Date and Place of Birth
4th January 1983 - MANCHESTER
Transfers to and from Burnley
from MANCHESTER UNITED - 29th January 2004 (loan)
returned - 10th May 2004
First and Last Burnley Games
WIGAN ATHLETIC (a) - 31st January 2004
DERBY COUNTY (h) - 24th April 2004
sub: replaced Glen Little
MANCHESTER UNITED, PETERBOROUGH UNITED (loan)
COVENTRY CITY, BLACKPOOL,
OLDHAM ATHLETIC, FK ŽELJEZNIČAR SARAJEVO
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
For a Mancunian with a leaning to red rather than sky blue it must be a dream to win a deal with Manchester United as a youngster and that's exactly what happened to Neil Wood.
He joined the club as a 9-year-old schoolboy and was offered an apprenticeship at 16 before signing a full time professional deal. He worked his way up through the junior teams at Old Trafford but couldn't quite make the first team. He followed the path of a number of players in a similar position and enjoyed a short spell on loan at Royal Antwerp in Belgium.
That was in the 2001/02 season. It didn't lead to a first team bow at Old Trafford but he was hit by a series of injuries which included a blood clot on his thigh, a fractured skull and a serious knee injury.
Once fit, his next first team football came during a loan at Peterborough in the early part of the 2003/04 season. He made three appearances for Peterborough, scoring once in a 2-1 home defeat against Colchester in September 2003.
It was then he came on to the Burnley radar and in January 2004 was one of three players who joined us on loan from Premier League clubs. Midfielder Bradley Orr arrived the day before from Newcastle with Charlton, and former Manchester United goalkeeper Paul Rachubka signing on the same day as Wood.
At the time we were told he was a striker but he was used more as a midfield player. He was the only one of the three who went straight into the team at Wigan on the following Saturday. He had a decent enough game in a 0-0 draw on a poor pitch.
Burnley were struggling near the bottom of the table and his form was mixed. He did score in the home game against Norwich, giving us an early 1-0 lead in a game that eventually ended in a 5-3 defeat.
Injuries again played a part for him. He was forced off early in the home defeat to Watford and he didn't start any of the five remaining games, getting just twenty minutes more football in the crucial win against Derby.
Because of the injuries it was difficult to assess him but he didn't particularly impress. He lacked any sort of pace but he was an additional player for a squad that was small and struggling.
Stan Ternent suggested he was a player he'd like to sign on a permanent basis for the following season. Wood was released by Manchester United at the end of that 2003/04 season but a managerial change at Turf Moor ended any hopes he had of returning full time.
Instead he signed for Coventry, a summer captures for new manager Peter Reid. Things didn't work out particularly for either Reid or Wood at Coventry. In a season and a half he made just 21 league and cup appearances for the Sky Blues with more than half of those substitute appearances as a substitute.
One of those substitute appearances was a against Burnley on what was our last ever visit to Highfield Road. He came on for Stephen Hughes at half time but didn't impress in a game we won 2-0 with goals from John Oster (his first and only goal for Burnley) and Ian Moore (his last Burnley goal).
Eventually he was signed by Blackpool in January 2006 but was there only until the end of the season when he signed for Oldham on a two year deal. He'd played for times for Blackpool and made six appearances for Oldham. Unfortunately he suffered a season ending injury just three months into his time at Boundary Park, forcing the club to terminate his contract.
Once fit, and with no offers at home, Wood opted for a move to Bosnia with FK Željezničar Sarajevo in February 2008 but that proved to be a long term disaster. Unable to break into the team, he was released in the summer of the same year and returned home to England to sign for Atherstone Town.
That's when the problems started. No matter what he did, he couldn't persuade Željezničar to release his registration and, unable to get the international clearance he had to sit on the sidelines. Atherstone sought the help of FIFA. However, manager Daren Fulford who had signed him had by then been sacked and new boss Dale Belford immediately released him. So, once again he was without a club.
Eventually, in the summer of 2010, he became free to play in England again and finally, at the start of the 2010/11 season, Neil Wood found himself a new club. Fulford had acquired himself a new job as manager of Bolehall Swifts who play in the Midland Football Combination and he signed Wood immediately.
So, at the time of writing (November 2010), it is fair to say his career has not gone as smoothly as he would have wanted but at least he's back playing football again.