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The Evil Genius
PersonalFullname: Christopher Roy Sutton
aka: Chris Sutton, "The Evil Genius"
Born: 10 Mar 1973
Birthplace: Nottingham, England
Signed: 11 July 2000
Left: 5 Jan 2006
Position: Striker/Forward (but also utilised in midfield or defence on occasion)
Debut: Dundee Utd v Celtic 2-1 (scored once) , SPL, 31 July 2000
International Caps: 1 cap (!)
International Goals: 0
- Scorer of the final goal in dying minutes to give us a 1-0 win and whitewash Rangers for the fifth time out of 5 meetings in 2003-04.
- Scored a goal at Blackburn to knock them out of the UEFA Cup, Blackburn was his old club where he was a legend.
- Member of the famous "SAS" partnership with Geordie legend Alan Shearer at Blackburn Rovers.
- Scorer of the fastest goal in Celtic v Rangers history (just 20 seconds into a game)!
- Nicknamed "The Evil Genius" by the Celtic Support due to his hunskelping credentials!
| "If I could actually go back to any period in my life and just relive it over and over again, I’d go back to when I first signed for Celtic under Martin [O’Neill]."|
Chris Sutton (2011)
What more can be said about this man than he was as important for the club as Henrik Larsson. You read that correctly and that is fully true. Whilst mountains of pieces have been written in praise of Henrik Larsson, Sutton seems to have been overshadowed. Yet in reality the contribution made by this great man can never be underestimated, and at 6ft3 he overshadowed Henke in height at least.
Having been part of the lauded “SAS” partnership (Sutton and Shearer) at Blackburn Rovers which landed them the league title in the 90s , he came to us via Chelsea having had a miserable time there and was wrongly branded a failure. When bought by Martin O’Neill for £6m in 2000, many in England laughed at the price tag and at him. How he was to prove them wrong. Anyhow, when he signed for us he had the basics right when he rightly proclaimed: "I know the expectations of the Celtic fans. That's to win the league and put Rangers in their place." Bless him!
On the pitch, he got off to a flier scoring the winning goal in his debut game against Dundee Utd, but he earned legendary status early taking part in the classic 6-2 victory over Rangers scoring the first and last goal in that game.
Over time he proved that this was no flash in the pan, and scoring against the Huns was something he relished. Scoring a beezer of a goal that sealed the “Whitewash” of 5 wins in a season against the Orcs was just bliss, whilst another of his great achievements included scoring the fastest goal in a Celtic v Rangers match, scoring in just 20 seconds in 2002.
As part of the club, he helped to change our expectations from just becoming top dogs of Scotland to setting our mark in Europe also. The Road to Seville was blessed with some great moments from Sutton, with the great man relishing proving himself against English opposition, especially in beating Blackburn, scoring a tremendous headed goal against his former club (where he is a legend) in the away leg.
His partnership with Larsson in particular was very fruitful, and Larsson is the first to state his admiration for Sutton. Between them they were the best strike force for many a long year, with BBJ Hartson brought in to assist the pair of them later on. Sutton was able to header the ball as hard as some could kick it, quite a frightening thought! He was able to intimidate and bully defences with little effort or foul play, and that got him the advantage & space needed. Some petty critics used to try to label him as a cheat or a diver, but that was just nonsense and there was insufficient examples that could be referred to back that accusation up. He likely just snorted back at them.
Another great asset of the man was his ability to play in different roles, including slotting into midfield or even defence if need be, where his lanky frame allowed him to do so. Defence wasn't his best but he still played the role when need be.
The question is though why is he not as lauded as much as Larsson? To be truthful, he did not have the pure absolute skill or style of Larsson, and unlike Larsson there were those games where you could tell that he simply was not bothered! One example was a game v Rangers where he just seemed uninterested and got himself sent off handling the ball just to get off the pitch.
On top of that, he had a frosty relationship with the press which didn’t help matters, and stories abounded that personally he was quite abrupt with some of the fans. In fairness, those who knew him saw a different side such as Neil Lennon who commented well on Sutton in his biography remarking about the big man's wit and humour. In interviews, he has shown himself to be quite quick witted with a dead pan dry wit to any questions. Worth seeking out his interviews.
