Date and Place of Birth
21st January 1980 - ISLINGTON
Transfers to and from Burnley
from STOKE CITY - 14th June 2005
to REAL MURCIA - 31st January 2007 (£50,000)
First and Last Burnley Games
CREWE ALEXANDRA (a) - 6th August 2005
STOKE CITY (h) - 23rd January 2007
WATFORD, STOKE CITY,
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION (loan from BURNLEY)
REAL MURCIA, ELCHE CF, MILLWALL,
YEOVIL TOWN (loan), AUSTIN AZTEX, DFW TORNADOS
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
I don't think Gifton Noel-Williams was ever destined to be a star at Burnley, there was heavy criticism of his signing and he was booed by his own fans during his league debut for us at Crewe on the opening day of the 2005/06 season.
He was one of Steve Cotterill's five summer signings during that 2005 summer, and the plan was to partner him up front with his old Stoke City team mate Ade Akinbiyi, a partnership people were quick to say hadn't worked when they had played together for Stoke.
Gifton had been at Stoke for two years, Tony Pulis bringing him in from his first club Watford on a Bosman transfer in 2003. He'd been a massive favourite with the Watford fans during his time at Vicarage Road having broken into Graham Taylor's first team whilst still sixteen years of age.
He was billed as a star in the making. He played against the Clarets for the first time, whilst still sixteen, in October 1996 when Adrian Heath's Burnley earned a point from a 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road. That was in the then Second Division but as Watford moved up a division Gifton suffered an injury in January 1999 that was to rule him out virtually for a season and a half. In that time he played just three times, but they were in the Premiership during the 1999/2000 season.
By the time he returned to playing Watford had been relegated and, according to the Watford fans, Gifton was never the same player again. Still very popular with the fans they realised he wasn't going to be the top player they had expected him to be.
His last season at Vicarage Road was 2002/03 and he came on as a substitute in our FA Cup 6th round tie there, but in the summer he decided to move on to Stoke where in two seasons he played in 88 of their 92 league games, banishing all thoughts that he wasn't fit to play, not only that he scored no fewer than 23 goals in those games.
They offered him a new deal in 2005, but he opted for a move to Turf Moor and must have wondered what he'd come to when he was roundly booed in that first match of the season at Crewe. He scored our equaliser, then hit the woodwork in the last minute which would have earned us a point.
A week later he had a golden opportunity to open his account at home when he took a penalty against Coventry, one that he'd won himself. Where he was aiming no one is sure but it is happen as well there were no low flying aircraft.
He scored in the home draw against Derby but the poor start to the season saw a change of formation and he lost his place in the side and was only a bit player until March when he moved on loan to Brighton, immediately grabbing a couple of goals for himself.
Everyone thought he was certain to go in the summer but despite being placed on the transfer list, despite having about ten clubs wanting to sign him and despite giving the club's pre-season trip to Italy a miss, he was still a Burnley player when he season got underway.
Things all changed for him during four days in September, when he went from zero to hero in just a few days. He came on as a substitute in the home defeat against Colchester, and the booing that greeted him was shameful. How he could go on and play in those circumstances is hard to believe, but he did and by the end of the game he'd turned those boos to cheers. We lost, but he'd played well.
Three days later we went 2-0 down against Barnsley and he was brought on to replace the injured Alan Mahon. This was without doubt Gifton's night. He never turned in a better performance for Burnley, and after Jon Harley pulled one back to give us hope, he scored a hat trick as we run our 4-2 winners.
Another good performance at Stoke followed and he was taken off the transfer list, and over the next couple of months, he was one of the most influential players in the side as we climbed up to third in the table. The team's form and Gifton's form suffered from November as the results went against us, and the rumblings of discontent about him were being heard in the stands again. Ade Akinbiyi's return meant he wasn't likely to be first choice and as the January transfer window was set to come to a close there was the shock news that he could be on his way to Real Murcia in Spain.The deal finally went through on the last day of the month, with the Clarets pocketing £50,000. Gifton was gone, and I'm sure many Burnley fans will remember him as a player who struggled with pace and movement, a player who didn't score enough goals, and a player they just loved to criticise.
Then there's maybe that penalty miss, no one will ever forget that, but neither should we forget that two months of football when he showed us just what he was capable of achieving at Burnley, had that sort of form continued he would have been a player of the season contender.
But as the form dipped, people pointing to his failings and by the time he left he was no longer a player most supporters wanted in the side. The next time we see him, he could be playing in the Nou Camp in a La Liga match on Sky.
Real Murcia were promoted at the end of the 2006/07 season although Gifton played just 288 minutes of football for them, being used as a substitute, although he did score four goals. Any dreams of him playing against the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid however were dashed when he was transferred to Elche CF on 19th July. He signed a one year deal with the second division club with an option for a second year.
He was released at the end of his first season with Elche CF and returned to England looking for a club. He spent some time training with Millwall and was eventually offered a short term contract by manager Kenny Jackett in September 2008.
He went straight into the Millwall side once his international clearance came through but played just the one game whilst Tresor Kandol and Neil Harris were unavailable. Just over a month later on 5th November 2008 he signed for Yeovil Town on a month's loan.
He played eight times for Yeovil, the last of the appearances coming on the Saturday before Christmas. But 2009 saw him once again without a club and on 8th January it was confirmed that he was signing a two year deal with American USL club Austin Aztex, a club managed by former Burnley boss Adrian Heath. He was released at the end of the 2009 season and signed for DFW Tornados in the USL Development Premier League. He is now a coach at the Brentwood Christian School in Austin, Texas.