John Fashanu

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John Fashanu
Personal information
Full name John Fashanu
Date of birth (1962-09-18) 18 September 1962 (age 52)
Place of birth Kensington, London, England
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Norwich City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–1983 Norwich City 7 (1)
1982 Miramar Rangers (loan) ? (?)
1983 Crystal Palace (loan) 1 (0)
1983–1984 Lincoln City 36 (11)
1984–1986 Millwall 50 (12)
1986–1994 Wimbledon 276 (107)
1994–1995 Aston Villa 13 (3)
Total 383 (134)
National team
1989 England 2 (0)
Teams managed
2003–2004 Fash FC
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

John Fashanu (/ˈfæʃən/, born 18 September 1962) often referred to as Fash is an English television presenter and former professional footballer of Nigerian (paternal) and Guyanese (maternal) descent. In his former career, he was a centre-forward from 1978 until 1995, most notably in an eight-year spell at Wimbledon F.C. in which he won the FA Cup in 1988 and scored a little over 100 goals in all competitions.

He also played for Norwich City, Miramar Rangers, Lincoln City, Crystal Palace, Millwall and Aston Villa. He scored 134 league goals in a career lasting 17 years. He was also capped twice at senior level by England, but failed to score on either occasion.

Following his football career he went on to co-host British television show Gladiators in the mid-1990s, and between 2003 and 2004 he managed his own Sunday league football side Fash FC on Bravo.

Early life[edit]

Fashanu was born in Kensington, London, the son of Pearl Gopal, a nurse from British Guyana and Patrick Fashanu, a Nigerian barrister living in the UK. When his parents split up he was sent, together with his older brother Justin to a Barnardo's home. When he was five, he and his brother were fostered by Alf and Betty Jackson and were brought up in Shropham near Attleborough, Norfolk.

Football career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Fashanu's footballing career began at Norwich City in 1979, and he turned professional two years later – just as his brother Justin was transferred to Nottingham Forest from the relegated Carrow Road club.

Norwich were promoted straight back to the First Division in 1981–82, but Fashanu managed just five league appearances and scored once. He managed two appearances in the 1982–83 First Division campaign – which would be his last for the club.

He had brief loan spell with Crystal Palace and also played in the English off-season in New Zealand with Miramar Rangers,[1] with whom he played in the final of the local equivalent of the FA Cup, the Chatham Cup (he remains the only played to have played in the final of both the English and New Zealand major cup competitions). He joined Lincoln City on a free transfer on 23 September 1983, when they were in the Third Division. He scored seven goals from 26 league games that season, and managed four from 10 league games the following campaign before his £55,000 transfer to Third Division promotion challengers Millwall on 30 November 1984. It was an exciting first season at The Den for Fashanu, who scored four goals in 25 games but helped the Lions reach the FA Cup quarter-finals (where they lost at Luton Town in a game marred by fans who invaded the pitch) and secure promotion to the Second Division. He managed eight goals from 25 games in 1985–86, before leaving to join Wimbledon.

Wimbledon[edit]

Fashanu made a £125,000 move to Second Division promotion contenders Wimbledon in March 1986, when they were pushing for a third promotion in four seasons as they looked to complete a rapid rise from the Fourth Division to the First. At the time, he was the club's record signing.[2]

Fashanu's four goals from the remaining nine league games helped Wimbledon seal the final promotion place and they were a First Division side barely a decade after being elected to the Football League.

Fashanu and his colleagues settled well into the First Division, surprising all the observers by finishing sixth in the league (briefly topping the table in early September) and finishing above traditional big clubs including Nottingham Forest and Manchester United. Fashanu was Wimbledon's top scorer with 11 league goals.

In 1988, Fashanu helped Wimbledon win the FA Cup, beating Liverpool in a final that was billed as a "rags versus riches" affair, although the two clubs were separated by just six places in the First Division. He performed well in the league, scoring 14 goals.

He also scored Wimbledon's goal as Liverpool defeated them 2–1 in that year's Charity Shield. Fashanu claimed two England caps – against Chile and Scotland in a friendly tournament in May 1989.

During his time at Wimbledon, Fashanu scored 126 goals. His best season was 1990–91, when he was the First Division's second highest scorer with 20 goals as his side finished seventh.

He received criticism during the (1993–94) when a clash with Gary Mabbutt, then Spurs captain, in an aerial challenge left the Spurs defender with a broken skull and eye socket.[3] Fashanu had already established a reputation by that point of being an aggressive and physical striker, and this was seen as another example of that behaviour (at that time synonymous with Wimbledons "Crazy Gang").[3]

Aston Villa[edit]

On 4 August 1994, just before the start of the 1994–95 season, Fashanu was sold to Aston Villa for £1.35million. However, injury restricted him to just 13 games and 3 goals for a Villa side who narrowly avoided relegation that season. He managed a goal on his Villa debut when they drew 2–2 at Everton on the opening day of the Premier League season, his other two goals coming in successive games against Queens Park Rangers and then Nottingham Forest in January. [2]

Fashanu's last game was on 4 February 1995 away at Manchester United in a Premiership game that they lost 1–0. In a tackle with Ryan Giggs he snapped his knee ligaments and was stretchered off. [4] After the end of the season, Fashanu retired as a result of injury. [3]

International career[edit]

Fashanu represented England at full International level gaining two caps – against Chile and Scotland in the 1989 Rous Cup, due to his good form at club level for his then club Wimbledon.

