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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So Who's This Andy Gray Anyway?

So what do we know of this Andy Gray character that Pardew has staked his all on, as well as 1.5 big ones, and rising to 2 big ones if you believe the Burnley website? Yes, he's just turned 30, doubled his wages apparently, played a couple of times for Scotland back in the distance days of 2003 when he was scoring goals for Bradford City and has been around quite a bit. Nobody expects loyalty these days and Gray's not renowned for any of that nonsense having been at 10 clubs in his 14 year career starting with Leeds - as you would expect as son of the Leeds legendary left-back Frank Gray.
Making his debut in 1995 at 18 as a central midfielder in the heady days of Premiership football at Elland Rd, he, not surprisingly, failed to make the grade and after 22 games in that first season with Leeds and no goals, he was loaned out to Bury and then moved to Notts Forest where there was more of the same with 64 games and only 1 goal.
After further loans at Preston and Oldham, and at some unknown point converting to a striker role, he finally started to find where the net was at Bradford City in 2002.
In the season 2002/03 he got 15 goals for Bradford in the fizzies and got the same total again in 2003/04 after having been sold to Sheffield U in the middle of the season in February 2004.
Another season in the fizzies with Sheff U on 2004/05 and he improved to 18 goals which prompted newly promoted Sunderland to buy him. He made his debut for them against us on 13th August 2005 at the Stadium of Light and started well, scoring in a 3-1 defeat, that also saw our Darren scoring twice on his debut.
Things went all downhill from there and after 21 games ( 8 of them as sub) and no further goals, he was loaned on to Burnley in the following January, 2006.
And there he's been ever since, finding life easier in Tier 2 and with 5 goals in his first 6 months there, followed by 14 goals last season, he does seem to have reached somewhat of peak with 13 goals so far this season. Although we do seem to have caught him at a bit of a bad moment, because he hasn't scored in his last 8 games and his last goals for Burnley were in fact the 2 he scored at the Valley back on December 1st.
So a career total of 76 goals in 250 games but how does that compare with say Big Chris. Well, our Chris is a bit younger than Gray, 18 months in fact, and has apparently got only 66 goals in his career, so not much to choose between them, goals wise. And perhaps we should compare him also with the 29 year old Todorov himself - although it does seem a little unfair with 32 international games - for Toddy has also got no less than 66 goals as well, but in an injury-plagued career of only 110 starts ( plus 49 subs ) and a good few of them were at the top level.
But, of course, Pards hasn't brought Gray to the Valley for his goals but as a replacement, however temporary, of Todorov and his ability to open defences, particulary at home. And Pards has emphasised the point three times recently and seems to have found an excuse, sorry reason, for our poor home form. So he's been full of praise for Toddy and what we've been missing, 'We have missed him, he's been a bad loss for us because we've missed his technical play. I don't think our link-up play has been as good as it should have been, partly due to his absence. We've played ZiZi in that role at times, to good effect away from home, but it hasn't quite worked at home'
Odd then, and its easy to be critical isn't it, that Gray doesn't appear to have been able to do the same at Burnley with only 3 home wins in 13 games and only 2 teams, Colchester and Scunthorpe have a worst home record in the fizzies.
Anyway, we'll all be able to judge for ourselves next Tuesday night against Stoke City, when no doubt we'll see our new striker first hand, and playing alongside probably Luke Varney.
And 4th placed Stoke, three points above us but with only 2 defeats in 14 away games, couldn't present a stiffer challenge.

1 comment:

Oggy Red said...

So a career total of 76 goals in 250 games .......

To be fair he played in midfield only for a large part of his career.

As an 18 year old midfielder, he also played 22 times in the Prem for Leeds in his first season.

All in all his goal return is pretty decent for midfielder converted to striker.

As always, proof of the pudding and all that .....