John Hartson announced his retirement from football today:
Hartson’s 15 year career spanned eight clubs:
- Luton Town: 11 goals in 32 League games
- Arsenal (£2,5m 1995): 14 goals in 43 League games
- West Ham (£3,3m 1997): 24 goals in 59 League games
- Wimbledon (£7,5m 1999): 19 goals in 46 League games
- Coventry (2001): 6 goals in 12 League games
- Celtic (£6m 2001): 88 goals in 125 League games
- West Brom (2006): 5 goals in 14 League games
- Norwich (2007): 0 goals in 2 League games
Here’s a couple of questions and answers from the Four-Four-Two February 2007 One-on-one article with Hartson.
Is it annoying when 20-stone journalists have a go at you for being overweight?
The overweight jibes come because your modern-day player is very slim, fit and has a six-pack. It also comes with being in the public eye and being transferred for lots of money. I’m a big man. I’m never going to look like bleedin’ Thierry Henry. If I went on a crash diet tomorrow I’d never look like that, my shoulders are too big. Players who are naturally big are an easy target. Yeah, I could have been lighter over the years, but I’ve always enjoyed having my food and a drink. If people want to ridicule it, fine.
At several times people have written you off as rubbish. What do you say to your critics?
If I thought I was rubbish, I’d put my hand up. I’d like to think I’ve been an honest player. I’ve never tried to be anything other than what I am. A lot of managers have paid record amounts of money for me, and I’ve worked with the best – George Graham, Harry Redknapp, Joe Kinnear, Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan, Bryan Robson …
Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but I’ve put the ball in the net a lot – so to people who think I’m rubbish, I’d say “Take up tiddlywinks because you obviously don’t understand football.”