Date and Place of Birth
14th November 1974 - LIVERPOOL
Transfers to and from Burnley
from MANCHESTER CITY - 11th October 2001 (£250,000)
released - 9th May 2005
First and Last Burnley Games
NOTTINGHAM FOREST (a) - 13th October 2001
sub: replaced Arthur Gnohere
MILLWALL (a) - 8th May 2005
EVERTON, SWINDON TOWN (loan), TRANMERE ROVERS (loan),
MANCHESTER CITY, WEST BROMWICH ALBION (loan)
BRISTOL CITY, CREWE ALEXANDRA,
ACCRINGTON STANLEY, CHESTER CITY
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
Some players are popular during their time at Burnley and some are less than popular. Others divide opinion and that I think is where Tony Grant fell during almost four years as a Burnley player from October 2001 until the end of the 2004/05 season.
Grant's arrival at Turf Moor was no surprise. Manager Stan Ternent had been linked with him for over a year and, when we started to slip after a good start to the season, he revealed that he needed to strengthen his squad.
We'd lost 1-0 at West Brom which had seen us win just one point from three games. By the time we played again, Stan had sold John Mullin and finally brought in Grant from Manchester City for a fee of around £250,000.
Up to that point he'd had an up and down career but he'd left a lasting impression wherever he'd played.
That career had started at Everton where he came through the junior teams, eventually making a first team debut at St. James' Park against Newcastle United in February 1995 at the age of 20 where he came on as a substitute for Anders Limpar in an Everton side that also included future Claret David Unsworth.
He got his first start in the side before the end of the season and was making an occasional appearance during the 1995/96 season whilst also enjoying a short loan at Swindon Town.
Things were looking up. He played for the England Under-21s and was in the squad for the 1996 Toulon Tournament, and back at Everton in the following season he was beginning to establish himself. Then two problems brought his Everton career crashing down. Firstly, he suffered an injury which ruled him out from the end of January and on recovering found a new organization team in place at Goodison Park.
Joe Royle had gone with Howard Kendall and Adrian Heath coming in to replace him. The first thing they did was to sign Danny Williamson to replace him which meant very little first team football for Grant in the 1997/98 season.
With Kendall and Heath gone within a year it was back to normal with his best season yet at Everton in 1998/99 but as Walter Smith looked to improve things again in the next season, Grant found himself once more out of the picture.
He joined Tranmere, then just a division below, in September 1999. He was there for just a month but left a lasting impression. "He is far too good a player for Tranmere," said one report. "The runs he was making and the space he was creating were hardly ever picked up by other Tranmere players.
"He should be playing in the Premier League. With players of similar quality around him, once he gets a run he'll work wonders."
That run didn't come. He returned back across the Mersey but played just twice more for Everton and in December 1999 left his first club to sign for his old manager Joe Royle at Manchester City.
Royle was thrilled. "Tony has the potential to be a superstar. There is no midfielder in the country who has all the qualities he has. He can defend and win the ball, he can pass, make chances and he can score goals. If he can put that all together he could become a truly outstanding midfield player.
"The thing we have still to see regularly from Tony is his dribbling in and around the box. He can go by one or two people and open up things. Gradually he will put that into his game because he has quick feet and he can glide by people. When that happens we will have an exceptional, and rounded midfield star."
Unfortunately things didn't quite work out at Maine Road. He made his debut on Boxing Day 1999 but he played only occasionally; he wasn't popular with the home supporters and just over a year after signing he was on his way out on loan to West Brom.
So well did he do at the Hawthorns that they wanted to sign him permanently, but he was recalled by City where he went back into the team and had a decent end to the 2000/01 season.
Another season, another change of manager for Grant and another move to come. We'd been linked with him for what seemed an eternity and he made an early mark on our 2001/02 season, appearing for Manchester City on August Bank Holiday at the Turf.
We won seven of our first eight league games that season and this was the one we lost in a game that was made more difficult when Gordon Armstrong was very harshly sent off for handing a Grant shot with the score at 1-1.