One infamous incident was an interview where after we had lost the league on the last day to Rangers, he accused Dunfermline of lying down to them! He subsequently apologised but the arrogant streak was as much a weakness in PR terms as it was a strength on the pitch.
Regardless, on the pitch he produced more than his fair share and proved himself to all of the support. Henrik Larsson even called him the best striker he ever played along with, and note this includes luminaries such as the great Ronaldinho (Brazil), a young Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Samuel Eto!
After MoN’s departure as manager, Sutton’s run in the team was beset by both injuries as well as some animosity with the new manager, Gordon Strachan, which ultimately led to his premature departure. Most of us had wished he'd remain for just a season more at least as he had still more to give.
As like many other Celtic fans, all we can say to him is thanks for the memories! Will always rank as a great player to us.
Post-CelticHe later moved to Aston Villa after an injury hit spell at relegation-bound Birmingham, to be reunited with Martin O’Neill, and then to Birmingham City where he ended his playing days.
Chris Sutton retired in the Summer of 2007 due to an eye injury sustained in the 2006-07 season.
On 28 September 2009 Sutton moved into management when he was appointed manager of Lincoln City, but it didn't work out and he left the role in time, and went back to terrorising interviewers with this dry wit.
|Club||From||To||Fee||League||Scottish/FA Cup||League cup||Other|
|Aston Villa||03/10/2006||31/05/2007||Free||6 (2)||1||0 (0)||0||0 (1)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Birmingham||05/01/2006||03/10/2006||Free||10 (0)||1||1 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Celtic||11/07/2000||05/01/2006||£6,000,000||127 (3)||63||16 (0)||5||8 (1)||2||42 (2)||16|
|Chelsea||05/07/1999||11/07/2000||£10,000,000||21 (7)||1||3 (1)||1||0 (0)||0||3 (4)||1|
|Blackburn||13/07/1994||05/07/1999||£5,000,000||126 (5)||50||9 (0)||4||11 (1)||7||7 (3)||1|
|Norwich||02/07/1991||13/07/1994||Trainee||90 (13)||35||10 (0)||5||8 (1)||3||6 (0)||0|
|Totals||£21,000,000||380 (30)||151||39 (1)||15||27 (4)||12||58 (9)||18|
| ||goals / game||0.36||0.37||0.38||0.26|
Honours with Celtic: Scottish PFA Player of the Year
- Runners-up: 2002-2003
QuotesDavid Tanner (Sky Sports): "Chris, just what is it that has made Celtic champions this year?"
Chris Sutton: "We got more points than anyone else."
Interviewer: "What would you have done if you hadn't been a footballer?"
Chris Sutton: "A funeral director. I like looking at dead bodies."
Chris Sutton, 1999
"I didn’t do well at Chelsea, but Celtic was the best, most enjoyable football of my career. Every day I would wake up looking forward to training, looking forward to working with Martin, John Robertson and Steve Walford. Their sessions were inspirational. If I take anything from them, it is the wish to be fair. Disciplined, but fair. You have to be fair to your players. Others might say different, but, as a player, I would argue that my attitude and application were spot on."
Chris Sutton (2009)
"Chris doesn't like anyone's company. So if he likes Bellamy that is a major plus. If he passes the Sutton test, then he should pass anything."
"If I could actually go back to any period in my life and just relive it over and over again, I’d go back to when I first signed for Celtic under Martin [O’Neill]."
Chris Sutton interview (2011)
"Every time we played Rangers I hated them, I wanted to smash them into the ground, nothing else mattered."
Chris Sutton in his biog (2011)
Interviewer: "If you met Glenn Hoddle now would you shake his hand and have a cup of tea?"
Chris Sutton: "If we were in a tearoom, yeah."
Chris Sutton on SKY TV's Soccer AM
- Sutton Impact
ArticlesNewspaper source (?); July 2010
CHRIS SUTTON never got the chance to say goodbye to the Celtic fans who idolised him.
