Weller is now without doubt the longest serving player a the club and after joining as a trainee he signed his first professional contract in November 1993, over nine years ago. It was two years though before he got an opportunity in the first team and that was in an Auto Windscreens Trophy game at Crewe that was won 1-0 with a Kurt Nogan Golden Goal.
Nogan was on the mark the following month when he made his league debut, scoring both goals in a 2-0 home win against Carlisle. Goals though have not been a major feature of Weller’s career to date and he has registered just eleven league goals for the Clarets the first of which was in the very last game of that season, a 2-1 win against Shrewsbury.
He lost virtually two years of his career through illness, making just eight appearances in the two seasons 1998/99 and 1999/2000 but came back to win virtually all of the Supporters’ Group’s Player of the Year Awards in our first season back in Division One. His success of the last couple of years is richly deserved.
Just two games behind Paul came Glen Little who has now been a Claret for six years, signing at the end of November 1996 when Adrian Heath paid Glentoran £100,000 for him. He was an unknown to Clarets’ fans, so much so that many thought he was Irish. That was until they heard him speak.
Much has been said of Glen and Chris Waddle, or was it more the comments of Waddle’s assistant The Sinister One Glenn Roeder, but it was Waddle who finally gave him his first run in the side. It took him some time though, it was January, and we were virtually relegated.
Little repaid Waddle with some superb performances as the Clarets escaped at the last minute and he even scored four goals, the first coming in a 1-1 draw at home to Brentford who were eventually relegated.
He has been a regular for most of the time since, hamstring injuries permitting, although has on occasions been left on the bench by Stan. Why is that? So Stan can bring him on to score promotion winning goals and to torment Spurs. A total of 170 of his 201 appearances though have been starts.
Little has turned in some wonderful performances and is without doubt the talisman.
Congratulations to Weller and Blakey although their totals of 203 and 201 are still some way behind a couple of other Clarets. Steve Davis has now made 314 league appearances for the Clarets and Marlon Beresford 271.