Aston Villa are a club that have a great history and can boast of being one of the most renowned teams in English football. The club had many legends, which enjoyed a huge popularity among local fans. Norwegian John Carew could be considered one of them, who spent 4 years at the club, but established himself as one of the most notable strikers.
John Carew was born on September 5, 1979. His father was from Gambia and his mother Norwegian. Carew was the first black player in the history of Norway to play for the national team. He has long been the leader of the offence of the Norwegian national team. He played 91 games for the Vikings, scoring 24 times.
John, during his football career, managed to play for Valencia, Roma, Lyon and Besiktas, but he stayed at Villa Park for the longest time.
A huge, almost 6.5ft, Norwegian was a favourite in Birmingham, at least in Aston Villa. He was remembered by the fans not only as a footballer, but also as a simple man: with his own advantages and shortcomings. Carew joined Aston Villa in 2007. Then he was already quite a notable player, becoming the champion of Spain with Valencia in 2001/02 and Lyon in France in 2005/06, 2006/07.
It took John some time to adapt to the British style of play – in his first two months with the Lions, he didn’t score a single goal and then got injured and dropped out of the team. However, the injury did not prevent Carew from visiting the strip club, on the day of the decisive match against Ajax, in the UEFA Cup. Carew declared that he was injured and thought he wouldn’t be registered for the match, so he decided to relax a little and went to the bar.
However local fans claimed to have seen the forward at the strip club. It’s worth saying that the Villa’s then main coach Martin O’Neill was incredibly angry with Carew and fined him a week’s salary.
Fortunately, the English side beat Ajax 2-1 and reached the 1/16 of UEFA Cup (though their campaign for the European Cup ended, after a two-match confrontation, the Lions lost to CSKA Moscow 1-3).
The Northern Irish coach forgave the negligent player, turning the situation into a humorous direction. This was also favoured by the social life of the club’s fans and players. Gabriel Agbonlahor joked that Carew could have found a better place to entertain, and fans composed a whole song dedicated to the Norwegian’s adventures. It is also very surprising but even the gambling industry took part in it which was kind of unexpected. Some betting websites for customers from Norway, seeing such conduct from the Norwegian player, made some funny odds, like “going to the bar” etc. But it was removed after some time.
The footballer himself made a public statement, which further brought him closer to the fans, which in turn increased the popularity of the club.
“I’m John. I’m like everyone else – man! I like to enjoy life as much as everyone else. We’re all human, but sometimes you do things you shouldn’t do. I am sure that in the future I will be wrong. That’s life. I’m just like the fans, the only difference is that I play better football.”
Indeed, in one of the next matches, Carew was embarrassed again. After scoring the goal, he began to celebrate the goal so violently that he accidentally hit the boy with a side flag. To John’s credit, as a sign of apology, he handed the little fan his T-shirt.
There was another memorable celebration when the Norwegian, after scoring a goal in the Birmingham derby, picked up a young Villa fan and with it celebrated a crushing victory over the Blues.
John’s career can be considered quite successful, although the Norwegian himself does not think so. The striker has repeatedly admitted to the media that he has not fully revealed his potential, as he has never fully devoted himself to sports. In total he scored 52 goals in 133 matches for Aston Villa.
Life after football
After retiring, it seems that John has become a more motivated person. Possessing a bright appearance, the Norwegian decided to follow in the footsteps of Vinnie Jones and hit the film industry.
Carew’s first appearance, on the big screens, took place in the low-budget Canadian horror film Dead of Winter. The film was not very popular but did not fail at the same time.
The next film with John was called Høvdinger – a Norwegian film about the criminal world, where Carew played a Russian mobster named Igor.
That didn’t stop Carew from starring in a television series called Heimebane in 2018. The story tells the story of Helena Mikkelsen, the first female coach to lead the men’s football team of the top division of Norway. John played the role of a footballer of the fictional team, headed by Mikkelsen. The series was quite successful, receiving five awards from Norwegian television. Heimebane was also selected at the Berlin Film Festival.
Also, Carew got one of the main roles in the Disney blockbuster Maleficent 2, where he played alongside Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning. The film premiered in October 2019 and received acclaim. In general, the former Aston Villa striker fits into the star-studded party of the actors very well and it is clear that he likes it.
In addition to the film, John finds time for his other hobbies. The former footballer plays golf and takes pictures.
On his website, Carew shows stunning photographs of people and nature. In his welcome address, he writes: “The world is an amazing place. As a footballer, I saw different places and people… I knew I shouldn’t take it for granted – I had to enjoy every moment of my life.
Now that I have completed my career as a professional footballer, I can devote my time to photography: shooting mesmerizing landscapes and charming people. Life is a gift filled with wonderful opportunities. The pictures on my website show its beauty. Thank you for stopping by!”
John is also friends with Prince William, who is also a fan of Aston Villa. This is indeed a rich “retirement” life for the Norwegian player and Carew is already among the top players in Aston Villa.