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A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS - JOHN SULLIVAN - WIMBLEDON

11 September 2015



With Yeovil Town playing AFC Wimbledon this coming Saturday we take our regular look at a player who has donned the famous colours of both sides in the “Foot in Both Camps” feature.

The game on Saturday takes place at Huish Park with a 3pm kick off – click HERE to buy tickets via the online ticket purchase system.

There won’t be many times during this feature that we profile a player who only ever played on loan for either side or who has played a grand total of 28 times for the sides combined.

But this time we will make an exception for a Goalkeeper with a fascinating story and a brilliant post-football career.

Goalkeeper John Sullivan was probably one of the most underrated loan goalkeepers to don the gloves for Yeovil Town when he joined Terry Skiverton’s men in 2010.

Initially on the books of Brighton and Hove Albion, Sullivan made a dozen or so appearances on the south coast before switching to League One side Millwall.

He would only make the one start for his new side – a JPT game during his first year, but he would make the squad virtually every week during their promotion campaign on 2009/10. He was on the bench at Wembley as they won the play off final vs Swindon.

It was from the Londoners that Yeovil took Sullivan on loan the following year.

He was on trial at Huish Park over the summer of 2010 and played in the Darren Way benefit match which saw Skivo’s side overcome a Man U side led by Ole Gunnar Solskaer.

It was off the back of his performance in the showpiece pre-season fixture than persuaded Skiverton to sign him on for an initial month.

He joined thanks to his connections with Nathan Jones, Ben Roberts and Adam Virgo; three former Brighton men who were at Yeovil Town at the time.

He would start the season as number one playing for the Glovers a total of 17 times after his initial loan spell was extended through until early January.

A niggly injury meant Yeovil were forced into bringing in Stephen Henderson and as a result Sullivan returned to Millwall.

It was later that season that Charlton came in for him, initially on loan, then on a permanent deal.

Over the next two season’s Sullivan was behind Somerset boy Ben Hamer in the pecking order making a few appearances in the cup competitions.

He did however win himself a League One promotion medal with the Addicks in 2012.

More loan spells beckoned, firstly at Colchester and then at Saturday’s opponents AFC Wimbledon.

Wimbledon were struggling at the wrong end of League Two and were forced into bringing in reinforcements when Neil Sullivan (no relation) was recalled back to Doncaster.

He would make 11 appearances as Wimbledon beat all the odds to survive.

Sullivan was on the winning side five times including a very dramatic final day survival.

This image of Sullivan unable to watch as Jack Midson scored the decisive penalty portrayed the drama and tension of the day perfectly.



His performances with the Dons earned him a chance to be Number 1 at a club he was contracted to for arguably the first time when he joined Portsmouth.

Despite this, a couple of errors led to him being dropped at another loan spell, this time at Cambridge in the Conference came along.

It was here at Cambridge where Sullivan’s background would come to the forefront.

He revealed to the Portsmouth News newspaper that he had been struggling with depression and had even locked himself in a Cambridge kit room for an hour and a half after one performance.

His Pompey contract was ripped up at his request and was ready to announce his retirement at just 26 years old.

A fascinating interview – the honesty of which is seen far too rarely in today’s game – depicted his struggles with injury, loss of form and bouncing back from mistakes.

With his football career seemingly over – Sullivan tried once more with Whitehawk FC but his new life had already been calling… in Vegas.

Sullivan was a regular visitor to the States and has turned what used to be a holiday vacation into his life and is now flying high working in real estate in the city of dreams… Las Vegas.

He has two promotion medals in the bag, as well as playing for both Yeovil and AFC Wimbledon in a couple of iconic matches over the last few years but that is a world away from the life he now leads.

A fascinating story of a goalkeeper who probably never played the number of games his ability deserved.

His health is now as good as ever and working the big money housing market of Nevada sure isn’t a bad way to live… but I do wonder if he’s ever watched that Jack Midson penalty.

Yeovil Town host AFC Wimbledon this coming Saturday. Call for tickets now on 01935847888 or click HERE to buy now.

To read Sullivan’s retirement interview in full – Click HERE

For more information on depression right here in Somerset visit http://www.southsomersetmind.co.uk/

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