It's why he can't wait for July 24 when his old club come to play his Lincoln City side at Sincil Bank.
Sutton, signed by Martin O'Neill for £6million ten years ago, has always had regrets about the way his Parkhead exit happened in December 2005.
From the first day he took charge of League Two Imps he hoped a game could be arranged so he would be finally able to acknowledge the Celts fans.
Sutton, 37, said: "I can promise every Celtic fan a warm welcome at Sincil Bank. I hope to see as many as possible.
"I've stated several times that my five years at Celtic were the happiest of my career, while my family loved living in Glasgow. We all miss it.
"The last six months at the club, between injury and then leaving, weren't the best. I left under a bit of a cloud but I can't say enough good things about Celtic and we really appreciate the fact they've agreed to pay us a visit.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Lenny standing in the other dugout.
"It's his first game in Britain since being appointed manager. Celtic will have only just returned from an American tour.
"I see it as a special day - a chance for me to properly say thank you to the Celtic fans for the fantastic backing they gave me. That was my one big regret when I left, that it all happened without the chance to bid farewell and applaud the supporters."
Sutton added: "I was over in Ireland for the weekend as a guest at the annual dinner for the association of Celtic supporters.
I couldn't have got a better welcome. It just brought it home again how good a time it was for me at Celtic. If only I could turn the clock back to the Martin O'Neill days and the old team was together again, winning trophies and beating the best in Europe.
"It's true there's nothing better than playing. I miss everything that goes with it, especially at Celtic.
"As a player I wanted to win every game and I'm no different as a manager - despite the limited resources at Lincoln and the odds being against us.
"It just makes for a bigger challenge but if Lenny ever wants to swap budgets then I'll only be too delighted!"
Sutton Special(The Sun)
By Derek McGregor
CHRIS SUTTON worshipped Martin O'Neill when he was a Nottingham Forest legend.
Little did he know during those childhood days marvelling at Brian Clough's side that he would eventually become an idol of O'Neill's.
The duo worked their magic for Celtic over an astonishing five years which saw them put Rangers back in the shade after a decade-long spell of dominance.
Sutton can't speak highly enough of O'Neill, and coaches John Robertson and Steve Walford, for giving him the happiest times of an illustrious career.
And he dearly hopes he'll meet up with them again on November 7 at a tribute night organised in his honour by Celtic.
Sutton - who recently quit his first managerial post at Lincoln City - told SunSport: "I had other options when Celtic came in for me.
"But the more I thought about them the more they appealed. I'd heard about Henrik Larsson while Martin had a very good reputation as a manager.
"I was born in Nottingham and because of that I supported Forest as a kid.
"Martin, of course, was part of the Brian Clough team.
"Now I'm not saying that was the reason I signed for him.
"But through watching him as a player,then seeing what he did as a manager, I already had great respect for Martin.
"There wasn't a day at Celtic when I didn't look forward to going in for training. Martin, Robbo and Wally made sure it was enjoyable while we had a great dressing rooom.
"Martin just treated you like a human being. He wouldn't treat you badly. That's what makes him a great manager.
"He doesn't talk for the sake of talking. People might have thought he was being harsh but, again, he has a will to win and knows how to treat players.
"He wouldn't lambast everybody, but he wouldn't cuddle everybody either.
"Martin was fair. Sometimes as a player you just have to be honest with yourself, if you've been poor in training or during a game.
"Martin wouldn't miss you and as far as I was concerned you just had to accept it. Some accepted it better than others.
"But I always thought he was exceptionally fair - and that's why I liked him.
"I think every time we ran out for a game we wanted to do well for him. I really believe that. Robbo and Wally were brilliant alongside Martin. They were nice people, but they had the same will to win as the manager."
Sutton was a tormented figure at Chelsea when O'Neill swooped to end his hell - and make him the £6million replacement for Mark Viduka.
The ex-Norwich City, Blackburn and England ace said: "Going to Celtic was like a breath of fresh air for me.
"I put pressure on myself to do well after the difficult year I had at Chelsea.
