John William Michael Sutton (born 26 December 1983) is an English footballer who plays as a striker and is currently in his second spell with St Mirren. He has played for a number of clubs in England and Scotland as well as Australia throughout his career, and also represented England at Under-15 and Under-16 level.
Born on 26 December 1983 in Norwich, England, Sutton was a promising youth cricketer, representing Norfolk at various age levels. He was a modest batsman and useful off-spinner of moderate pace. He started his football career as a youth trainee with Tottenham Hotspur and as part of their reserve squad. Whilst playing at under 17 level he scored 25 goals in 26 games. In 2002, he went on loan with Carlisle United (where he scored his first career goal against Cambridge United) before agreeing to be released by Tottenham and signing on a months contract with Swindon Town.
In 2003, Sutton joined Raith Rovers. He made a quick impression at Raith, scoring 13 goals in 20 league appearances for the Scottish Football League First Division club. Several clubs enquired about his availability in January including Valencia where he spent three days on trial, Dundee and English Championship club Millwall, who signed him for £60,000. He failed to make an impression at Millwall, playing just 4 league matches. He did however contribute to Millwall's run to the 2004 FA Cup Final, coming on as a substitute against Tranmere Rovers in their quarter-final replay.
He returned to Scotland on a season-long loan with Scottish Premier League side Dundee, making his debut on 7 August 2004 in Dundee's 1–0 defeat to Hearts. He scored his first goal for the club the following week netting the winner in the 47 minute in their derby win over Dundee United. His form proved better back in Scotland scoring 8 times in 33 league appearances.
On 31 August 2005, he joined Scottish First Division club St Mirren on a two-year contract, making his debut on 10 September 2011 against Queen of the South, He scored his first goal for the club three days later against Stenhousemuir in the Scottish Challenge Cup. Sutton was sent off on 26 December against Queen of the South after a challenge with Jim Thomson. He scored 17 goals in all competitions that season, helping them win promotion to the Scottish Premier League in his first season.
In total, Sutton made 75 appearances scoring 30 times for the club. With his contract expired at the end of the season he became a free agent in May 2007. In the interview with Daily Record on 5 October 2013, Sutton stated joining St Mirren saved his career and that the playing style was the "enthusiasm for the game".
On 28 June 2007, he signed for Wycombe Wanderers, making his debut on 11 August against Accrington. Sutton scored his first goal for the club on 2 October against Barnet in their 2–1 defeat. On 19 August 2008 after one season, Sutton's Wycombe contract was cancelled by mutual consent. In all Sutton made 48 appearances scoring six times for the club.
He then signed for Scottish Premier League club Motherwell on a three-year contract. He scored on his debut against Dundee United on 23 August and followed it up with a 79th-minute winner against Hibernian a week later. Sutton continued his impressive start to his Motherwell career with a consolation goal against Celtic, an equaliser against his former club St Mirren and the winner against Falkirk, bringing his total to an impressive five goals in his first six league matches. On 2 February 2009, Sutton scored a brace in Motherwell's 3–0 Scottish Cup victory over Inverurie Loco Works. In his first season, he scored 12 goals in 31 appearances in all competitions.
Motherwell qualified for the 2009–10 Europa League through the FIFA Fair Play Award and were drawn against Welsh club Llanelli in the first-qualifying round. In the first-leg in Scotland, Llanelli shocked The Steelmen 1–0, but Sutton scored twice in the return leg as Motherwell won 3–0 to progress through to the next round, where they were drawn Albanian side Flamurtari Vlorë. In the first-leg in Albania, Sutton scored from the penalty spot early in the match, but the referee ordered a retake, which he missed. There did not seem to be any infringement before the kick was taken and manager Jim Gannon blasted the decision as Flamurtari won 1–0. Sutton's penalty miss did not matter at all, as Well blew the Albanians away in the second leg at Fir Park, winning 8–1, although Sutton did not score in this match either, nor did he score in either leg of the third qualifying round tie with Steaua Bucureşti, as Motherwell lost 3–0 in Romania and 3–1 at home to go out 6–1 on aggregate. Sutton netted a brace in the historic 6–6 draw with Hibernian on 5 May 2010. He finished the 2009–10 season with a total of 14 goals in 38 appearances.
On 27 February 2011, Sutton scored twice as Motherwell shocked Celtic 2–0 at Fir Park, and on 16 April 2011, Sutton scored a screaming half volley from outside the box in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final against St Johnstone. His final appearance for Motherwell came in the Scottish Cup Final losing 3–0 to Celtic at Hampden Park. He finished the season as their top scorer with 17 goals.
On 25 May 2011, Sutton signed for Heart of Midlothian (Hearts). Making his debut against Rangers at Ibrox on 23 July. Sutton started the first three matches of the season including Hearts Europa League tie against Paks, in which he won a penalty. His fortune changed under new manager Paulo Sergio as his appearances became limited to substitute appearances and the odd start prompting doubts about his future at the club. He scored his first goals for the club on 13 August against Aberdeen scoring twice in Heart's 3–0 win in one of his few starts. Despite this Sergio and Sutton denied he didn't have a future at the club. John Sutton came on as a substitute in Hearts 3–1 victory over Hibernian in the Edinburgh derby on 2 January 2012 to assist 2 goals. In his debut season he made 18 appearances, scoring 3 times before being sent on loan in February 2012 to Australian side Central Coast Mariners.
