Andy Wharton - Natural Born Claret - is special guest

Last updated : 31 January 2002 By Tony Scholes

On Sunday the special ex-Claret guest is Andy Wharton who wore more than the Claret and Blue shirt when he played for the Clarets, he also carried the letter B F C tattooed on his knuckles.

Andy joined the Clarets straight from school before signing as a pro at the end of 1979. Less than a year later he made his debut in a home game against Gillingham. He played just six games that season but the following season was to be a different story.

He wasn't in the side as the season started but soon won a place at the expense of David Holt at left back. The Clarets changed system to play with a back three and Wharton and Laws became wing backs and with some success. Lawsy scored six league goals (only one was from the spot) and Andy Wharton scored five.

Fittingly both of them scored in the 4-1 win at Southend that clinched promotion. Andy's first goal though was at Portsmouth but the one I'll always remember was the only goal of the game on a Tuesday night in February at Doncaster. The Clarets were on a superb run, this was the fifth of six consecutive victories. When Andy scored he all but joined the fans on the open end, he was a Claret and wanted to celebrate with the fans.

By the end of October in the following season he had lost his place to new signing Willie Donachie as Brian Miller acted to try and stop the bad run and he wasn't to win his place back for any length of time.

Early the following season under John Bond he got a run early in the season of seven games but it was the last of these that would haunt him. It was at Millwall when Andy had as bad a game as I have ever seen a Burnley player have. He couldn't get anything right that day.

In the November he was loaned out to Torquay, along with Kevin Young, where he played ten games. In the February, 1984, along with Lee Dixon and Billy O'Rourke, he moved to Chester City where he played in 23 league games before being released.

He then played for a number of non league clubs in the area including Colne Dynamoes as Graham White was moving the club forward. His Burnley career ended after 65 league appearances and 6 goals.

Andy, like Payts today, was without doubt a Natural Born Claret who played every game for us with a passion that suggested his life depended on it. He should get a fantastic reception when he comes out onto the pitch on Sunday to make the half time draw.