John Hartson

John Hartson

3 stars

  • Welsh International That Beat Cancer
  • Available For Q&A

John Hartson (born 5 April 1975) is a former Welsh international footballer who played as a striker, best known for his spells with West Ham 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

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. As a youngster Hartson represented Lonlas Boys’ Club in Skewen, playing his first match aged six. 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

Hartson won 51 first team caps for Wales, scoring 14 goals. 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 hat-trick 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 but in August that year he stated that he would come out of retirement to play if John Toshack needed him

In July 2009 it was reported that Hartson would undergo chemotherapy after being diagnosed with “testicular cancer which has spread to his brain”.It was later reported the cancer had spread to his lungs and that he remained in a “critical condition” following emergency surgery. 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.

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

On 4 December 2009 the BBC website reported that the cancer had been virtually eradicated from Hartson’s body although he would have more surgery and treatment to come. By January 2010, Hartson was well enough to appear as a pundit for ITV’s coverage of the 2009/2010 FA cup.

On 11 April 2010 Hartson appeared as a guest in ESPN’s “Talk of the Terrace”, where he revealed that he had had over two hundred carcinogenic cells in his body but through treatment all of them had been eliminated and not a trace of cancer was left in his body.

John is available for Q&A (Questions & Answers), and will happily chat to you regards anything and anyone from his career involving West Ham Utd, Arsenal, Celtic, Wimbledon, Wales and of course more recent his plight with the dreaded cancer. John has much to talk about and will give you a great event.