John Hartson, the former Arsenal striker who this week was diagnosed with testicular cancer with metastasis to the brain and now lungs, underwent emergency neurosurgery to relieve pressure on his brain. The Swansea hospital he was operated in released this statement:
“He is currently being cared for by the critical care team at Morriston and is receiving round-the-clock care aiming to stabilise his condition. Unfortunately, cancer has now also been diagnosed in his lungs.
“He will resume radiotherapy and chemotherapy as soon as possible.”
Hartson, the Luton Town sensation joined Arsenal in 1995 on a record transfer fee of £2.5 million for a teenager. He was signed on by George Graham a month before the Arsenal manager was sacked. With his physical strength and desire to win he was fairly successful in his first season scoring 7 goals in 15 appearances. But with Bruce Rioch and then Wenger preferring to pair Bergkamp as the second striker to Ian Wright, the starting opportunities dried up and he was transferred to West Ham in 1997 with Anelka due to arrive. In all he appeared 62 times and scored 16 goals.
His greatest moment with the club came when he scored the equalizer in the 1995 UEFA Cup Winners Cup final against Zaragoza. The match ended with a 2-1 loss as Zaragoza scored a last gasp winner in extra time to become CWC champions.
Hartson went onto becoming a Celtic hero with his goal scoring exploits in particular against Rangers. He was also much appreciated as a honest, plain spoken pundit for now defunct Setanta Sports. He also represented Wales and scored 15 goals in 52 appearances.
His battle against cancer rallied the sporting fraternity which includes cycling great and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong taking a moment off from the Tour De France to offer his support for Hartson. “We’re all thinking about you, John.”
Arsenal also released a statement:
“Everyone at Arsenal Football Club would like to take this opportunity to wish John, together with his family and friends, all the very best in the challenging times that lie ahead. Our thoughts are with you.”