The Coventry City Former Players Association is very pleased to announce that a relatively recent (Sept.2011) signing for CCFPA, John Hartson, has accepted our invitation to become our special guest for the upcomimg Tuesday evening game against Leeds United on Tuesday 14th February. .
John will be remembered as a combatative (and sometimes controversial) centre-forward whose relatively short spell with CCFC was none-the-less an inspirational one in the club’s valiant but unsuccessful attempt to avoid relegation from the top flight in the 2000-01 season.
Capped 52 times for his country, the rugged Welsh centreforward was much in demand and clocked up transfer fees of over £13m in successive moves between Luton Town, Arsenal, West Ham United and Wimbledon during the 1990s. This shows the value placed by his clubs on his muscular but skilful goalscoring prowess (63 goals in 207 appearances overall). Regular and reliable goalscorers are hard to come by and John was both.
Sky Blue manager Gordon Strachan signed him in February 2001 on a pay per play deal from Wimbledon when we were looking for another of our famous do-or-die end of season escapes from relegation. For a while, John’s stirring leadership (in a classic centre-forward role), contributing 6 goals in his 12 games, provided some grounds for hope (though relegation was eventually confirmed in a disappointing 3-2 defeat at Villa Park in our penultimate game in the top flight).
The big Welshman made an immediate impact on his arrival at the City helping to win a point at West Ham and scoring in his home debut in a 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic. He led the line with aplomb supplying leadership qualities missing all season - skilfully holding the ball up and always creating problems for defenders. Only two of his first 8 games were lost. However this crucial signing came far too late for the club and at the end of this fateful season John was snapped up by Celtic in another multi-million pound deal. In 5 seasons with the Scottish club John picked up numerous League and Cup honours and in over 200 first team appearances clocked up another 109 goals before moving to W.B.A. in 2006 and finishing his career on loan at Norwich City.
Since hanging up his boots in 2008 John has faced and overcome a serious medical condition and now can often be seen providing match analysis with Sky and other media outlets. John will be ‘doing the rounds’ of the Ricoh lounges before the event, will be available for interview by local media, will likely be introduced to the crowd at half time and will appear with the Association’s Billy Bell on the stage of the Lady Gs after the game. John will also be signing copies of his autobiography in the G-Casino and proceeds will be devoted to the John Hartson Foundation ( for Testicular Cancer Awareness and Support) (http://www.johnhartsonfoundation.com/). The Foundation is worthy of your support and can also be found on Facebook. (CCFPA will also be organising a collection in the G-Casino after the game).