Interview: JOHN HARTSON John Hartson left home at 16 to join Luton Town FC. From there, he enjoyed an immensely successful football career at some of the biggest clubs in the UK and also won 51 caps for Wales. Away from football, John has led an eventful personal life, not least because of his addiction to gambling and a battle with cancer which thankfully he is still winning. Now a father of 5, happily married and enjoying a successful career as a tv pundit, John is aiming to raise awareness about testicular cancer and gambling as well as reminisce about his life in football, in this, his most frank interview ever.
JOHN HARTSON (part 1 of 4)
From a happy but humble upbringing in Swansea to becoming Britain’s most expensive teenage footballer when he signed for Arsenal, here John Hartson tells us how his journey to becoming a top class footballer began. John also addresses his regretful training ground incident with Eyal Berkovic and talks openly about his relationships with his managers.
JOHN HARTSON (part 2 of 4)
In part two, John tells us about how much he enjoyed his time at Celtic FC. But when Gordon Strachan decided to sell him, John hit a low point in his life, realising that his football career was coming to an end. Around this time, he was also going through a divorce and missing his children immensely, pressure which he believes ultimately contributed to his ill-health. He also talks about his immense pride in representing his country, Wales and his ‘hard-man’ reputation.
JOHN HARTSON (part 3 of 4)
Many people are aware of John’s immense battle with cancer. However, it wasn’t just that illness which threatened his life – he says, his gambling addiction also could have killed him. In part 3, John tells us how his addiction started at a very young age and spiralled out of control. Ultimately, it was when his wife Sarah threatened to walk away from their marriage that John realised he had hit rock bottom and things had to change.
JOHN HARTSON (part 4 of 4)
After ignoring a lump in his testicular for years which proved to be cancerous and spread, John Hartson was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer. The odds didn’t look great, particularly when, in hospital, John stopped breathing and needed life-saving brain surgery. After a long journey which he describes here, he is now fighting fit again and on a mission to raise awareness about testicular cancer and how critical early diagnosis is.
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring