Childhood & Early Years
Joe Hart was born as Charles Joseph John Hart on 19 April 1987, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. His father Charles Hart, a former rugby player, sold gym equipment while his mother Louise Hart was a nursery school teacher. Born younger of his parents’ two children, he has a sister named Chloe.
Born into a family with sports background, he first showed his acumen at the age of two when his father playfully threw a ball at him from a distance of 30 feet. Little Joe not only caught the ball, but also threw it back to him.
The incident amazed his father. Previously trained as a PE teacher, he knew that children of that age had neither the motor skill nor the strength to catch balls thrown from much shorter distance.
His father now began to throw the ball from further and further distances, and Hart continued to catch it and throw back. His father was then convinced that it was not a fluke incident and that his son was indeed born with extraordinary physical strength as well as excellent eye-hand coordination.
As he grew up, Joe began to take a special interest in football, deciding to become a goalkeeper at an early age. Throwing himself about and getting covered in mud became a routine for him. He was equally good at cricket; but showed little interest in rugby, which was played by his father and many of his uncles.
Joe began his education at Oxon Primary School. His first PE teacher at the school, Wayne Jones, remembers him as an excellent sportsman, who saves a lot of goals and penalties. He was also good as an outfielder and preferred to remain up front.
Joe was not only a good footballer, his hand-eye coordination was so good that he excelled at every game he played; be it cricket, tennis or hockey. It was sometime during this period that he picked up his first trophy after helping Oxon win the Shropshire county Wrigley’s Kwik Cricket tournament.
For his secondary education, Joe moved to Meole Brace School, where he continued to play football, cricket, tennis, rugby and golf. Although he was not an A-star student, he excelled in academics, and become Head Boy in the final year at Meole Brace.
His academic excellence did not come from any intellectual inclinations, but from the knowledge that if he wanted to play, he would have to perform well in academics. His father was very strict in such matters, and Joe made sure that he completed his homework on time.
He played football at junior level for Shrewsbury Town Football Club, which at that time was in Football League Division Three. Concurrently, he played for Shrewsbury Cricket Club, competing in the Birmingham and District Premier League, and later spending two years in the youth squad of Worcestershire County Cricket Club.
In 2003, 15 years old Joe was selected as a reserve goalkeeper for Shrewsbury Town Football Club’s senior team for their match against the Exeter City Football Club in Exeter on February 1. When on March 1, Shrewsbury Town played against Rochdale A.F.C., he once again joined them as a reserve goalie.
At the end of 2002-2003 seasons, Shrewsbury Town was relegated from the Football League to the Conference status. Nonetheless, as Joe turned 16, he joined the Club as an apprentice, and he was initially required to do various small jobs, such as cleaning boots, making tea and fetching things.
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On 20 April 2004, a day after his 17th birthday, Joe Hart made his Conference debut, playing full 90 minutes in a match against Gravesend & Northfleet, which is now known as Ebbsfleet United F.C. Four days later, he played in a match against Morecambe Football Club, conceding three goals.
After April 2004, he did not get a chance to play for one full year. Shrewsbury Town, which had just returned to the League, was once again battling relegation. Therefore, it chose much older Scott Howie as its goalkeeper.
It is possible that Hart received an invitation to join Worcestershire County Cricket Club as a cricketing staff during this period. But he turned it down, instead joining a Youth Training Scheme in Shrewsbury. His luck changed as Gary Peter became the manager of Shrewsbury Town Football Club.
As soon as Peter saw Hart in the reserves, he knew that he had to manage this 17-year-old boy and decided to take him in the team. The Club supporters thought that he was mad, and the Board Members also expressed their reservations about his choice.
Peter remained firm on his decision, recognizing the talent and composure in Hart – something that his team needed. When his decision was conveyed to Hart, he could not be more excited. Eventually, Shrewsbury Town won by 3-0 against Oxford, and the next four matches ended in draws.
From the beginning of 2005-2006 season, Hart became Shrewsbury Town’s first choice goalkeeper, playing 46 matches for the club. Although he conceded 55 goals in the entire league, he won applaud for his personal performances, and was chosen as the League Two Goalkeeper of the Year.
In September 2005, he was selected as a substitute for England’s Under-19 team, playing a friendly match against Belgium in Darlington, thus making his international debut. Meanwhile, his performance at home had earned him the attention from bigger clubs like Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton and Arsenal.
