Thoughts with Hartson

The thoughts of all at West Ham United are with former Hammers striker John Hartson and his family.

The 34-year-old has been diagnosed with testicular cancer that has spread to his brain and lungs and is receiving treatment in his hometown Swansea. Hartson has undergone emergency surgery and is receiving round-the-clock care.

Hartson was a hugely popular player during his time at the Boleyn Ground, scoring 33 goals in 73 league and cup maches between 1997 and 1999. After signing from Arsenal, he memorably scored on his home debut, a 4-3 win against Tottenham Hotspur on 24 February 1997.

He was particularly prolific in his first full campaign, finishing as the second top scorer in the top flight with 24 goals as West Ham finished eighth.

Having enjoyed spells at Luton Town, Arsenal, Wimbledon, Coventry City, Glasgow Celtic, West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City, Hartson retired at the age of 32 and has since forged a successful career in the media.

Fellow forward Tony Cottee summed up the feelings of everyone connected with the club in sending his best wishes.

Cottee said: "We missed each other by about four months at the club but he is a fellow ex-Hammer and a striker as well and I have always got on with him when meeting him on the media circuit. He is a gentle giant and it is very distressing to hear the news. On behalf of everybody at West Ham, our thoughts are with John and his family."