Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2013
Date and Place of Birth
15th November 1977 - HARROGATE
Transfers to and from Burnley
from SUNDERLAND - 16th March 2006 (£750,000 after initial loan)
to CHARLTON ATHLETIC - 18th January 2008 (£2 million)
First and Last Burnley Games
STOKE CITY (a) - 18th March 2006
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE (h) - 12th January 2008
LEEDS UNITED, BURY (loan), NOTTINGHAM FOREST,
PRESTON NORTH END (loan), OLDHAM ATHLETIC (loan),
BRADFORD CITY, SHEFFIELD UNITED, SUNDERLAND
CHARLTON ATHLETIC, BARNSLEY, LEEDS UNITED, BRADFORD CITY
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
In January 2006 Burnley, as they had done a year earlier, sold the club's leading goalscorer. This time it was Ade Akinbiyi and it left manager Steve Cotterill with just five days to try and find a replacement, and at a significantly smaller price than that we'd received from Sheffield United for Akinbiyi.
Rumours were flying round as to who might come in but the strongest were suggesting Sunderland's Andy Gray alongside Michael Ricketts in a loan deal from Leeds. Ricketts duly arrived on loan, Gray didn't. The rumours had been true, but time had run out on the Gray deal and we weren't just able to complete it in time.
He was the player Cotterill wanted and just under seven weeks later he got his man as Gray arrived from Sunderland on a loan deal until the end of the season, and a deal that was to be followed up with a permanent move once the next transfer window opened.
Gray had started his career with Leeds, and that was no surprise. His dad Frank was a former Leeds player whilst his Uncle Eddie will always be remembered by Burnley supporters who were at Elland Road in 1970 when he scored their two goals, goals that are still often shown today on television.
Despite playing in a League Cup Final for Leeds he struggled to make an impact there under the management of George Graham. He enjoyed a month on loan at Bury in the 1997/98 season in a side managed by Stan Ternent, and playing alongside former Palace and Spurs midfielder Andy Gray.
Just after the start of the 1998/99 season Dave Bassett paid £200,000 to take him to Nottingham Forest but in four years he failed to establish himself at the City Ground and during his first season there he twice came back to the north west on loan, firstly with Preston and then with Oldham.
It was his transfer to Bradford City in August 2002 that changed things for Gray. He'd been employed mainly as a winger at his previous clubs but Bantams boss Nicky Law opted to play him as a striker. His first home goal for them came in that incredible 2-2 draw against Burnley at Bradford early in the 2002/03 season when referee Mike Dean sent off both Mark Bower and Danny Cadamarteri. He also scored in the return fixture that season as they won 2-0 at Turf Moor.
Such was his form, and being a striker, he was snapped up by Neil Warnock after just a season and a half at Bradford and if anything he got even better at Bramall Lane. In his one full season there (2004/05) he scored the first competitive goal against Steve Cotterill's Burnley on the opening day of the season and again netted in both games against us in that season.
His exploits earned him a move to the Premiership in August 2005. He'd already scored the first Championship goal of the season as Sheffield United beat Leicester 4-1 and a week later he was in the Sunderland team on the opening game of the Premiership season and scored their goal in a 3-1 home defeat against Charlton.
Things didn't work out too well for him there. The home fans didn't like him and that goal on his debut proved to be the only goal he was to score for them. He'd cost them well over a million but they settled for a £750,000 from Burnley to follow the loan.
How desperate we were for someone to score some goals. Blake gone, and then Akinbiyi gone, and we'd just gone five games without a single goal when he arrived. Gray made his debut at Stoke but despite a better performance it was the same old story and again we failed to hit the net, going down 1-0.
Six days later, and in front of the Sky cameras, it changed. After an awful start that should have seen Norwich well in front we finally scored and it was Gray, on his home debut, turning well to hit home. By the end of the season he'd scored twice more as we ended 2005/06 with only one defeat in the last eight games.
Our form, and certainly Andy Gray's, continued into the 2006/07 season. He scored in the first away game at Leicester, but was sent off in the next one at Sheffield Wednesday. But as the Clarets stormed into the promotion places it was always Gray amongst the goals. He scored twice in away wins at Norwich and Luton whilst memorably heading home the late winner in the 3-2 derby win over Preston.
When he scored our second, and the eventual winner, against Leeds in November he'd reached double figures in league goals and looked all set for twenty goals in a season for the first time. Then disaster struck. Towards the end of that game he left the field with an injury that was later confirmed as three broken metatarsals.
By the time he came back we were in a terrible run of form, and he was so far short of match fitness he was unable to have much of an impact. Thankfully the goals returned, as did the team's form, in the last month or so of the season.
The 2007/08 season was also a productive one for him, and again he netted twice in two away games, at Colchester and at Charlton, although on both occasions the second goal was from the penalty spot.
He was our leading scorer but those goals at Charlton in December proved to be very significant. Apart from giving us a memorable second away win in a week under new manager Owen Coyle, they also strengthened Charlton boss Alan Pardew's resolve to get him to the Valley and set about trying to sign him.
The rumours started and Gray's form dropped. He played another eight games for us without finding the net and then in the build up to the game against Coventry at the Ricoh the club accepted an offer for him after twice turning bids down.
Gray was left out of the squad for Coventry after claiming to be 'not in the right frame of mind to play' and by the time we took to the field he had signed for Charlton on an emergency loan to enable him to make his debut for them that evening at Watford.
Six days later, on Friday 25th January 2008 he became a permanent Charlton Athletic player in a deal that guarantees Burnley £1.5 million and could net us £2 million.
It is hardly likely there could be many Burnley supporters pleased with the move. He'd proved a popular player from the start, as goalscorers are, and I'm sure most would have expected us to move heaven and earth to keep him.
But following his move manager Owen Coyle said: "I have to say that I am extremely disappointed to lose a player of Andy's calibre. As a striker myself, I know how supporters take to a goalscorer and Andy was certainly a great servant during my time at the club.
"However, it remains a fact that he came to see me three times asking to leave the club and, on the last occasion, informed me that he did not feel in the right frame of mind to play in last weekend's game at Coventry.
Burnley fans should know here and now that I would rather play a 16-year-old kid every week than pick somebody whose heart is clearly no longer in the club."
At the time of Gray's departure, Charlton were thought to be one of the favourites for a return to the Premier League. They didn't make it and at the end of the 2008/09 season, as Burnley did go up, they were relegated to League One.
That came with Gray out with a serious injury and having also suffered with family problems. But he was back in the side at the start of the 2009/10 season. A decent offer would always be accepted by the cash strapped London club and just over a week before the transfer window closed he was signed by Barnsley, making his debut for them in a 1-0 defeat at Leicester on 22nd August 2009.
He was with Barnsley for three seasons, scoring 21 goals in 98 games, but was released at the end of April 2012. Bradford City looked favourites to sign him but on 24th July 2012 he made a surprise return to his first club Leeds United on a one year deal. His stay at Leeds was cut short when the club agreed to release him from his contract on 9th January 2013 to enable him to move to Bradford City on an 18 month deal. He'd made just eight substitute appearances in the Championship for Leeds, scoring one goal.