Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Thursday, 30th June 2011
Date and Place of Birth
14th August 1961 - Pudsey
Transfers to and from Burnley
from Oldham Athletic - July 1988
released - May 1990
First and Last Burnley Games
Halifax Town (a) - 3rd September 1988
Colchester United (a) - 5th May 1990
replaced by Shaun McGrory
Bolton Wanderers (loan), Swansea City (loan)
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
Paul Atkinson played in an FA Cup Final but it wasn't the start of a glittering career. He was aged just 22 at the time but in truth his best years, spent at Oldham, were already behind him.
Atkinson was a very impressive schoolboy footballer in the Leeds area and was snapped up by Oldham who were then under the management of Jimmy Frizzell. Such was his progress at Boundary Park that he was soon in the first team, his debut coming on four days after he'd signed his first professional contract.
That debut was in a league game against Newcastle, and he scored. He played predominantly on the left side of midfield and over the next four years was considered one of the brightest young players outside the top flight.
His form in the 1982/83 season almost helped Oldham into the top flight but they just missed out with Watford one of the clubs winning promotion. And it was Watford where Atkinson went that summer in a £175,000 deal as Graham Taylor strengthened his squad.
A broken leg delayed his debut but once fit he struggled in that first season although it ended in fine style when he came on as a substitute in the 1984 FA Cup Final, replacing Neil Price with 32 minutes of the game remaining.
It didn't lead to a place in the Watford first team however, and in his second season he didn't play one game for them and at the end of that season he was on his way back to Oldham in a cut price £30,000 deal.
He was never able to recapture his form and for the next three years he spent loans at Swansea and Bolton, and was released by Oldham at the end of the 1987/88 season.
Burnley had just had their own Wembley appearance and Brian Miller made three new signings in the summer of 1988, bringing Atkinson in on a free transfer was one of them.
He was out injured for the opening day win against Rochdale but went into the side the following week at Halifax. On his home debut he turned in a stunning performance in a 6-0 win over York.
Unfortunately he suffered what seemed to be injury after injury. One member of the squad at the time told me he was a player who seemed to prefer the treatment room to the pitch. After two years at Burnley he was released and at the age of 28 he called time on his career.