Premier League Career: Nottingham Forest (1998-1999), West Ham United (2005-2007), Aston Villa (2007-2008), Blackpool (2010-2011)
Marlon Harewood played for no fewer than 14 different clubs before hanging up his boots in 2016 after a spell with non-league side Nuneaton Town. His most prolific run came in the Premier League during two top-flight terms with West Ham United.
Harewood was a product of the youth academy system at Nottingham Forest and made his league debut in 1998. He’d already tasted success in a loan spell with FC Haka in Finland, winning the Finnish Cup and the league championship and had another brief loan period with Ipswich Town. Forest were relegated from the Premier League in 1999 but Harewood started to emerge as one of the best strikers in the First Division. He formed a good partnership with his close friend David Johnson and scored 51 goals in 124 appearances for the former European Cup winners.
His contract at The City Ground was due to expire in 2004. The club offered him a new deal but it was a weaker contract which included a drop in wages. Understandably upset, the offer was rejected by the player and he left to join recently-relegated West Ham United for £500,000 in November 2003. He was West Ham’s top goalscorer in 2004-2005, scoring 23 goals in all competitions as the Hammers returned to the Premier League via the play-offs.
Alan Pardew was the manager and he decided Harewood was the man who should spearhead the club’s attack on their top-flight return. Feeling extremely confident because of this, Marlon scored the first hat-trick of the 2005-2006 season, netting a treble in the 4-0 home win over Aston Villa. Two months later, he scored the club’s quickest goal of the campaign, finding the back of the net inside 52 seconds of the 2-1 defeat against Manchester United. In April 2006, it was Harewood’s goal in the FA Cup semi-finals at Villa Park against Middlesbrough that took West Ham into the final at the Millennium Stadium which ended in an agonising penalty shootout loss to Liverpool FC. In total, he finished with impressive figures of 14 Premier League goals and was the club’s top scorer for a second successive season.
Like many of his Hammers teammates, there was a drop in form in 2006-2007 for Harewood, although he did score a famous late winner at home to Arsenal which sparked a dramatic late altercation on the touchline between his manager Pardew and opposition boss Arsene Wenger. However, the arrival of Carlos Tevez and improvement in Bobby Zamora saw Harewood drop down the pecking order.
After scoring just three times that campaign, he decided to leave the Londoners and joined Aston Villa in July 2007 for £4 million. It looked set Harewood was to join Wigan Athletic until a late intervention from Martin O’Neill swayed Harewood’s decision. It did mean he would be just a peripheral figure though which to start with, seemed to be something Harewood was happy to accept. In November 2007, he scored his 100th league career goal in the 4-0 victory at Blackburn Rovers. He scored another four times in the Premier League including a goal in a 2-2 draw at Anfield and the fans seemed to appreciate his work-rate when arriving from the bench.
O’Neill continued to use him as a regular substitute and he didn’t even start a league match in the first half of the 2008-2009 season. When Emile Heskey arrived from Wigan in January 2009, Harewood’s game time became even more limited. His time in Birmingham was coming to an end. He moved on-loan to first Wolverhampton Wanderers, then Newcastle United.
Aston Villa released him in the summer of 2010 and he was linked with a move away from the English game, with clubs from Turkey and the United States expressing an interest in Harewood. However, he stayed in the Premier League by linking up with Blackpool in August and made a fantastic start too, scoring twice in their sensational 4-0 opening day victory over Wigan Athletic. He then enjoyed his return to Villa Park in November, finding the target in Blackpool’s narrow 3-2 defeat. This was to be his final goal in the top-flight.
He was loaned to Barnsley in February 2011 and was released by Blackpool following their relegation at the end of the campaign. He ended his career with second spells with both Nottingham Forest and Barnsley, along with stints at Guangzhou R&F in China, Bristol City, Hartlepool United and lastly, Nuneaton Town.
Since retirement, Harewood has become a co-owner of AC13 Premier, a car modification business who takes requests from some of sport’s most famous stars. Among his clients include Tottenham forward Harry Kane, ex-boxer Carl Froch and Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker.