• Football

Ian St John reveals he has cancer

ESPN staff
June 10, 2014
Ian St John had a successful media career after retirement © PA Photos

Liverpool and Scotland great Ian St John has vowed to "battle on" after revealing he has cancer.

St John, who scored 118 goals for Liverpool between 1961-71, recently had both his bladder and prostate removed. He has suffered another setback after being told he needs more, but less serious, surgery to treat the disease.

"The prognosis is not good because I've got to go back," St John told the Liverpool Echo. "But if they can sort it this time, then hopefully..."

St John, who also struck nine goals in 21 appearances for Scotland, was suffering from bladder cancer for several years before it spread to other parts of his body. "It creeps around down there and the problem had gone from my bladder, where we hoped it would be contained," he said. "It wasn't contained, and it got into the prostate.

"I've had bladder cancer for the last two or three years but it spread into my prostate and therefore the decision was made to remove both of them. That was done 8-10 weeks ago."

St John is determined to fight on and revealed that he has not given up hope of overcoming the disease. He said: "There is nothing you can do about it other than battle on. There is no point in crying about it and saying 'poor me', you just battle on.

"People who have had it will tell you, 'you can get fit again'. I'm getting back to a certain fitness level and gradually getting fitter by the day."

After retiring from football in 1973, St John, 76, went on to entertain millions as part of a TV double act with former Tottenham forward Jimmy Greaves. Their Saturday lunchtime football show, Saint and Greavsie, was famous for its catchphrase 'it's a funny old game'.

Greaves paid tribute to his former co-star: "I spoke to him on the phone at some length a couple of weeks ago and we had a very good chat and a good laugh about the coming World Cup. It goes without saying, me and my family wish him all the very best."

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