One of the talent scouts who were watching him closely was Timothy David Flowers, the goalkeeper coach of Manchester City. He found Hart to be an absolute star. Eventually, the club offered him a place, and the contract was signed in May 2006.
At Manchester City
In May 2006, 19 years old Joe Hart joined Manchester City Football Club, receiving a transfer fee of £100,000. Soon after joining, he was informed that he was a third-choice goalkeeper.
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He made his debut for Manchester City on 14 October 2006 against Sheffield United in a Premier League match as the other goalkeepers, Andreas Isaksson and Nicky Weaver, were unable to play due to injuries. The match ended goalless.
In January 2007, he was loaned to Tranmere Rovers, a League One club. He happily seized the opportunity, appearing in six matches and gaining valuable exposure. Since he was a third-choice goalkeeper at Manchester City, he would have missed those chances had he remained with his club.
In February 2007, he along with Ben Alnwick, another goalkeeper, was chosen for the England Under-21 squad, which was scheduled to play against Spain on February 6. Although he was not chosen to start the match, he later joined it as a replacement.
In April 2007, Hart was sent on loan to Blackpool Football Club, helping it to secure a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town on April 9. Later, he played four more matches, all of which were won by his team, including a 6-3 win over Swansea City.
In July 2007, Sven-Goran Eriksson joined Manchester City as its new manager, bringing in a new opportunity for Hart by naming him the first-choice goalkeeper for the 2007/08 season. While it was an amazing gamble on Eriksson’s part, Hart did not disappoint him, proving that he was one of the best footballers in England.
While continuing to perform for the club, Hart made his debut for England against Trinidad and Tobago on 1 June 2008. Meanwhile, as the official squad numbers for 2008-2009 were announced by Manchester City, Hart took the number 1 jersey.
In January 2009, when Shay Given joined Manchester City, Hart lost his position as the first-choice goalkeeper to him and did not appear in any more matches for Manchester City. In June that year, he was sent on loan to Birmingham City for the 2009–2010 Premier League season.
The 2009–2010 Premier League season at the Birmingham City was very successful for Hart, who ended up earning a place in the England squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. His successful stint at Birmingham also enabled him to regain his position as the first-choice goalkeeper at Manchester City.
In 2010-2011, after once again being declared the first-choice goalkeeper for Manchester City, Hart opened the season with a match against Tottenham Hotspur F.C. He saved numerous challenging shots in that match. He played 38 matches in the season, out of which he kept clean sheets in 18, which helped his club win the Premier League Championship.
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Struggle With Form
During 2012-2013 Premier League season, Joe Hart’s form dipped slightly. In spite of that, he won his third Golden Glove Award for making the greatest number of clean sheets in the season. He played a number of international matches and was also included in the UEFA Euro 2012 squad in May 2012.
His form continued to dip during 2013-2014 season, and he was temporarily replaced by Costel Pantilimon for a home match against Norwich City. However, he was soon recalled to the team, eventually winning the Primer League Championship Cup for his club for the second time.
In 2014, he was selected to play in FIFA World Cup. But his performance was not satisfactory and England lost the first two matches. Later, his form improved, and he won the Golden Glove Award for the fourth time. On 13 November 2015, he captained England in a friendly match against Spain.
In 2016, he was included in England's 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2016. Although he played well, he made two vital mistakes during the tournament, prompting the manager of Manchester City to drop him from the first match of the 2016–17 Premier League season.
Hart opened the 2016-2017 Premier League season with a Champions League qualifying match against Steaua Bucharest as the captain of Manchester City. Later in the same year, he decided to pursue a season-long loan with Torino F.C., thus becoming the first English goalkeeper to be signed by a Serie A club.
Debuting on 11 September 2016, he played in remaining 36 league matches in the 2016-2017 season for Torino. Out of 20 clubs in Serie A, Torino finished at ninth position, conceding 66 goals in 38 matches.
On 18 July 2017, Hart signed for a season-long loan with West Ham United, a Premier League club, He debuted for them on 13 August 2017 in a match against Manchester United, which his team lost by 4-0. In the next three matches, he conceded 10 goals.
Awards and Achievements
Joe Hart earned the Premier League Golden Glove award four times. He first won the award in the Premier League 2010/11 season for making 18 clean sheets, subsequently winning the same award in 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2014/15 Premier League seasons for making maximum clean sheets.
In 2011-12 Premier League season, he helped Manchester City win their first Premier League title, and first top-flight title in 44 years.
In 2010, he was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year, and he was voted as the Premier League goalkeeper of the 2009–10 season.