Liverpool Hero Ian St John Reveals He Is Battling Cancer

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2014

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17:  Liverpool football club Shankley gates prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on August 17, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool legend Ian St John has confirmed he has undergone surgery to remove both his bladder and prostrate in a battle against cancer, reported by the Irish Mirror:

St John, who also represented Motherwell, Coventry and Scotland in a fondly remembered career, spoke honestly about the disease which has slowly developed in recent times, per Paul Byrne of the Mirror:

Cancer, it creeps around down there and the problem had gone from my bladder, where we hoped it would be contained, but 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 admitted his options include chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but his specialist believed it "might be better" to remove the offending areas. The 76-year-old Anfield star, who spent a decade representing the Merseyside club, also admitted the "prognosis is not good because I've got to go back," per Byrne's report.

Bill Shankly signed St John for £37,500 from Motherwell in 1961, a decision that helped thrust the Reds into an era of success. St John netted 118 times in 425 appearances, and even scored the winner against Leeds in the '65 FA Cup final, remembered by Liverpool's official website.

He also represented Scotland 21 times, scoring nine goals.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 15:  Liverpool supporters attend the memorial service marking the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster at Anfield stadium on April 15, 2014 in Liverpool, England. Thousands of fans, friends and relatives took part in th
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Readers of a certain age may remember Saint and Greavsie, an ITV programme which ran between 1985-92. This tongue-in-cheek football show—which threw charismatic Englishman Jimmy Greaves in front of the camera with the more straight-faced St John—remains a highlight for football comedy shows to this day.

Greaves understands his television partner's condition and wishes him the speediest of recoveries, reported by Byrne:

I am obviously well aware how unwell Ian is. 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. I will give him a ring in a week or two to see how he is getting on. It goes without saying, me and my family wish him all the very best.

Twitter reaction toward St John's news continues to support a man who is well loved in the football world and beyond. Liverpool even took to social media to wish their former star a happy birthday on Saturday:

St John faces an operation to "mop things up" in the coming weeks, foretold with his well-loved sense of humour, per Byrne. He is a strong character, someone who always appears to look for the positive, and remains in the thoughts of the football world as we head into a busy summer.