His goals took us to Wembley

Last updated : 10 December 2004 By Tony Scholes
Any discussion on that game inevitably throws up the name of the player who turned the game on its head with two quick goals, and tomorrow that player John Francis will be the special guest who makes the half time draw.

John was one of those players who had the knack of scoring important goals and only two years before that his stoppage time goal at York was the one that clinched the 4th Division Championship and saw us finally climb out of that division.

He’d been with us for just over two years having signed from Sheffield United but even the promotion didn’t persuade him to stay and in the summer he moved on at the end of his contract to Cambridge United.

John had scored 27 goals in 101 league appearances for us but the lure of playing in the new 1st Division saw him move to the Abbey Stadium for a tribunal set fee of £95,000. He never made a place his own though and was on the subs bench as often as he started and on transfer deadline day during that season he was back at Burnley for just £70,000.

He played in 41 of the league games during the season that saw us reach the play offs and no one could have made a bigger impact as we won that second leg 3-1 at Home Park. A week and a half later his luck run out as injury forced him off at Wembley as we beat Stockport.

He made just two substitute appearances in the following season as he struggled to recover and in 1995/96 he did get four starts but was used mainly as a sub before he was released at the end of that season by new manager Adrian Heath, the supplier for those two goals.

In total, in all competitions he scored 49 goals for the Clarets in 236 appearances and throughout both spells with the club he was a big crowd favourite whether he was using his fantastic pace as a striker or out on the right wing.

Isn’t it just a pity that it isn’t Plymouth visiting tomorrow, I’m sure the fans of the Devon club would love to see him again.