"I would demand a move to Swansea now" - John Hartson opens up about a career regret

Ex-Celtic and Arsenal striker chats to Team 33's Raf Diallo

John Hartson,

eir Sport pundit John Harston pictured at the launch of eir Sport's European Football coverage. eir Sport will broadcast all six of Dundalk's Europa League group games on a free to view basis. The eir Sport pack is the only place to view the rest of the Europa League action including all of Manchester United's games as well as every Champions League game ©INPHO/James Crombie

Born and bred in Swansea, former Wales striker John Hartson has a strong affinity with his hometown.

Unfortunately, for the ex-Celtic, Arsenal and West Ham target man, Swansea City's rise in football terms did not coincide with his own career.

But at one point in the Autumn of 2007, the 41-year-old almost got to finish career with his hometown.

Alas it never happened and it is a slight regret for a player turned pundit who otherwise had a memorable and successful career in other pastures.

Speaking to Newstalk's Team 33 at the launch of eir Sports' European football coverage, Hartson explained why the Swansea move didn't happen.

You can listen to the full interview including his views on European nights at Celtic, Arsenal and Liverpool and his appreciation for Martin O'Neill on the podcast player below. Alternatively, it's all on iTunes:

"I live in Swansea now. That's my hometown team. I went to see [then manager] Roberto Martinez and at the time, a fella with your hair, Jason Scotland, he was banging in goals for them," he told me.

Swansea City's Jason Scotland celebrates winning the Coca Cola League One trophy at Withdean Stadium, Brighton. Picture by: Clive Gee / PA Archive/Press Association Images

"They had Lee Trundle on the left, Andy Robinson and they were flying. They were really going well in the Championship and Roberto said to me 'John, I wouldn't want to bring you in and put you on the bench because I'll have all the crowd saying "get him on, get him on" and at this moment in time we're going really, really well'. So it never quite happened.  

"[It's] one of my regrets really. I don't lay in bed thinking I should have played for [Swansea] because I had a good career and I'm very happy with what I achieved. But it would have been nice for me to have turned out with my hometown Swansea. I played over 500 games and played for some big clubs but for me to have worn that white shirt with No 9 on my back, Swansea City - they might have sold four or five shirts off the back of it and my Mum and Dad would have definitely bought some - but as I said, it would have been something special for me." 

But in some ways, he feels Swansea were better off not giving that chance for another reason.

"But what you've got to realise as well is that I was getting older and Swansea were [rising]. When I was in my prime at 25 at Arsenal, playing in Europe, playing with Bergkamp and Wright, Swansea were in the Third Division. So the timing was never quite right. Look at where Swansea are now. If I was 15 years younger, I would demand a move to Swansea now because they're paying £100,000 a week (laughs jokingly) and that's one of the reasons and they've got full houses. Swansea are a different club now. When I was coming through, Swansea were playing in front of 800 people. The highest paid player was on a grand a week. They're a big club now after six years in the Premier League."   

eir Sport will broadcast all six of Dundalk's Europa League group games on a free to view basis. The eir Sport pack is the only place to view the rest of the Europa League action including all of Manchester United's games as well as every Champions League game.