Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Wednesday, 20th June 2012
Date and Place of Birth
23rd September 1970 - Islington
Transfers to and from Burnley
from Crystal Palace - 23rd July 1996 (£65,000)
to Northampton Town - 1st July 1998
First and last Burnley Games
Luton Town (a) - 17th August 1996
Plymouth Argyle (h) - 2nd May 1998
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
Burnley had just started pre-season training in 1996 when then manager Adrian Heath teased the fans with news that he was about to sign an international midfielder from a London club who were playing in a higher division.
Heath had already confirmed the signing of former Stoke team mate Nigel Gleghorn but said the new man, if it was confirmed, would be a big boost as we looked to win promotion in the forthcoming season.
The hints got everyone looking in their football books to determine just who it might be and a couple of days later we were all put out of our misery when the signing of Crystal Palace midfielder Damian Matthew was confirmed.
"He's very combative, puts himself about and we're delighted to have him," Heath said on completing the signing of the former England Under-21 player. "He has a vast amount of experience in both First Division and the Premiership. He's just the type of player we are hoping to attract to Turf Moor."
Prior to arriving at Burnley, Matthew had started his career with Chelsea where he made just 21 league appearances. He enjoyed a short loan at Luton in the 1994/95 season before signing for Palace.
From Chelsea he moved to Crystal Palace. He was settling in there until Dave Bassett replaced Steve Coppell as manager and that saw him out in the cold until he was rescued by Bristol Rovers who took him on loan.
It was that loan spell that brought about his move to Turf Moor. The manager at Bristol Rovers in the 1995/96 season was John Ward but he'd then joined Burnley as Heath's number two and had recommended the midfielder.
Matthew was 25 when he signed for the Clarets but had started only 33 league games in his career having scored just the one goal, that for Palace.
The 1996/97 season started with a 2-1 win at Luton with Matthew in midfield but he missed the next two league games with a groin injury. It was something of a recurring theme during his first season when he was in and out of the side with injuries.
Even so, in just 29 league starts, he did score six times from midfield including one direct from a corner in the last away game of the season, although it did take a deflection off Notts County's Shaun Derry.
The next season saw a change of manager at Turf Moor with Chris Waddle replacing Heath, but things didn't improve for Matthew who again missed too many games with injury. He was on the bench this time on the opening day of the season, coming on as a substitute for debutant Phil Eastwood at Watford, and his 21 starts that season came in three spells.
He made five of them during the early season failure to score goals and then didn't start another league game until the week before Christmas. During the second half of the season he was virtually a first choice, although again he missed a run of eight games with injury before coming back for the last six games of the season.
This period was, without doubt, his best for Burnley as Waddle's team clawed their way out of what looked, for a long time, as being a certain relegation. The Burnley fans had never really taken to him but warmed to him as he turned in some good performances as we found the results needed to avoid the drop back into the basement division.
There was another change of manager for Burnley in the summer of 1998, but Matthew was one of the players we had incredibly let run his contract down without offering anything else and he opted for a move to Northampton Town.
If injuries were a problem at Burnley then they certainly were at Northampton. He was in the starting line up for the first game but played only 15 minutes and played the first half of a League Cup tie three days later.
It was just over a year before he played again, coming on as an 81st minute substitute against Peterborough in August 1999. He'd played just under 70 minutes of football for the Cobblers and he wasn't to play again.
He was suffering from a serious back injury, one that had surely cost him a lot of playing time at Burnley, and he had to call it a day as far as his playing career was concerned.
It certainly didn't end his football career. He scouted for Wolves for a time before returning to his first club Chelsea as youth development officer. He left Stamford Bridge to become assistant manager of Bedford Town, playing in the Ryman League.
He eventually returned to Chelsea but in August 2006 was appointed as youth team coach. He combined that role with working as a football development advisor for Maidstone United, but it's at Charlton where his coaching career has progressed.
He moved up from the youth team to take charge of the players from 18 to 21 and was then appointed as first team coach following the arrival of Chris Powell as manager in January 2011, working alongside Powell and his assistant Alex Dyer.
His playing career was brief and so often interrupted by injury but he's certainly made a name for himself as a coach and was considered a vital member of the team that oversaw Charlton's promotion to the Championship in 2012.