Post-football career[edit]

Following retirement from the game through injury, Fashanu became a television presenter. He presented the UK edition of Gladiators alongside Ulrika Jonsson in the mid-1990s where he became well known for his 'Awooga' catchphrase. In 2003 he came second in the second series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!. Later that year he presented Fash's Football Challenge, a reality television show that followed Fashanu managing an amateur football team. Also in 2003, he fronted a six-part series for ITV1 based on the American format Man vs. Beast, however following protests from animal rights groups, the series was never broadcast. He also released a video "Focus on Fitness with Fash". He is now host of Deal or No Deal Nigeria, airing on M-Net Africa.

Since retirement Fashanu has also maintained his sporting connections, becoming involved with the Nigeria Football Association, and as chairman of Welsh football team Barry Town for a year, vacating this post in 2003.

In 2000, he also compiled, all with an investigator, a report on corruption in Nigeria in the 1980s and 1990s that came to be known as the Fashanu Report.[5] In 2003 he became the manager of his own Sunday league football team Fash FC as part of a television reality show.[6]1

In September 2005 Wimbledon Old Players’ Association was launched. John is involved in the Wimbledon Old Players' Association, an organisation set up by the Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association. He said: "It’s going to be great to be back as part of the Wimbledon family. As an ex-Wimbledon player, I know all about the heroics of the likes of Roy Law and Dickie Guy in the old days, as well as what the new boys have been doing at AFC Wimbledon".

In 2007, The Times named him 22nd out of the 50 worst footballers to have played in the Premier League.[7]

In August 2009, Fashanu, who in 2000[8] accused Bob Minton and Ibrahim Babangida of stealing money from Nigeria, apologised saying "I can say it again and again, that there was nothing like debt buy-back or any billions stacked away in any account anywhere."[9] Minton said that Fashanu was given false information by the Church of Scientology to attack him.[5][10][11]

Honours[edit]

Wimbledon

  • F.A. Cup winner – 1988

In pop culture[edit]

  • The satirical current affairs programme "The Day Today" featured a trail for a fictional show entitled "John Fashanu". The trail consisted of various clips of Fashanu accompanied by sinister music and a narrator (Steve Coogan) saying the words "John Fashanu" five times. This was followed by presenter Chris Morris pronouncing the name incorrectly.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Fashanu, who was the younger brother of Justin Fashanu, disowned his brother after the latter came out as gay, telling The Voice that Justin was "an outcast".[15] After Justin took his own life in 1998, Fashanu expressed remorse for abandoning his brother.[16]

Fashanu has two sons, Amir and Akim, and a daughter, Alana, with former wife Ivorian model Melissa Kassa-Mapsi, who is a daughter of a wealthy Ivorian diplomat;[17] the couple divorced in 2004.[18][19] Fashnu lived with Spanish model Marisol Acuna Duenas for nine years and they have one daughter together.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Miramar Rangers website
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ a b White, Clive (26 November 1993). "Football: Mabbutt's skull fractured in Fashanu clash: Referee asks to view the match video". The Independent (London). 
  4. ^ "John Fashanu One on One". www.fourfourtwo.com. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Nigeria: Senate backs debt buy-back to reduce external debts". Daily Independent. 2 July 2000. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  6. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382421/
  7. ^ The 50 worst footballers, The Times, 4 July 2007
  8. ^ "Nigeria: Tracking The Fashanu Report". Daily Independent. 10 April 2000. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  9. ^ "Nigeria: Fashanu in Public Court". Daily Independent. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  10. ^ "Season of Apologies". The News Nigeria. 17 August 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  11. ^ The Nigeria Debate Xenutv recorded in 2000 (See 1:24 mark or the Q and A discussion)
  12. ^ "Magic Lunchbox Discography"
  13. ^ "Nonzero Records: Catalog"
  14. ^ "John Fashanu! JOHN FASHANU!". YouTube. 2006-05-14. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  15. ^ "John Fashanu: My Gay Brother is an outcast". The Voice (GV Media Group). 30 October 1990. 
  16. ^ Wilson, Jamie (29 May 2000). "Fashanu's guilt over suicide of brother". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  17. ^ "How Fash got his cash - News - London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. 2003-04-29. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  18. ^ How Fash Got His Cash
  19. ^ The Curse of I'm a Celeb

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The IMDb page for the TV show "Football Challenge" on their website, this is incorrect and the show was actually called "Fash FC".

External links[edit]

Media offices
New creation Host of Gladiators
1992–1996
with Ulrika Jonsson
Succeeded by
Jeremy Guscott and Ulrika Jonsson
Preceded by
Jeremy Guscott and Ulrika Jonsson
Host of Gladiators
1999–2000
with Ulrika Jonsson
Show ended.
Later revived
in 2008 with Ian Wright
and Kirsty Gallacher as hosts.