The younger brother of Chris
and the son of former Norwich defender Mike, John followed his
brother through the Hellesdon High School football sides and then
the Norfolk Middle and High Schools. He joined Norwich City when
he was 11 but his route deviated from that of his brother and
he joined Tottenham at the age of 12, for whose Academy side he
played. Already capped at England Under 15 and Under 16 level,
John was considered to be potentially a better player than his
The 2000/01 season saw him score 25 goals in 26 matches for Spurs'
Under17 side including 4 against Reading in one match (a feat
that he achieved the previous season against Birmingham). John
broke through to Colin Calderwood's Spurs reserve side during
the 2001/02 season.
To further his footballing development, John was loaned out
to Third Division strugglers Carlisle United on 4th October 2002
in a deal that was extended to December 2002. After returning
to White Hart Lane, John and Tottenham agreed to end his academy
scholarship and he was free to join Second Division Swindon Town
shortly before Christmas 2002. He made just 1 appearance for the
Robins during a month's contract.
John later trialled with Southend at the end of March 2003, playing
in their 2-0 reserves' victory against Cheltenham and scoring
one of the goals. In April 2003, he accompanied three other former
Canaries (Robert George, Danny
Self and Jamie Window) on a trial
with Cambridge United. In all there were seven triallists in United's
reserve team clash with Reading on 9th April 2003 which they lost
3-2 with Jamie Cureton scoring Reading's
winner. John scored one of Cambridge's two goals.The other triallists
were Shaun Humphries (Stoke), Liam Kearney (Notts Forest) and
Chris Wild (Orient). John then played for Cambridge's reserves
on 23rd April against Gillingham, scoring once in a 3-0 win. This
time, he was accompanied by trialists Daniel
Perry and David Lee.
Cambridge have since announced their intention to sign Sutton
and Lee. It was expected that John would sign for United during
the pre-season but on 8th July 2003, Cambridge announced that
they would not be pursuing signing Sutton any further. A few days
later and a brief trial with Leicester, Raith Rovers announced
that they had signed Sutton. Wonder if his big brother had extolled
the virtues of playing in Scotland ?
John's impressive goalscoring record for Raith saw him naturally
linked with other sides. One rumour suggested that Celtic would
team the two Sutton brothers together. The other suggested that
Millwall were keen to bring John back to London. Another possible
destination materialised in January 2004 when John's agent revealed
that Spanish giants Valencia wanted to bring him in on trial during
the international transfer window. John rejected the Valencia
trial offer but immediatley afterwards, Dundee made an offer to
take him on loan. This was rejected by Raith who stated that if
John was to move, they would seek a transfer fee especially as
two Premiership sides (Manchester City and Southampton) had shown
an interest. In the end, Millwall won the race for his signature,
reportedly paying £110,000 for him on January 30th 2004.
On 28th June 2004, John returned to Scotland, joining Dundee
on a season-long loan, leading to increased speculation that the
Dark Blues' striker Nacho Novo would be
moving to Rangers or Celtic. Although John returned to Millwall,
he returned to Scotland on 31st August 2005 signing a two year
contract with St Mirren. He was a target for Falkirk during the
January 2007 transfer window.
John returned to England at the end of June 2007, signing for
In August 2008 Motherwell manager Mark McGhee made an offer for
Sutton, who had been released by Wycombe Wanderers and is available
on a free transfer. McGhee hopes that the lure of Uefa Cup football
will tempt the 24-year-old, who is also attracting interest from
Falkirk, to move to Fir Park. John completed his switch to Motherwell
on 20th August 2008
Sutton switched to Hearts on 25th May 2011 and scored his first
goals in the 3-0 win over Aberdeen on 13th August 2011
At the beginning of February 2012, Hearts announced that Sutton
was being loaned to Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners.
He won the A-League Premiership with the Mariners but has since
returned to Hearts.
When Hearts went into administration at the end of the 2012/13
season, John refused to take a wage cut and was made redundant.
Sutton has insisted he only moved on as he had been told he had
no future at Tynecastle before the club entered administration.
"I think my mindset changed just after the season. I found
it difficult when I got told I wasn't part of their plans anymore.
At the end of the season I was told that I was very much part
of their plans. We all knew there was a possibility of administration,
but at that point my only consideration was to stay at Hearts
where I still had another year on my deal. A week after that my
representative received a call saying that I wasn't wanted at
the club anymore." He then joined Motherwell on 28th
June 2013 signing a two year contract.
On 15th June 2015, John signed for St Johnstone on a two year
deal. He had scored twelve goals for Motherwell in 2014/15
He moved to St Mirren in the summer of 2016. He remained there until May 2018 when it was announced that he would be leaving the club.
In the summer of 2019, he joined Greenock Morton as coach. He retired from playing in August 2020.
John is also a good cricketer and has played for Norfolk and