Date and Place of Birth
21st November 1963 - DEWSBURY
Transfers to and from Burnley
from SHEFFIELD UNITED - 24th January 1990 (£90,000)
to CAMBRIDGE UNITED - 13th August 1992 (£95,000)
from CAMBRIDGE UNITED - 25th March 1993 (£70,000)
released - 31st May 1996
First and Last Burnley Games
GILLINGHAM (h) - 10th February 1990
BLACKPOOL (h) - 2nd March 1996
sub: replaced Liam Robinson
HALIFAX TOWN, SHEFFIELD UNITED
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
In two spells as a Claret John Francis certainly developed the ability to score important goals and none more so than three he scored that gave us wonderful nights out in York and Plymouth just over two years apart.
John started his playing career in non-league football with Yorkshire side Emley and then returned to them after a short time with Halifax that saw him make a Football League debut. During his last season with Emley he made his first appearance at Wembley in the FA Vase in April 1988 but was on the losing side against Colne Dynamoes.
It led to a £10,000 transfer to Sheffield United for whom Dave Bassett had just taken over as manager. It was a successful time for the Blades as they rose from the old Third Division to the First Division in successive seasons but before that second promotion John was on the move again, signed by Burnley boss Frank Casper in January 1990 for £90,000.
He was very much a striker then and he was paired with Ron Futcher, another player who had recently been signed, and in their first full season together they led the Clarets to the end of season play offs which ended in disappointment at the semi-final stage against Torquay.
Francis had scored fifteen league goals during that season, and nineteen including cup competitions but as we finally dragged ourselves out of the shadows of the basement division he was converted to a right winger providing the ammunition for strikers such as Mike Conroy and Roger Eli.
With the Clarets on target for promotion we went to York on an April Tuesday night in 1992 and deep into stoppage time the roles were reversed as Conroy got down the left after receiving the ball from Joe Jakub. His cross was met by Francis who netted right in front of the massive Burnley following to hit home the goal that clinched not only promotion but the last ever Fourth Division Championship.
He was out of contract at the end of that season but it was something of a surprise when he turned a new deal down and opted for a move to Cambridge, still it wasn't a bad way to go out with the championship clinching goal.
Neither Burnley nor Francis could have imagined that their paths would cross again but in under a year he was back in the claret and blue as Jimmy Mullen re-signed him on transfer deadline day in March.
Having played out that season he was very much back as a regular in 1993/94, still on the right wing, although now our strikers were Adrian Heath and Kevin Russell and later in the season Tony Philliskirk.
He lost his place during the second half of the season when he was used mainly as a substitute but he was back in the starting line up as we qualified for the play offs and a semi-final with Plymouth. After a 0-0 draw at home we fell behind at Home Park but he scored twice in two minutes around the half hour mark to the turn the game on its head, and right in front of the home fans who had been taunting him.
Sadly, his big day at Wembley was spoiled by an injury that he never fully recovered from. He didn't start a game in the following season following promotion and in the 1995/96 season was more often the not a substitute. He didn't figure at all once Mullen was replaced by Heath as manager and at the end of that season was released.
He had a brief spell with Scunthorpe before hanging his boots up but since then has kept himself involved in the game coaching with the county FA in his native Yorkshire and also at the Leeds United Academy.
In the second week in January 2008, some eleven and a half years after leaving Burnley, he returned to coach within the youth development set up working alongside former team mate Andy Farrell with the club's Under 16 team.
Francis said of his return to the club: "It is absolutely fantastic to be coming back. When the opportunity arose I grabbed it with both hands. I'm looking forward to being involved in getting the academy up and running. It is an exciting prospect which will help the youth team immensely and will benefit the first team in the long term."