In the off-season newspapers are filled with stories about with news of potential transfers, contract talks, disgruntled players etc.
Just occasionally something happens that really underlines how trite and trivial those stories are. This time it’s happened to one of my all-time favourite players.
Former Arsenal, West Ham, Celtic and Wales striker John Hartson has been diagnosed on Sunday with testicular cancer that has spread to his brain.
Hartson went to hospital on Friday after suffering terrible headaches and after undergoing tests was given the terrible diagnosis.
Dr Gianfilippo Bertelli, consultant medical oncologist for the Abertawe (Swansea) Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust, said yesterday: “Mr Hartson attended Singleton Hospital last Friday displaying symptoms consistent with testicular cancer.
“A number of clinical tests were put in place and these have confirmed the presence of testicular cancer.
“Unfortunately, it has also been confirmed that this cancer has spread to Mr Hartson’s brain.
“We are awaiting the results of further tests to establish a full picture of Mr Hartson’s diagnosis.
“We will be commencing a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy as soon as possible and foresee many months of treatment.
“Mr Hartson will continue under the care of the specialist consultant oncologists as we aim for a positive outcome from this treatment.”
The positive news is that testicular cancer has a high survival rate if caught early enough and though he and his family will go through hell in the upcoming months, he is young enough and fit enough to come out the other side.
One of the reasons that I liked John Hartson was that he was totally committed in every game. He was a big, strong player who put in maximum effort in every single game. For a striker who did a lot of the physical work, he scored a lot of goals, like the one below. He also made the transition to TV, commenting on game in Englnd, Scotland and Wales.
If John Hartson can bring the same battling qualities to his fight against cancer then I have every confidence he will be able to see it off.
Get well soon John.