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Rebirth of the Hart in Bhutan

English striker Jay Hart has signed a few weeks for Thimphu City FC in Bhutan, already scoring in his very first game. An extraordinary debut for a player with quite an extraordinary story...

Jay Hart celebrating after scoring for his first game with Thimphu City FC in Bhutan

Fabrice Deschamps
From Amsterdam

There are millions of great stories in football, as there are millions of sad ones. Jay Hart, playing for Thimphu City FC, combined these two aspects. After having been submerged in a pretty bad story in England, he is now bouncing back far away from home, in... Bhutan!

This English striker was playing for Clitheroe in the reatively anonymous Northern Premier League Division One North back in 2015. Towards the end of the season, he got caught in what can be called a sadly banal story: having sex in the team's dugout with a woman, he was filmed and the video went viral on social media.

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The consequences were profound, as Hart lost everything after this incident: his girlfriend, who is also the mother of his two children, left, and he was fired by his club. A few months of depression, drinking and drugs followed in what could easily be called a highway to hell.

"I used to go to the pub on my own and I couldn't tell you how many beers I'd drink on a weekend. You feel like it helps your situation at the time but it never does. It came to a point that every weekend I'd spend most of my working wage on beer and cocaine (...). There were times I'd cry myself to sleep and wished I never woke up. If it wasn't for the people around me I might have ended up taking my own life", he recently explained to BBC Sport.

Jay Hart has just signed for Thimphu City FC in Bhutan

It is finally thanks to the support of another player, Billy Kee, who himself went through depression, that Hart made his way back. Three months after having been sacked, he found another club, Colne, in the North West Counties League Premier Division. After a few years in different local clubs, Hart then got an offer from Bhutan...

Thimphu City FC, founded in 2012 and one of the big shots in the League, was willing to strengthen their squad. Newly appointed coach Josh Shepherd knew Hart from their time at school, and asked him if he’d come and play for the team.

Hart took the offer and came in May this year, now acclimating to the country and visibly enchanted. "It's a beautiful country, the people don't have much but they are so appreciative. You never see them sad, they are always smiling", he told BBC Sport.

And on the field, it did not take him long: on his debut on 22 June, playing against Druk Stars FC, the English man scored the only goal of the game after five minutes and ended up Man of the Match, no less than that... The start of a fairy-tale Mister Hart?

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