Supporting a football team involves a ridiculous (and frankly disproportionate) level of emotional investment.

Unless you're a fan of a team that wins trophies every year, logic would suggest that a return can never be achieved.

Only it isn't that simple. If it were, as a fan of West Ham United (an English team who haven't won a major trophy in 30 years) common sense would lead me to walk away, or whisper it quietly, change to another team.

It doesn't work like that. You don't change your team. I'm locked in and like most people I can't walk away from it.

Even in the modern era of preposterous wages and lifestyles so detached from the average joe fan, there are still those players that evoke admiration if not identification and maintain that connection the fan has for their team.

In recent times Carlos Tevez falls into that category. Although he only played a relative handful of games for West Ham his commitment, energy and spirit on the pitch made that bond with the fans. Whether he was playing for himself, his ego, his team-mates or his employer it didn't matter. He was playing for the club and the club is the fans. He has continued to play this way for Manchester United over the last two years which explains why the Stretford End crowd beseeched Alex Ferguson to agree a new contract. I suspect the fans at his new club, Manchester City, will have a similar affection for the Argentine.

Players like this are the exception not the rule.

John Hartson is such an exception.

Ten years ago he played for West Ham with this spirit and drive. He made watching my team a joy. Sometimes he battled with his fitness, his weight, his form and yes his off field temper - (Eyal Berkovic won't forget him). But he always performed. He always tried.

My best memory of Hartson's West Ham days was his equaliser against Arsenal in an FA Cup game which took the match to extra time, when he then struck a shot against the bar. Although it was a game we eventually lost on penalties the moment Hartson scored was it. One of the best experiences I've had at Upton Park, just for those few moments. Effort, skill and passion as he powered the shot in the net.

The goals in his first season with West Ham (after he joined towards the end of the campaign with Paul Kitson) kept us in the Premier League.

Whenever he returned to West Ham with subsequent clubs (such as Wimbledon and Coventry) he was always warmly welcomed.

For every club he played for (most notably Celtic), John was a fan favourite until his retirement last year.

To read this week that John has been diagnosed with testicular cancer which has spread to his brain and lungs is desperately sad news.

My thoughts are with John and his family. Fight on John. You always have.