John Sutton came from a footballing family, his father Mike played professionally for Norwich City, Chester & Carlisle United, his brother Chris of course is probably the most recognisable as he won the English Premiership with Blackburn Rovers but he also represented Norwich City, Chelsea and Celtic amongst others before going into punditry.
A tall robust forward, John actually had an interest in cricket as a youngster before choosing to follow in his families footsteps with football. His first port of call was to head to London to join Tottenham Hotspur, despite being an impressive reserve he never made the breakthrough into the first team and he was loaned out to Carlisle United and then Swindon Town.
It was actually in the Scottish First Division that he finally made an impression when he enjoyed a fruitful spell with Raith Rovers where he enjoyed getting on the scoresheet 16 times in only 24 appearances.
Millwall were tempted to spend £60,000 on the Englishman but he struggled to make any real breakthrough at The New Den before he returned to Scotland again, this time joining Dundee on loan. The forward enjoyed some decent form personally but the Dee’s slipped to relegation during the 2005/06 season.
His career going forward from this point was spent mostly in Scotland where he represented St Mirren twice, Motherwell twice, Hearts and St Johnstone with one season with Wycombe Wanderers.
Sutton’s time at Love Street with St Mirren was spent fighting relegation, he of course played a pivotal role in their survival, one match in particular stands out, on the 12th May 2007 the Buddies traveled to Fir Park desperately needing a victory as they were battling it out with Dunfermline Athletic to avoid the dreaded drop with the Steelmen in close attendance.
Motherwell were causing 2-0 until Sutton came on just before the hour mark, his appearance paid immediate dividends for the Paisley side, frustratingly his tame headed effort straight at keeper Colin Meldrum managed to squirm through his legs giving the Buddies a lifeline, within minutes they had equalised but John would score with minutes remaining with an absolute howitzer to secure the 2-3 victory which helped them on their way the SPL survival.
It was Mark McGhee who brought Sutton to Motherwell in August 2008 after he had spent one season down south with Wycombe Wanderers, in his first spell he made his debut against Dundee United where he got on the scoresheet, he followed this up with further goals against Hibernian and Celtic.
He proved to be a real handful for defenders, he perhaps lacked a bit of pace but he more than made up for that with his brute strength, aerial ability and finishing, he was always a real nuisance for the opposition from set pieces, he quickly became a popular player around Fir Park. His first season saw a goal return of 12 in all competitions.
The following season he got to enjoy some European football as the club had achieved a place in the Europa League via a fair play award. He managed to better his goal return during the 2009/10 season, this being all the more impressive as new ‘Well boss Craig Brown found a new role for him as an attacking left midfielder. Sutton also played a pivotal role in the sides remarkable come back against Hibernian a game which finished 6-6, Motherwell were of course trading 2-6 at one point before the fightback was sparked.
Other highlights at Fir Park no doubt included getting to the 2011 Scottish Cup Final, but sadly he had to settle for a runners up medal as the Steelmen fell to a 0-3 defeat. His performances and goals en route to the final were vital, his goal particularly against St Johnstone was stunning as he hit a long range effort which deceived keeper Peter Enckleman and nestled into the net giving the side a 3-0 half time lead. He had helped the side get to the League Cup semis earlier in the season but on that occasion it was disappointment as the side lost to Rangers. John scored an impressive double against Celtic in a fine 2-0 win over Celtic at Fir Park on the 27th February 2011.
His fine form at Fir Park didn’t go unnoticed and in May 2011 less than a week after the Scottish Cup Final defeat he signed for Hearts, the big forward struggled to settle at Tynecastle as the Edinburgh outfit were going through a transitional period, which ultimately ended up with them going into administration. He had a spell on loan with Cental Coast Mariners in Australia, upon his return to Scotland he refused a pay cut with Hearts and he was allowed to depart the club, he rejoined Motherwell in June 2013.
Sutton instantly recaptured his old form and showed the Jambos exactly what they were missing out on as he would go on to score 22 goals in the 2013/14 season, including two of which came against his former employers, he played a crucial role in helping the side secure a fantastic 2nd place finish in the Scottish Premiership, pipping Aberdeen in glorious circumstances.
The 2014/15 season was a struggle for the club as not only did they have a real threat of relegation looming as the side struggle for form but they went through a high turn over of player, the club survived via the playoffs by dispatching Rangers 6-1 on aggregate, Sutton had lost his place in the side as Lee Erwin and Scott McDonald were the preferred forward line but John did still manage to finish the seasons top scorer. Essentially he netted with the last kick of the ball in a claret and amber jersey as he scored from the penalty spot in the playoff game in the famous rout of Rangers.
The club had offered him a new contact to stay, but as he wasn’t given assurances of being a regular starter he opted to sign for St Johnstone, but as luck would have it he struggled for form at McDiarmid Park and was a regular substitute and after one season he moved onto Championship side St Mirren where he would finish his playing career before taking his first coaching role with their rivals Greenock Morton.
|John William Michael Sutton
Date of Birth:
|26th December 1983
Place of Birth:
|Carlisle United (Loan)
|Swindon Town (Loan)
|Heart of Midlothian
|Central Coast Mariners (Loan)