Hardman John Hartson was "a very nice bloke"
HE may have had a hard-man reputation but John Hartson was a tutor to the Coventry City kids back in the day, according to Gavin Strachan.
Strachan made 15 appearances for the Sky Blues in a six-year spell at the club between 1997-2003 during which time his father Gordon was City boss.
Hartson joined the Sky Blues in 2001, scoring six goals in 12 appearances.
But during his short spell at Highfield Road, Hartson played a big role in helping the Sky Blues' youngsters develop their game.
Writing in his BBC Blog, Strachan says the big Welsh forward was "a top bloke" and taught him a great deal about the Beautiful Game.
He wrote: "I always try to treat people as I find them but in this profession that can be quite difficult because of all the media coverage that certain individuals receive so whether you mean to or not you have pre-conceptions about them.
"A case in point being when John Hartson joined us at Coventry.
"I remember my reaction being one of "I hope he doesn't use my head as a football, like he did Berkovic" but upon actually meeting him when he arrived at Coventry's Ryton training ground it was immediately clear that he was actually a very nice bloke.
"I also have to say that John was one of the best players I have ever played with.
"It is a slightly overused terminology (so I am going to use it again!) but he really did have great feet for a big man.
"He was a great asset for any team he played with because you knew that when the ball went up to him, it was going to stick.
"A fact that can sometimes be overlooked but is so important as a starting point for attacks.
"He was also a massive help to the younger lads in the squad at the time.
"I personally learned a lot from him, probably not so much in terms of looking after your body (only joking, big man) but in terms of the type of passes a midfield player needs to make to a striker.
"For example the weight of pass into your striker and trying to keep your pass "safe side" of a defender."