Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Former teammates Johnson, Harvey shocked by Shelton's illness

Published:Saturday | October 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Luton Shelton (left) and wife Bobbette share a laugh during a recent interview at their home in East Kirkland Heigths.
In this September 21, 2014 photo, Christopher Harvey (right) of Harbour View FC challenges FC Reno’s Denmark Gillings for a high ball during a National Premier League match at the Harbour View Stadium.

As the news spread last week ago about Luton Shelton's battle with the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), two of his former national team-mates have expressed shock at the 32- year-old's challenge.

The illness affects Shelton's nerve cells, brain, and spinal cord and the record-breaking national striker has lost a significant amount of muscle mass as well as his ability to speak coherently.

Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson and Christopher Harvey, who both played alongside Shelton, said they are distraught by his illness.

"It is really a sad situation at the moment to just hear what he has because you never wish these things on anybody," said Johnson, who currently represents Tivoli Gardens in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL).

"I hope he recovers because Luton is really a good youth and a good person, and so, I hope everything goes well for him," added Johnson, who played with Shelton in the national team.

"He came to Bolton [Wanderers] on trials when I was there, me and Bibi (Ricardo Gardner)," said Johnson of Shelton, who scored his last goal against Tivoli in 2017 for Harbour View in the RSPL.


'Like family'


"He is like a family to me and to my son. When I played on the national team, Luton was the man at the time, and so, it is really sad seeing what he is going through right now. When I saw the thing on TV, it was really sad to look at and I was sad just looking at it," he said.

Harvey, who had been a team-mate of Shelton's at Harbour View for more than 15 years, said the striker's situation has taken a toll on him since he heard the news.

"It shake me up and it mash me up completely, knowing that me and [Shelton] used to be family and we are still family, because when you are playing football together for so long and know that he is going through this, is really tough," said Harvey.

"When I first heard about it, I said it is nothing serious and Luton will be okay and so I wasn't worrying like I am worrying now," he said. "Just to think that there is a possibility that Luton might lose his life

brings tears to my eyes and so it is not a good feeling knowing that you are going to lose someone who is close to you, is not a good feeling," said Harvey.

Shelton is Jamaica's most prolific goal-scorer with 35 international goals.

Meanwhile, proceeds from Harbour View's Monday night game in the RSPL at the Harbour View Stadium against Mount Pleasant will go towards Shelton's medical expenses.

Members of the public can also make contributions to an official Gofundme account that has been established for the striker, as well as to his National Commercial Bank, local account, Oxford Road Branch, Account No. #214233150.