Daily Archives: July 18, 2009

Be Strong John Hartson

The biggest Dons related news story, in fact in my opinion the biggest football related story this summer has been the news John Hartson has had to undergo emergency brain surgery following being diagnosed with testicular cancer that has spread to his lungs and brain. Whether you liked Hartson or not, I’m sure all of us understand the tragedy of someone of his age fighting for his life. Plus I’d like to think nearly all Dons fans would consider Big John as something of, if not an icon or legend, certainly a cult hero.

During his two season cameo he showed a real desire to perform to his best while wearing a Dons shirt. His sending off at Bradford could be put down to a lack of professionalism. Yet if I had been in his position, as a Wimbledon fan, I could never claim I wouldn’t have done the same. That linesman was a cheating bastard anyway. As supporters all we want to see is a player showing as much passion for the cause as we do. Unfortunately it showed in the wrong way on that miserable day in West Yorkshire, only for him to channel that sense of injustice in the right manner in our last home game.

hartsonWith Aston Villa leading entering injury time, and the large home crowd sensed all might be lost, there was one man who still believed as Wimbledon won a corner. Hartson noticed David James was all at sea, timed his run to perfection and nodded in what should have been the goal that kept us in the Premier League. Despite what followed, how many of us still rate that as one of their finest moments as a Dons fan? I rate that feeling, standing on my seat in the front row of the Upper Tier of the Holmesdale Road Stand roaring out songs of defiance with 8,000 fellow Wombles (and strangely one Kingstonian supporter), alongside the emotional end to AFC Wimbledon’s first friendly at Sutton, and an FA Cup triumph that even a young eleven year old could properly appreciate on that hot afternoon at Wembley, after the longest three quarters of an hour of my life before that final whistle blew.

The high points of football aren’t always the victories. Its great to celebrate another title, but it doesn’t beat those moments when all seems lost, something happens that lets you dare to dream once more. John Hartson gave me one of those moment in 2000. As he gave those moments to Luton fans, where he started his career as a powerful, raw young striker, during some memorable cup ties at Kenilworth Road. And of course he really developed into a world class striker during his time at Celtic, where he rightly became a true football legend.

Yet as the man himself said ‘If anyone can beat this, I can’. If John makes a full recovery from this horrible disease he can become a hero and roll model far beyond even his achievements as a footballer. He can give hope to those who have none, to cancer sufferers up and down the country. But perhaps most importantly, if just one person reads about him, gets themselves checked and a cancerous lump is discovered early, he will have given more than hope. He will have saved a life. And that is an achievement that dwarfs even ‘that goal’ as far as I’m concerned.

Good luck, John.

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The General Specific (Friday 17th July ’09)

The big news of the week is… this blog is back!

While you recover from the news that your favouritea blog you sometimes read is now back after a two week hiatus thanks to a move and subsequent lack of internet access, I’ll get down to a roundup of news since my last appearance on Sunday when I should have been visiting family but actually wrote a pretty long match report on the Wycombe game which has rightly drawn comment over several paragraphs dedicated to my love of chips, and dislike of people who leave trays of chips untouched. Still, it blew away a few cobwebs.

ISLEOFMANAs you may have gathered, my half arsed attempts to gain sponsorship for a trip to IOM came to nought, so like most of us I will be tuned into WDON for most of Saturday. Sorry for a lack of Tournament Preview, I did start researching it at work but found the whole IOM football scene so fascinating I wasted two lunch hours reading up on it. I think I’ve missed the boat now… Naturally I will be giving comment on whatever happens, and all I’ll say now is if someone gets injured it better be worth the spike in replica shirt sales from IOM residents – if Man U have the Far East sewn up, perhaps we should concentrate on small islands in future. Who’s up for the Faeroe’s next summer?

On top of that, the reserves kicked off their campaign with a 1-4 defeat against Merstham at Colliers Wood United. The Anon Don would have been there, had I not only found out about it 1 hr 45 minutes beforehand. Anyway, I’ll be at the Cove game after it was helpfully arranged for 1200 on the same day we play Farnborough at 1500.

I’ll be back with more news tomorrow, as it’s getting on a bit now (in fact it’s well into Saturday morning!). However before I started writing this I penned a short article of great importance, which will be posted immediately after this one.

Until then…

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