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The recent slump endured by the Columbus Crew has critics talking about the need for a pure goal scorer to play alongside the ever youthful Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Eyes have turned back to one of the most prolific scorers in Crew history, Stern John.

John, 33, is currently recovering from knee surgery, but is eyeing a comeback with Columbus. He has been going through rehabilitation and training with the Crew with the idea of officially joining the MLS side this winter. John has been a spectator at several Crew home games this summer, but hopes to be much more in a matter of months.

“I am going to rehab and get myself back fit,” Stern commented when asked about his plans. Many believed that if healthy, John would have signed with the Crew immediately after the 2010 World Cup.

There are no doubts about John’s confidence and international experience. “I think I am capable of scoring goals still,” the Trinidadian striker continued. “The league is looking really better. It is way different now.” It may be different, but his 44 goals in 55 games from 1998-1999 is still awe-inspiring. Just as impressive is his player resume that include time spent with Crystal Palace, Birmingham City, Southampton, Nottingham Forest, and of course the Trinidad and Tobago National Team. His time with T&T has become the stuff of legends, scoring 69 goals in 109 appearances.

It now seems that John and the Crew need each other. The key benefactor in this new relationship would be the Crew’s loyal fans. “The fans are amazing,” John stated. “The team was losing like 4-0, they are still singing. As a player that goes a long way.” The award-winning striker was and will surely be a fan favorite once again. He definitely understands this obligation and is already making reacquainting himself with fans, signing autographs after one game in particular.

Stern John wants another chance with Columbus, but will the Crew take him back?
By Shawn Francis (

Everybody has that one old boyfriend or girlfriend that they’ll never forget, the one that makes them smile every time they think of their time together. Sports fans are the same. We all have an “old flame” of a player out there who’s no longer with our club but we still get a little misty-eyed thinking about them.

For old-school Columbus Crew fans Stern John is that player. In 1998 the T&T-born striker took the league by storm, earning a place in the Best XI and winning the title of MLS Scoring Champion (the predecessor to the Golden Boot) with an outlandish 26 goals. Playing alongside Brian McBride the two formed one of the most fearsome strike forces ever to grace MLS. In short, the guy was damn good. Unfortunately for Crew fans he was too good because after another stellar season in 1999 (18 goals) he left Ohio for England, where he would spend the next 10 years playing for the likes of Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City.

But John is back in Ohio rehabbing after a knee surgery and talking about a return to the Crew, something that’s sure to make the hearts of a few Columbus fans skip a beat. But as anyone who’s ever come across an ex on Facebook knows, the present isn’t always as pretty as the past. At age 34 John could be well past recovery (see New England’s recent release of Edgaras Jankauskas) or perfectly ripe (34 year-old Juan Pablo Angel currently sits second in the Golden Boot standings with a very respectable 13 goals). To take him back would be a risk by Columbus but one that might well be worth taking. Something to keep an eye on come camp time in January.