"I was nervous and didn't know what to expect with Martin O'Neill.
"I was certainly pleased to leave Chelsea and I'm sure they too were pleased to see the back of me!
"For whatever reason I didn't do particularly well at Stamford Bridge.
"Some people thought I'd lost what I showed at Blackburn Rovers and Norwich. But I knew I HADN'T.
"It was just a confidence thing. Going to Celtic gave my career the kiss of life.
"Martin maximised my strengths and I couldn't have wished for a more successful spell at a club.
"With the best will in the world, I was never one of those players who could dribble past four or five guys and then bang a shot into the top corner.
"I couldn't do things like Lubo Moravcik did or even Henrik. But there were other things I could bring to the team - my link-up play and my strength in the air.
"I knew where people were and could read the game OK.
"But I'd never claim to have been the complete footballer."
Celtic, and Glasgow, will always have a special place in Sutton's heart.
And he added: "I'm proud of what I achieved with Celtic and will be forever grateful for the backing I got from the fans.
"They played a huge part in making the experience of being at Celtic so good.
"I didn't enjoy myself at Chelsea - but I don't blame anybody else for that.
"Honestly, if I had the chance to turn the clock back and live my life again, then I'd have another five years at Celtic.
"I really appreciated what I had there and me and the family loved living in Glasgow. We still miss the place."
Chris Sutton: Rangers snubbed me - I made them pay with double in Old Firm debut
Oct 2 2011 Mark Guidi, Sunday Mail
CHRIS SUTTON has revealed Rangers turned down the chance to sign him from Chelsea for £6million in summer 2000.
Dick Advocaat was Ibrox boss at that time but Martin O’Neill didn’t hesitate to bring Sutton to Celtic when he took over at Parkhead.
Sutton revealed: “I may well have ended up on the other side of the divide as I almost had the chance to sign for Rangers.
“My name was put to the club when I was to leave Chelsea but word came back they weren’t interested in me.”
Sutton never looked back. Indeed, his most enjoyable moments in football came when he helped Celtic win Old Firm games.
The Parkhead legend came to Scotland in summer 2000 and vowed to end Rangers’ decade of domestic dominance.
He managed to do that in his first Old Firm game when he scored twice in a 6-2 win and enjoyed even more successes after that during a five-year stay in Glasgow’s East End.
And he revealed it was easy to stay motivated from the moment he clapped eyes on Lorenzo Amoruso and found the big Italian defender simply wound him up the wrong way.
Sutton said: “When I arrived I wanted to put Rangers in their place. I felt strongly about this. I came to Scotland to be a winner and be successful.
“I had a bad year at Chelsea the previous season and wasn’t ready for another. We beat Rangers 6-2 at Parkhead in my first Old Firm game. In that match I was up against Lorenzo and Bert Konterman.
“I found Amoruso to be a good motivation. He fancied himself and had a real arrogance about him.
“That was like a red rag to a bull for me. I wanted to dominate him, show him who was boss.
“I had it in my mind before that game that I wanted to get on the pitch and smash him around. Winning personal battles on the pitch was a big part of my game.
“I used to think about how I was going to get the better of my direct opponent, to out-think, out-muscle and even out-manoeuvre him. We won and I scored twice.”
It was that steely nature, hunger for the fight and a canny knack of netting against their bitter rivals that saw Celtic supporters take Sutton to their hearts within 51 seconds of his debut.
The striker was a big fan of the Old Firm clashes and admits the best part of his career was spent in battles with the Light Blues.
He said: “I also liked playing at Ibrox. The surface was usually good and the atmosphere was always volatile.
“I played on the winning side there on several occasions under O’Neill.
“There was something sweet about stepping in to the lions’ den and beating Rangers on their own turf.
“It gave me a great level of satisfaction to know how much the Rangers fans were hurting after we’d beaten their team. Beating Rangers was great.
“Knowing I’d helped to make hundreds of thousands of Celtic fans happy was extremely satisfying.
“Celtic are like no other team I’ve played for. I still feel so much for Celtic, the club’s fans, the people who work there and my former team-mates.