The next time we saw him he was in a Burnley shirt, coming on as a substitute for Arthur Gnohere in a 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest in October 2001, two days after he'd completed the move to Turf Moor.
He was pleased to be at Burnley too. On signing he said: ""I have not come here to prove anything to anyone else. I know what I can and can't do and it is a question of personal pride.
"The manager (Stan Ternent) got in touch with me earlier in the week and it just took a couple of days to get things sorted out. I spoke to him a couple of times and I like the way he plays, it should suit my style.
"I never did much at Maine Road, I could never establish myself. I did get frustrated, I got a couple of injuries at bad times and I feel I was not always given a chance. So I think this is the right time to move. I needed as fresh start. At City the new manager (Kevin Keegan) had come in and he has brought in new players so the time was right for me to get out.
"I think that I will settle in well here. I already know a couple of the players and the team spirit looks to be good. I am just a footballer who likes to get hold of the ball and play with it. I would keep the ball all day if I could."
He had signed a contract that would see him be a Burnley player for not much short of four years. He'd remained popular with the Everton fans, and that was only too evident when they played at Burnley on one occasion in a pre-season friendly with Grant in the Burnley side. He got a superb reception from them.
In those short spells at Tranmere and West Brom he'd left the supporters with a good impression and with them wanting more. However, it had been very different at City where the supporters never took to him and where he never got too many opportunities in the first team to win them over.
I suggested that he divided opinion at Burnley. He was a regular in the first team for much of his time with us. He proved countless times just how good he was on the ball. He was a good passer of the ball, and yet there were a healthy number of Burnley supporters who never really took to him.
I recall one game at Preston. He'd been the stand out player in the first half yet someone behind me was bellowing for him to be substituted within five minutes of the kick off.
I was on the positive side where Grant was concerned although I'll question Royle on his belief that Grant was a goalscorer. In over 160 games for Burnley he scored only three times. Two of them came in home wins, against Coventry and Rotherham, the other in a 1-1 draw at Crewe on the night the lights went out.
Two of those goals were in the 2004/05 season which proved to be his last for Burnley. After talks he decided he wanted to move elsewhere but he soon found that the grass was far from greener when he moved.
He didn't find another club during the summer but, after the start of the 2005/06 season, joined Bristol City on a week to week deal. He played once for them, in the Carling Cup against Barnet, and was released in the first week in September.
That left him well and truly Blattered, rendered unemployable by the FIFA transfer window that was in operation in the Football League for the first time. Crewe wanted to sign him but he was not permitted to sign and play for them until January. By then, he'd played the permitted two reserve team games as a trialist and broken a leg.
Crewe stood by him. They signed him when they could and he made his debut for them in February 2006. He struggled, however, and a year later returned to East Lancashire with Accrington Stanley. That lasted only a few months before he signed for Chester City in the summer of 2007. He had one season with them before his playing career came to an end.
He played only occasionally from the end of November and his last game was a 0-0 home draw against Macclesfield Town in May 2008.
Mention of Grant quite often leads to a discussion on our FA Cup tie at Blackburn in 2005 when he fell victim to an early challenge (for want of a better word) from Robbie Savage. Grant was playing as well as at any time in his Burnley career and although he continued, and did well on the night, there is no doubt that the Savage, who should have been sent off by referee Howard Webb, had damaged our chances.
How ironic, therefore, that the first time Tony Grant and Burnley crossed paths again was at Ewood Park in another cup tie in the 2011/12 season. Grant was then a coach at Blackburn and worked alongside Terry McPhillips with the youth team. It went almost unnoticed in both legs that there was a former Claret in the opposition dug out.
He stepped up, along with McPhillips, in March 2013 when Gary Bowyer, who was running the academy at Blackburn, was given the manager's job. Grant became first team coach, a role he held until 10th November 2011 when Bowyer and his entire first team coaching staff were sacked by owners Venky's.