Twenty years on from his torrid season at Chelsea, Chris Sutton has told FourFourTwo that the pressure of a £10m transfer fee got the better of him.
The former Norwich, Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham forward joined the Blues in 1999, four years after winning the Premier League with Rovers.
The one-cap England forward played 28 Premier League games for the Blues during the 1999-00 season, but only managed to find the net once – in a 5-0 win over Manchester United – before being sold to Celtic for £6 million the following summer.
And, speaking to FourFourTwo, Sutton says: “I’ve had years of trying to get away from my time at Chelsea because I was crap.
“These things happen, but when you go for big money you’re expected to score goals. People expect a return, and quite rightly so.
“I lost a bit of confidence. It was the first time in my career that I’d done that. As a striker you can’t hesitate, and you need to be proactive and anticipate. I think I hesitated, and if you do that you’re dead.
“But I don’t blame anybody else. I liked Gianluca Villa the manager, so I wouldn’t go down that route of blaming styles or systems of play. It was down to me being bang average.”
Upon joining Scottish Premier League giants Celtic, Sutton teamed up with legendary manager Martin O’Neill – the manager he considers the best of his playing career.
In five years at Celtic Park, O’Neill and Sutton won three Scottish Premier League titles, three Scottish Cups, one Scottish League Cup and a UEFA Cup runners-up medal.
Sutton says: “I really appreciated what I had under Martin. My career was always on an upward curve and everything had been good progression until Chelsea hit me hard, where I was on a low.
“Under Martin, I really embraced being a player and enjoyed my career from then. A lot of it was down to him.
“We had an amazing time together and a good team and I would have run through a wall for him.”
Chris Sutton was talking to FourFourTwo at the BONUSCODEBETS VAR debate in London alongside Paul Parker and Keith Hackett
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