“I had the greatest five years of my life in Glasgow playing for Celtic under Martin and it’s something I will always treasure.”
Ex-Celtic hero Chris Sutton: I'll never forgive Gordon Strachan for driving me out of club
Oct 2 2011 Mark Guidi, Sunday Mail
CHRIS SUTTON was distraught when he had to leave Celtic after almost six years in Paradise.
And the Englishman blames Gordon Strachan for bringing the happiest time of his career to an end.
In his explosive new book Paradise and Beyond, Sutton lifts the lid on his stormy relationship with the former Parkhead boss.
The striker loved life at Celtic Park under Martin O’Neill after his £6million move from Chelsea in 2000.
He played a key role in helping the Hoops win three SPL titles and regain their credibility in Europe.
But it all turned sour when Strachan replaced O’Neill in 2005.
Within seven months, Sutton was on his way out of Parkhead after a row over his contract - and the pain of that departure is still raw.
chris sutton Image 3
Sutton said: “Martin had spent five years building Celtic up to being No.1 in Scotland again.
“The fans at Parkhead adored Martin so it was never going to be easy for Gordon to follow that.
“There were signs from early in his reign that it might not work out well for me. I found his pre-season training monotonous and boring.
“In his first competitive game we played Artmedia Bratislava in a Champions League qualifier and were battered 5-0. It was a shambles.
“I came off injured when the score was 0-0. Neil Lennon accidentally put his knee into my face and fractured my right cheekbone in four places. It was an incredibly painful injury.
“I went for an operation the following morning. The surgeon had to drill into the right-hand side of my head to put in a plate to help with the cheekbone.
“I was out injured for two months and during that time Strachan never once spoke to me.
“Due to the seriousness of the injury I was very depressed but as far as I was concerned he showed no interest.
“The first time he tried to speak to me was in the players’ canteen.
“I was sitting with Lenny when Gordon wandered past and tried to crack a joke with me. I didn’t laugh.
“His assistant Garry Pendrey was with him. Maybe Gordon felt belittled by me in front of one of his members of staff. At that stage, I couldn’t have cared less what he thought.
“I knew Gordon wasn’t pleased and it came as no surprise when I was asked to see him in his office. There was no small talk on my arrival.
“He asked what my problem was with him. I told Gordon I didn’t have a problem but I was disappointed he had blanked me for two months when I had an injury.
“I told him he could at least have had the decency to phone and ask how I was doing. He said he did phone and I said I never received a call.
“He insisted he had. I insisted he hadn’t. It was a bit like a pantomime. I still maintain I did not receive a call.
“We managed to move on from there but I sensed there was an underlying problem. Between any player and manager there has to be a bond of trust and I was starting to feel any bonds we had were loosening.
“But I was then back in the team and Gordon had me playing at centre-forward. I was looking forward to helping the club win silverware.
“During November, Gordon and I had conversations about my contract. He made it clear he wanted me to sign a one-year extension to keep me until the summer of 2007.
“There was a clause in my contract stating if the club wanted me then my wages would remain the same.
“But things then began to stall. Gordon came to me just before Christmas and said there was still a deal on the table but it would not be on the same money.
“The contract would be based heavily on appearances and I would be taking a drastic cut.
“I told him it was a non-starter. Gordon said he would go back to the board about it but he never gave me another definitive answer.
“I was being asked to take a cut of between 50 and 60 percent. The money, though, wasn’t the point.
“The point was it was written into my previous contract that I would get a certain amount of money.
“Now let’s turn this one around. Had I said I was happy to sign again but not on the terms we’d agreed earlier - I now wanted £18,000 per week more - would that have been fair of me? No, of course it wouldn’t. It would have been bang out of order.
“I believe it was Strachan’s decision to let me go. We agreed I could find a new club and I eventually signed for Birmingham in January.
“There was no way I could have continued to play for Strachan. He would have driven me nuts.
“During my final few weeks at Celtic I was sad and depressed.
“I didn’t want to leave but couldn’t stand it under Gordon. I couldn’t trust him.”
