John Fashanu (//, born 18 September 1962) 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 over 100 goals in all competitions.
|Date of birth||18 September 1962|
|Place of birth||Kensington, London, England|
|1982||→ Miramar Rangers (loan)||11||(15)|
|1983||→ Crystal Palace (loan)||1||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
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.
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.
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, with whom he played in the final of the local equivalent of the FA Cup, the Chatham Cup (he remains the only player 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.
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.
Fashanu's four goals from the remaining nine league games helped Wimbledon seal the final promotion place and they were a First Division side a mere nine years after being elected to the Football League - only the second club in Football League history to be promoted three divisions in four seasons.
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, and would be a regular goalscorer in the top flight for the Dons for a further seven seasons.
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 - as Liverpool had been the dominant side in English football for some 15 years whereas Wimbledon had played just two seasons in the First Division and only 11 as a Football League club. He performed well in the league, scoring 14 goals.
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. 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 Wimbledon's "Crazy Gang" which had built up a reputation for this sort of play, also exhibited by the likes of Vinnie Jones and earlier on by Eric Young.
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.
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. After the end of the season, Fashanu retired as a result of injury.
In 1995 he hit the front pages as well as the back when The Sun published allegations of match fixing against Fashanu, fellow Wimbledon player Hans Segers and Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar. All three players were eventually cleared of the allegations in a subsequent court case.
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. He was also eligible to play for Nigeria and since retiring he has expressed regret in not being able to do so.
Following retirement from the game through injury, Fashanu became a television presenter. He presented the UK edition of Gladiators alongside Ulrika Jonsson in the 1990s. 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 one 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. In 2003, he became the manager of his own Sunday league football team Fash FC as part of a television reality show.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 August 2009, Fashanu, who in 2000 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." Minton said that Fashanu was given false information by the Church of Scientology to attack him.
In pop cultureEdit
- Australian band Magic Lunchbox recorded a song about John Fashanu entitled "Fashanu" on their 2005 album Spastique.
- He appeared on Channel 4's Come Dine With Me for a football special shortly prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
- The satirical current affairs programme The Day Today featured a trailer for a fictional show titled "John Fashanu". The trailer consisted of various clips of Fashanu accompanied by sinister music and a voice-over (Chris Morris) saying the words "John Fashanu" five times. This was followed by presenter Chris Morris pronouncing the name incorrectly.
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". After Justin took his own life in 1998, Fashanu expressed remorse for abandoning his brother.
Fashanu has two sons, Amir and Akio, and two daughters, Alana and Amal.
Fashanu has been married three times, according to a documentary on football culture made by his daughter Amal. He met his first wife, a Spaniard, when they were both 18. That marriage broke up when Amal was two years old.
Fashanu is also an accomplished martial artist who holds a black belt in Karate.
-  Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- White, Clive (26 November 1993). "Football: Mabbutt's skull fractured in Fashanu clash: Referee asks to view the match video". The Independent. London.
- "Premiership Review 1994/95 Aston Villa". Rsssf.com. 26 June 1995. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "John Fashanu One on One". www.fourfourtwo.com. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "Football photographic encyclopedia, footballer, world cup, champions league, football championship, olympic games & hero images by". Sporting-heroes.net. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- Chaudhary, Vivek (19 January 2001). "The big gamble that so nearly paid off". the Guardian.
- "Paper stands by Fashanu fixing story". 27 July 2003 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
- "Football stars cleared over match fixing charges". 8 August 1997.
- "John Fashanu expresses regret at not playing for Nigeria - Goal.com". www.goal.com.
- "Nigeria: Senate backs debt buy-back to reduce external debts". Daily Independent. 2 July 2000. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
- "Football Challenge (2003– )". IMDb.com. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "The 50 worst footballers". Timesonline.co.uk. 4 July 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2015. (subscription required)
- "Nigeria: Tracking The Fashanu Report". Daily Independent. 10 April 2000. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
- "Nigeria: Fashanu in Public Court". Daily Independent. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
- "Season of Apologies". The News Nigeria. 17 August 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
- "Scientology: The Nigeria Debate". YouTube. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "Song Lyrics". Magic Lunchbox. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "Allette Systems". Nonzero.com.au. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "John Fashanu! JOHN FASHANU!". YouTube. 14 May 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "John Fashanu: My Gay Brother is an outcast". The Voice. GV Media Group. 30 October 1990.
- Wilson, Jamie (29 May 2000). "Fashanu's guilt over suicide of brother". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- "Footballers, Sex, Money: What's Gone Wrong?" BBC. 17 November 2015
- Casey, Gavan (25 July 2018). "6 Footballers Who Are Surprisingly Capable Martial Artists In Their Spare Time". balls.ie.
- ^ The IMDb page for the TV show Football Challenge on their website, this is incorrect and the show was actually called Fash FC.
- John Fashanu on IMDb
- Career information at ex-canaries.co.uk
- The Observer, 3 August 2003, Fashanu myth
|New creation|| Host of Gladiators
with Ulrika Jonsson
Jeremy Guscott and Ulrika Jonsson
Jeremy Guscott and Ulrika Jonsson
| Host of Gladiators
with Ulrika Jonsson
Later revived in 2008 with Ian Wright and Kirsty Gallacher as hosts.