Nostalgia

Happy 39th Birthday John Paintsil

John Paintsil was born in Berekum in the Brong Ahafo region of south Ghana on the 15th June 1981 and started his career in his native Ghana at Berekum Arsenal and Liberty Professionals between 2000 and 2002 before moving to Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv where he won the title. He signed for Hapoel Tel Aviv in December 2004, helping them to win the Israeli State Cup and to runners-up spot in the league.

Israeli international and then-Hammer Yossi Benayoun recommended Paintsil to Alan Pardew after loan right-back Lionel Scaloni’s departure from the club. Pardew gave the 25-year-old Paintsil a trial during a pre-season tour of Sweden before completing the £1m signing in August 2006. He was given the number 14 shirt with ‘Pantsil’ on the back – the new signing insisted that the club had spelt his name wrong despite all the official documentation in his transfer referring to him as such. John’s family name is Paintsil but, at birth, it was registered as ‘Pantsil’. This then appeared on his passport and his subsequent registration with the Premier League. Pardew had brought in two other right-backs that summer in Tyrone Mears and Jonathan Spector and it was Mears who got the nod to start the opening game of the 2006/07 season against Charlton. However, Paintsil came off the bench at half-time to replace Mears with the Irons 1-0 down to the ten-man Addicks and the Hammers went on to win the match 3-1. Paintsil would start the next two games, at Watford and Liverpool, but appearances would be few and far between, the right-back only registering four starts and three substitute appearances in total in his first season in east London.

Having started two matches in two days at Tottenham and Chesterfield in October 2006 under Pardew, Paintsil would not make another start for the Hammers until a trip to Arsenal on New Year’s Day 2008. Alan Curbishley had been in charge for just over a year, with Lucas Neill establishing himself as Curbs’ first-choice right-back. Another start followed four days later in a goalless FA Cup third round draw at home to Manchester City but Paintsil’s stop-start Hammers career was put on hold again and he did not feature at all for another two months. A string of appearances from the bench in the early spring was followed by three consecutive starts at the tail-end of 2007/08, in a 2-1 home win over Derby, a 2-2 home draw with Newcastle and a 4-1 defeat at Manchester United. Paintsil’s final appearance for the Hammers was as a half-time substitute for George McCartney in a 2-2 home draw with Aston Villa on the 11th May 2008, the final day of the season.

After 24 appearances and no goals in his two seasons at West Ham United, Paintsil moved to Fulham along with Bobby Zamora for a combined fee of £6.3m on 15th July 2008. After three years at Craven Cottage, Paintsil was released and joined Championship side Leicester on a free transfer on 21st July 2011. The 30 year-old made seven appearances for the Foxes under Sven-Goran Eriksson but did not play a single match following the appointment of new boss Nigel Pearson just three months into the 2011/12 campaign. He was subsequently released in May 2012 and returned to Hapoel Tel Aviv.

After a year back in Israel, Paintsil moved to Cape Town side Santos in South Africa in October 2013 before joining Maritzburg United in the summer of 2014. He was released on disciplinary grounds in January last year following a bust-up with manager Ernst Middendorp and retired from playing in June 2016.

In 2013, it was claimed Paintsil hit his wife, Richlove, and allegedly stabbed her in the eye, although complaints were later withdrawn. In May 2016, after Richlove accused Paintsil of stealing her car, Paintsil reportedly assaulted the investigating officer and the District Commander inside the police station. Paintsil, 39 today, has most recently been the assistant manager of Johannesburg-based Kaizer Chiefs.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish a very Happy Birthday to David Murray, a member of our WHTID Family. Have a great day David!