Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2012
Date and Place of Birth
16th October 1973 - CHORLEY
Transfers to and from Burnley
from WIGAN ATHLETIC - 13th August 2007
released 30th June 2008
First and Last Burnley Games
GRIMSBY TOWN (a) - 14th August 2007
SHEFFIELD UNITED (h) - 12th April 2008
EVERTON, WEST HAM UNITED, ASTON VILLA, EVERTON,
PORTSMOUTH, IPSWICH TOWN (loan), SHEFFIELD UNITED,
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
The new 2007/08 season was about to get underway and I'd just left the house to go to the home game against West Brom when I received a text asking if there was any truth in the rumour that we'd signed David Unsworth.
I can't recall my exact response but I know I said that I hoped it wasn't true, I couldn't somehow see Unsworth being a good signing. The club quickly denied the rumours and in any case we were to kick off the season with Wayne Thomas and Steven Caldwell in the back four, the partnership that had done so well at the end of the previous season.
Then, just before kick off, the players not involved on the day walked across the pitch from players' tunnel to Bob Lord Stand and there with them was the unmistakable figure of David Unsworth.
I'm not so sure why I didn't think this would be a good signing, his record speaks for itself. He'd played much of his career in the Premier League and at 33 was certainly young enough to have an impact at Burnley.
Briefly, Chorley born Unsworth had started his career with Everton and surely come the end of his career this will be the club everyone will always link him to. In two spells with the Goodison Park club he notched up over 300 league appearances.
During his time with Everton he also won a call up to the England team then managed by Terry Venables. He was capped seven times at Under-21 level but made his one an only appearance for his country at full international level in June 1995 at Wembley against Japan. He was one of three debutants that day alongside Gary Neville and Stan Collymore.
His two spells at Everton were separated by the 1997/98 season. In the summer of 1997 he was involved in a swap deal that took him to West Ham with Danny Williamson moving in the opposite direction. The deal was done by Howard Kendall and Adrian Heath but he was back at Everton a year later when Walter Smith paid £3 million to take him back in somewhat bizarre circumstances.
Unsworth didn't settle in London and wanted to move closer to home. He signed for Aston Villa for £3 million in June 1998 but two months later, and before he'd kicked a ball for Villa, he returned to Goodison Park.
That's where he stayed until the summer of 2004 when he moved to Portsmouth on a free transfer, and for the last four years he's played for no fewer than five different clubs. During his one year at Pompey he also enjoyed a loan spell at Ipswich but then signed for Sheffield United in the summer of 2005.
It was during his first season at Bramall Lane that Nathan Dyer got to know him. Playing left back against our loan player he got in a couple of early tackles that left the young loanee from Southampton somewhat disinterested in the rest of the game.
After a season and a half he was allowed to move to Wigan by manager Neil Warnock but that decision came back to bite him on the last day of the season. Unsworth scored the penalty that kept Wigan up and condemned Sheffield United to the drop.
It didn't win him a new contract at Wigan and that's when Steve Cotterill came in and took him to Burnley, and there's no doubt that he soon ended my doubts as to whether he would be a good signing or not.
He was thrown in at the deep end despite not having a pre-season. He played in the Carling Cup tie at Grimsby and in the first away match of the season he partnered Clarke Carlisle as both made their league debuts for Burnley.
Following that early baptism he was used sparingly whilst he got himself up to full fitness and his next two appearances, against Portsmouth and Cardiff, were both in a midfield role. He finally won is place in the side at the back in the 2-1 home win against Norwich and he kept his place in the side for some four months.
He started every game, other than the 1-0 win at Leicester when he was suspended, until the 4-2 victory at QPR in February, and such were his performances during that period that he led the chase for the Clarets Mad Player of the Year.
For whatever reason he didn't feature quite so heavily during the last quarter of the season and was often seen in the dug out at reserve games as part of his work towards his coaching badges.
His last appearance for the Clarets was in the 2-1 home defeat against Sheffield United and after the end of the season he was awarded a new one year contract by Owen Coyle although it was a contract with a difference. It was as a player/coach with the emphasis on the coaching that would have seen him hardly play at first team level if at all. To add to that the manager said he would have to take a significant hit on his pay.
Unsworth deliberated on it until the last day in June when he decide to move on, stating that as much as he would want to get into coaching he felt that he wanted to continue his playing career. That left him as a free agent and on the look out for a new club.
Back in August 2007 I thought this was not going to be a good signing, I was soon proved very wrong on that. And almost a year later I'm even more disappointed to see Unsworth leave. He proved to be a very good signing for Burnley.
After two weeks on trial at Huddersfield he agreed a one year deal with the League One club on the eve of the season. He played just five times for the Terriers and not at all when new manager Lee Clark replaced Stan Ternent. His contract was terminated on 30th March 2009.
Just a week later he confirmed that his playing career was over and that he would complete his coaching badges and concentrate fully on a coaching career. That coaching career started in late September 2009 when he was appointed as development coach at Preston, overseeing the club's first year professsionals.
Unsworth was promoted to first team coach when Darren Ferguson became manager in January 2010 and on 30th December 2010 was given the role of caretaker manager when Ferguson was sacked. He reverted to coach following the appointment of Phil Brown as manager on 4th January 2011 but on Brown's sacking on 14th December in the same year he again stepped in to work alongside Graham Alexander in temporary charge of the first team.
He and Grezza stood down with the appointment of new manager Graham Westley, from Stevenage, on 14th January 2012 and on 23rd January, as part of the restructure of their first team set up, Preston North End confirmed that he'd left the club with immediate effect, thanking him for his services.
Just one month after leaving Preston he was strongly linked with the manager's job with Aitricity Legue of Ireland club Sligo Rovers after another former Claret, Paul Cook, had left them to go to Accrington Stanley. However, Unsworth was reported to have turned down the opportunity and in December 2012 he joined Sheffield United as their Head of Academy Coaching, reuniting with Jamie Hoyland with whom he'd worked at Preston.