There are some characters in the game that can just never be replaced and will never fail to put a smile on your face. Big John Hartson is one of them, and seeing him scrap it out in this weekend’s Old Farm Derby reminded me what an absolute legend the man is. And this is one of the key points: he is a MAN, and not a fake tan wearing, prancing haircut in a skin-tight shirt. You can tell he likes the beers, doesn’t give a shit what he looks like, always fancies the physical side of the game, and quite possibly, has to have his shorts tailor-made to be large enough for him. A quick glance at his Wikipedia entry will tell you he has “exceptional agility and amazing balance on the ball.” This is simply not true, but do you think he cares? Hell no! But you best believe he’ll put you through a window if you laughed at him about it.
In his early days at
Looking elsewhere, Big John secured a move downtown to West Ham where he averaged almost a goal every other game for the Hammers. There was however a slight incident on the training ground where Eyal Berkovic tried to headbutt his foot, hurt himself in the process, and then cried about it like a little girl for about a fortnight. In a bizarre twist of fate, this was somehow all caught on camera, and Big John was castigated profusely by the media for what he now calls “an error of judgment.” No charges were pressed, but suffice to say Big John didn’t want to get mugged off any further, and started to look for a move away from
After a couple of years in the wilderness (well, at Wimbledon and Coventry), Big John really found his level north of the border, where a successful five years at Celtic led to numerous titles and accolades. In April 2005 he even shared the Scottish PFA Players' Player of the Year award with Fernando Ricksen, and a short time later in May, was rightly voted the Scottish Football Writer's Association Player of the Year.
Deciding that the Scottish First Division was actually a bit too easy for him, a move back down to
Internationally, he is also a mythical figure, holding 50 caps for
This is what John looks like when you try to mug him off.
So please, everyone, STT emplores you to acknowledge a true British footballing hero; a man’s man who has given everything to the game for over 15 years. Blood, sweat, tears, saliva, vomit, bile, mucus, aqueous humour, earwax, cowper’s fluid, chyle, chyme, interstitial fluid, lymph, pleural fluid, pus, sebum, piss, shit, and yes, even semen. You will respect him.
P.S. For all those readers currently on the look-out for a perfect stocking filler this year, look no further than ‘John Hartson – The Autobiography,’ available from Amazon. I’d hurry before stocks run out though, I suspect girls especially will like it.