On his return he played in Hearts four pre-season games scoring three times, becoming Hearts main striker under new manager John McGlynn. Sutton stated on his return that If Sergio was still in charge then I wouldn't be anywhere near the first team. On 4 August 2012, Sutton made his debut for the second time scoring from the penalty spot in a 2–0 win over St Johnstone. After Hearts entered administration in June 2013, Sutton was made redundant by the club as he refused to accept a pay cut. Following his departure, Sutton explained his action that he will feature less in the first team and insists he's no traitor to Hearts, having admits joining the club was a mistake in the first place.
Central Coast Mariners (loan)
It was first reported on 26 January, that Australian A-League club Central Coast Mariners were one of several clubs interested in acquiring Sutton on a loan deal. Other clubs that were believed to also be interested were St Mirren and even rival Hibernian The Mariners soon entered into discussions with the player, in the hope of securing him on a 4-month loan as a replacement for recently departed striker Matt Simon, and hoping to fill the void left by youth international Bernie Ibini-Isei who will be joining up with the Australian U-20s. On 31 January 2012, it was announced that the move had been finalized pending international clearance. On 3 February it was confirmed Sutton had signed a 4-month loan deal and would join up with the squad the following week. Sutton made his debut on 18 February against Wellington Phoenix in their 2 – 0 win.
Motherwell (second spell)
After being made redundant by Hearts, Sutton signed for Motherwell for a second time on a 2-year contract on 28 June 2013 and will wear number nine shirt. Sutton he made his second starting debut in the first leg of the third round of Europa League, in a 2–0 loss against Kuban Krasnodar. Motherwell would be eliminated after Kuban Krasnodar proved to be too strong and failed to win either legs losing 2–0 and 1–0 respectively.
Sutton scored three straight games since his return against Partick Thistle, Kilmarnock and St Mirren. Two weeks later, on 28 September 2013, Sutton scored his first brace of the season, as Motherwell win 2–0 against Ross County and scored another against Ross County on 14 December 2013, with a 2–1 win for Motherwell. After sixteen goals so far in twenty league appearance, Manager Stuart McCall described Sutton as the key signing of this 2013–14 season.
Sutton was involved in the 92nd minute winning goal from Craig Reid in the 1–0 league victory at Aberdeen on the last day of the 2013–14 league season on 11 May 2014. It was a victory which seen Motherwell secure second spot for the second season running, leapfrogging Aberdeen in the process.
His first goal of the 2014–15 season, was the winner in a 2–1 league win at Ross County on 13 September 2014. He then scored his first goal at Celtic Park in the next match, a 1–1 league draw at Celtic on 21 September 2014. Sutton scored in three consecutive league matches in December 2014, in games against Ross County, St Mirren and Partick Thistle. The latter two strikes gave new Well manager Ian Baraclough back-to-back 1–0 victories in his first two games in charge. He registered two more league goals in January 2015, in a defeat at Dundee and home draw with St Johnstone. Scott McDonald, after returning to Motherwell in February 2015, regularly partnered Lee Erwin upfront for the remainder of the season, with Sutton regularly settling for a place on the bench.
Sutton, on as a late second-half substitute in both games, did score back-to-back braces in successive home wins against Hamilton Academical on 20 March 2015 and St Mirren on 7 April 2015. He converted a penalty in a 2–1 defeat at St Mirren in the penultimate league match, a defeat which consigned Motherwell to a Scottish Premiership relegation play-off spot. Sutton's Motherwell did survive relegation though, routing Rangers in the process by a 6–1 aggregate scoreline in the play-off final to retain their league status. Sutton converted another penalty in the 3–0 second leg home win to round off the scoring.
He finished the season as top goalscorer at Motherwell again, with 13 goals from 43 appearances.
Sutton signed a pre-contract agreement with St Johnstone on 15 June 2015. He was due to sign for St Johnstone on 1 July, after his previous contract was due to expire, but Motherwell granted him an early release on 17 June. Sutton scored on his Saints SPFL debut against former club Hearts in a 4–3 defeat for his new club.
St Mirren (second spell)
After leaving St Johnstone, Sutton rejoined Scottish Championship side St Mirren in June 2016, signing a two-year deal with the Paisley side.
Sutton made his second debut in a League Cup group stage win at Livingston on 16 July 2016. He scored his first goal since his return to the club in the Renfrewshire derby against Greenock Morton in a 1–1 home draw on 6 August 2017. Sutton netted four times in total on route to the Challenge Cup final, including registering a very late brace against Ayr United in a 2–1 win in the quarter-finals. He played the full match in the final, but Dundee United beat St Mirren 2–1 to win the trophy on 25 March 2017.
Sutton scored on his 100th start for St Mirren (across two spells), also against local rivals Greenock Morton in a 4–1 away victory on 11 April 2017.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Continental||Other||Total|
|Carlisle United (loan)||2002–03||7||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||10||1|
|Central Coast Mariners (loan)||2011–12||8||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||10||1|
- Scottish First Division: 2005–06
- Scottish Challenge Cup: 2005–06; Runners–up 2016–17
- Scottish Cup: Runners–up 2010–11
- Scottish Premiership Play-offs: 2014–15 (Prevented relegation from top division)
- Scottish League Cup: Runners–up 2012–13
- A-League: 2011–2012
- Scottish Football League Young Player of the Month: August 2003, November 2005
- Scottish Football League Player of the Month: March 2006
Sutton is the son of Mike Sutton and the brother of ex-Celtic striker Chris Sutton.
Sutton is married to a Glaswegian woman and they have twin sons.