Stern John

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Stern John is a former Trinidadian striker who was born in Trincity, Trinidad and Tobago on 30th October 1976. After moving to the United States in 1995 to join Mercer County Community College, John joined MLS side Colombus Crew in 1998. Stern had previously made a name for himself lower down the football pyramid in the USA with New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers and Carolina Dynamo. The Trindad international was extremely prolific for Colombus, scoring an incredible 26 from 27 in his debut season. He went on to score a further 18 the following season, which earned him a £1.5million move to Nottingham Forest.

John scored just six minutes into his Forest debut against Portsmouth on 24th November 1999. He struggled to make a real impact at The City Ground in his first two seasons though, scoring just five times. His third season was a success though. John scored 13 in 26 in 2001/02.

Birmingham City spent £100,000 to bring John to St Andrews in 2002. The Trinidad striker was rarely a first choice starter for The Blues, but did score some vital goals for the club. One his most memorable strikes came at Millwall in the play-off semi finals in the last minute, which sent Brum to the final in Cardiff (Which they won, earning a spot in the Premiership). John earned a special place in the hearts of every Birmingham fan on 22nd February 2004, when he scored an equaliser in the dying seconds at Villa Park to snatch a 2-2 draw. His final game for the club came against Manchester City on 24th August 2004. John scored 21 goals for The Blues in 81 matches.

John moved to Coventry City in August 2004 and made his debut for The Sky Blues on 15th September against Gillingham. Despite often appearing from the bench, John was Coventry's top scorer in 2004/05, with 11 league goals. The following season John had a spell on loan at Derby after falling out of favour at The Ricoh Arena. On his return to Coventry, John took his tally of goals to 10 at the conclusion of the 2005/06 season. His final six months at the club saw him net 5 from 23 in 2006/07.

Roy Keane made Stern John his 6th signing as Sunderland manager in January 2007, adding to an already top heavy squad. Ironically John had scored against Sunderland earlier in the season for his former club Coventry. In another unlikely coincidence, the Trinidadian front man's debut for The Black Cats came in a home contest against Coventry on February 3rd. Stern scored a brace against Southend on 17th February to open his account for the North East club. He scored two more during 2006/07, helping Sunderland win promotion to the Premiership.

Stern John's one and only appearance for Sunderland in 2007/08 saw him score a last minute equaliser against his old side Birmingham in the second match of the season. A few weeks later John was transferred to Southampton after Kenwyne Jones moved in the other direction. He made his debut as a late sub at QPR on 1st September 2007. The former Birmingham man had to wait until 6th October to get his first goal for Saints, hitting a brace against West Brom. John's form was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dire season for Southampton. He scored a tremendous hatrick against a Hull side who would go on to win promotion to the Premiership on December 8th. On 12th February he scored one of the goals of the season at Stoke. On the final day of the season he scored two goals that kept Saints up against Sheffield United, before being sent off for two bookings. It's fair to say the club would have been relegated comfortably were it not for John's 19 goals.

Cash strapped Saints were desperate to offload high earning John in the summer of 2008. No takers were found however, and he remained at the club for the start of 2008/09. Despite topping the scoring charts the previous campaign, John had to make do with a place of the bench. On September 23rd he scored a screamer in an otherwise dreadful League Cup defeat at Rotherham. John only appeared on two further occasions, joining Bristol City in October 2008 until the end of the season. John's City debut came on 25th October against Barnsley. His spell at Ashton Gate wasn't as successful as he would have liked though. He scored just two times for The Robins, the first coming in a 4-1 defeat against Reading on 1st November 2008.

John returned to Southampton in pre season 2009. Saints were now in a position financially to offer out of contract John a new deal. Shortly after playing in a friendly against Hearts though, Stern turned down the chance to stay at St Mary's and penned a one year deal with Crystal Palace. His debut for The Eagles came on the opening day against Plymouth. It proved to be a day to forget for John however, who sustained an injury in the first half and was ruled out until October. In November, Stern had a spell on loan at Ipswich who were managed by his old Sunderland boss Roy Keane. John's only goal for The Tractor Boys came up against Coventry on January 16th. On his return to Selhurst Park, John scored goals against Watford and Derby, which helped the club in their successful battle to stay in The Championship. John's final appearance for the club came against Sheffield Wednesday on May 2nd. He was released in the summer of 2010.

John returned to Trinidad in 2011/12 to play for North East Stars. In 2012 he had a brief stint with Blue Square North outfit Solihull Motors. John came out of retirement in 2014 to play for St. Joseph based outfit WASA FC

Away from club football, John also had a fine record at international level, scoring an impressive 69 times in 109 matches for Trinidad and Tobago. He made his international debut on 15th February 1995 against Finland, scoring his first goal for his homeland in the process. He went on to represent T&T in the 2006 World Cup, featuring in all 3 games for The Soca Warriors. Only Angus Eve has won more caps for Trinidad than John.