.  
  10. ^ "Celtic sign trio on deadline day". BBC Sport. 2001-08-02. Retrieved 2008-01-15.  
  11. ^ "Hartson completes West Brom move". BBC Sport. 2006-06-26. Retrieved 2007-04-26.  
  12. ^ "Hartson hints at Wales comeback". BBC Sport. 2006-06-27. Retrieved 2007-04-26.  
  13. ^ "West Brom 2-0 Hull". BBC Sport. 2006-08-05. Retrieved 2007-07-02.  
  14. ^ "Hartson moves to Norwich on loan". BBC Sport. 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-10-12.  
  15. ^ "Hartson returns to Baggies". Norwich City F.C.. 2007-11-08.,,10355~1162827,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-08.  
  16. ^ "Hartson turns down Chester". 2007-11-22. Retrieved 2007-12-28.  
  17. ^ "Baggies pay up Hartson's contract". BBC Sport. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-01-30.  
  18. ^ "Hartson brings career to an end". BBC Sport. 2008-02-07. Retrieved 2008-02-07.  
  19. ^ "Hartson retires from Wales duties". BBC Sport. 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2008-03-02.  
  20. ^ "Hartson rejects Shire manager job". BBC Sport. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-03-03.  
  21. ^ "John Hartson". Setanta Sports. Retrieved 2008-09-25.  
  22. ^ "A Feast of Football on S4C". S4C. 2008-08-20.  
  23. ^ "Why are men reluctant to seek medical help?". BBC News Magazine. 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2009-07-18.  
  24. ^ "Ex-footballer John Hartson's relief at cancer news". BBC News. 2009-12-04. Retrieved 2009-12-04.  
  25. ^ "John Hartson". Retrieved 2009-07-13.  

External links

Simple English

John Hartson
Personal information
Full name John Hartson
Date of birth 5 April 1975 (1975-04-05) (age 35)
Place of birth    Swansea, Wales
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11+12 in)
Playing position Striker (retired)
Senior clubs
Years Club
Luton Town
West Ham United
Coventry City
West Bromwich Albion
Norwich City
National team
1995-2005 Wales

John Hartson (born 5 April 1975) is a former Welsh football player. He has played for Wales national team.

Club career statistics


Club Performance League
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals
1993/94Luton TownFirst Division346
1994/95ArsenalPremier League157
1996/97West Ham UnitedPremier League115
1998/99WimbledonPremier League142
2000/01First Division198
2000/01Coventry CityPremier League126
2001/02CelticPremier League3119
2006/07West Bromwich AlbionLeague Championship215
2007/08Norwich CityLeague Championship40
CountryEngland 25380
Scotland 14689
Total 399169

International career statistics

Wales national team



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