Sutton was then stunned when he bumped into Strachan at a hotel a couple of months later and was greeted like an old friend.
He said: “My wife Sam was down in Birmingham that day with three of our boys. They were distraught at having to leave Celtic and were all still upset when they came face to face with Gordon.
“But Strachan chatted to me as if we were good friends. It was also the first time he’d ever met Sam and as he talked to her I could see she was ready for telling him what she really thought.
“I was gobsmacked at the way he chatted to us all. Maybe he was simply oblivious to it all and didn’t know what a wrench it was for me and my family to leave Celtic and Glasgow.”
By David Potter (from KeepTheFaith website)
Born in Nottingham in 1973, Chris Sutton has been a remarkable asset for Celtic since he joined the team in the summer of 2000. He was piqued apparently at Chelsea 's refusal to play him in the English Cup Final of 2000, and when Martin O'Neill appeared on the scene, he showed no reluctance to join Celtic. Nor was Martin reluctant to shell out a Club record fee for Sutton.
Hitherto Chris had played for Norwich City , Blackburn Rovers and Chelsea . He was a tough competitor but did have a tendency to get himself into trouble, and the feeling often was that the three English teams had not seen the best of Chris Sutton.
But he was an instant success at Celtic, teaming up brilliantly with Henrik Larsson and scoring in the first minutes of his first Glasgow Derby (the 6-2 game, in which Chris Sutton netted a brace) to win an early place in the hearts of the Parkhead Faithful.
Yet his disciplinary problems kept following him, his most high profile red-carding being in the 2001 League Cup Final, when perhaps Mr. Dallas was a little too hard on him.
He won all the Scottish medals in Celtic's 2000/01 Treble season, the League Championship followed again in 2001/02 and Chris was of course very unlucky to miss out on more major honours in 2002/03. His comments about Dunfermline ‘lying down' at the end of the trophy-less but memorable 2002/03 campaign, although getting him into a great deal of trouble, were no more than a reflection of his natural aggression and frustration. Indeed most Celtic supporters (and not a few disgruntled Dunfermline supporters) were in agreement with him.
In season 2003/04, in which Celtic stormed to absolute domestic dominance, winning the League and Scottish Cup Double, and in which the Green And Whitewash was won (all five of Celtic's encounters with Rangers were Celtic victories), Chris Sutton was a very major player. Who can possibly forget Chris Sutton's 90 th minute scorcher against Rangers, when the Englishman scored a sublime goal from distance to secure the Green And Whitewash.
Chris Sutton has a great deal of similarities to the mighty Jimmy Quinn of a century ago. He is quite prepared to involve himself in the rough stuff, and although he has suffered more injuries than most players, is always prepared to come back for more. He is more than a mere goal-scorer, for he is a fine distributor of the ball and an inspirational leader of the line – a goal-maker and goal-taker!
Of course, when Chris Sutton played alongside the Henrik Larsson, Celtic had the almost perfect strike partnership – goals galore, skill, movement, aggression and flair. A nightmare for any opponent – both at home and in Europe! Chris was often the perfect foil for Henrik Larsson, with whom he had an almost telepathic understanding.
When deployed as a midfielder, Sutton is aggressive, combative and influential for the entire team – a fierce competitor - and his attributes as a central defender are considerable too.
He is a totally versatile player – almost the complete player, in fact - in that he can also play in the defence if called upon to do so, using his height and power to great advantage. He can break up an attack and clear a ball, just as competently as he can create opportunities at the other end of the field.
It could not of course be said that Chris Sutton was born and bred a Celt. This of course does not matter. What matters is that he is now as committed a Celtic player as we are ever likely to see. He is a Celtic supporter now. Chris is now over thirty. He still has a few years left in him. Let us hope that we still have a lot to see of this very fine player in the green and white.
One thing perhaps disappoints Chris about his career. He has never really tickled the palate of the England establishment enough to give him a run in the International team. He has played one game as a substitute against Cameroon in 1998, but has never impressed them since. Perhaps we should be glad about that!
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