The younger brother
of Justin Fashanu , John in many ways
was the more successful of the two. However both of them have courted
controversy with John charged with match-fixing along with Hans
Segers and Bruce Grobelaar.
Although an associate schoolboy with Cambridge United, he was signed
by Norwich in October 1979. He made his debut two years later on
17th October 1981 as substitute at home to Shrewsbury. A successful
goalscorer with the Reserves, John was unable to break into the
first team and made just seven appearances scoring once against
Cambridge in a 4-1 victory that I remember well. A loan period at
Crystal Palace was followed by a £15,000 transfer to Lincoln
City in September 1983. 11 goals in 36 league games attracted the
attention of Millwall who signed him in November 1984.
Wimbledon signed him for £125,000 in March 1986 after 50 games
for Millwall had produced 12 goals. His bustling, competitive play
was central to the success of Wimbledon in the late 1980s with promotion
to Division One and an FA Cup final victory over Liverpool. Personal
success followed in that in 276 league games for the Dons, he scored
107 goals. This scoring rate earned him an international debut for
England against Chile in May 1989. This was joined by a second cap
against Scotland. In the summer of 1994, he surprised everyone with
a move to Aston Villa.
In early 1995, the Sun newspaper made match-fixing allegations against
him, Segers and Grobelaar which led to police involvement and arrests.
He has since retired from football due to injuries. These allegations
have not seriously damaged his likeable off-field reputation that
has been developed via his role as presenter of TV show The Gladiators
and his charity work for Africa. In August 1997, the three players
were found not guilty of these charges although they had to pay
their own legal expenses. For John, this was £650,000.
John is currently business advisor to Norwich boxer Herbie Hide.
He also hopes to gain a FIFA transfer agent's license. In February
1998, John was appointed Sports Ambassador for Nigeria but despite
these roles, John stated that he was interested in managing Wimbledon
following the sacking of Egil Olsen at the beginning of May 2000.
However he would face competition from Vinnie Jones and Aage
In July 2000, John suggested that England's failure in Euro 2000
was due to the lack of black players picked for the national team.
Interviewed in Sport First, he noted that the successful
French side was a team of second generation Africans from Gabon,
Senegal, Ghana and Morocco. "Maybe the fact that England didn't
have enough African players, players who are athletic and natural
on the ball, explains why they did so badly. It is certainly something
that Kevin Keegan has to consider. I still get the feeling you have
to play twice as well if you are black to be considered as a superstar.
But all the evidence shows that black players are at the forefront
of the game - look at Holland and players such as Kluivert and Davids".
Sport First then went on to focus on the black talent available
to Keegan, naming a first eleven (James, Brown, Dyer, Ferdinand,
Campbell, Ehiogu, Sinclair, Taylor, Cort, Heskey, Cole) and a long
list of young contenders that ranges from Ledley King (Spurs) and
Trevor Benjamin (Leicester) through to lower division stars such
as Jason Roberts (Bristol Rovers) and Matt Joseph (Leyton Orient).
On 13th December 2001, it was confirmed that John's company had
made a bid to buy Northampton Town. Despite talk relating to this
lasting through to the summer of 2002, it never materialised.
Instead John was announced on 17th December 2002 as the new chairman
of Welsh Premier League side Barry Town, managed by Kenny
Brown. Fashanu has expressed a desire to make Barry into a
European success by bringing in players from Africa. Former Nigerian
international and Derby defender Taribo West was named as one
of Fashanu's first targets. Although Fash could not locate West
who eventually signed for Yugoslav club Partizan Belgrade, Fashanu
did bring Nigerian Olympic gold medallist and World Cup star Abiodum
Baruwa to Barry in January 2003. He has also negotiated a link-up
with Manchester United and has tried to sell TV rights to Welsh
games to 55 African nations. He has also been appointed Chair
of the Nigerian Football League.
In April 2003, John took part in the second series of "I'm
a celebrity, get me out of here" with the likes of Daniella
Westbrook, Antony Worrall-Thompson, Wayne Sleep etc
Although Barry won the Welsh double in 2002/03 and qualified
for the Champions League, John's dispute with the Vale of Glamorgan
council over outstanding bills for the lease of the stadium led
him to threaten to quit in July 2003. At the end of July, the
News of the World exposed John in an alleged match-fixing
scandal. With the FA promising an investigation, John stepped
down as Barry chairman claiming the pressure of work with his
commitments to new TV show Man vs Beast. John though has
expressed a wish to return to his chairman's role in six months
or so when things have quietened down.