Marlon is 32 years old now and since he left the Turf in March 1998, almost four years ago, he has played just fourteen league games and two of those were as a substitute. All but four of them have been for Middlesbrough whilst he made four appearances for Sheffield Wednesday last season during a less than successful loan spell.
He first joined Burnley in August 1992 just a couple of weeks into the new season although he had been linked with us all summer. He went straight into the side, making his debut in a 1-1 draw against Rotherham at the Turf and played well. The following week he played well again in an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at Chester and saved his first penalty for us.
He was in the side that beat Stockport in the 1993/94 play off final and went into the First Division. Twice that season he was sent off, in away games at Oldham and Portsmouth, as the Clarets fought against relegation and failed. That season also saw him lose his place as first choice keeper for a short time as Jimmy Mullen preferred Wayne Russell.
He was soon back in the side and from then until he left only an operation in early 1996 kept him out of the side. On the last day of February in 1998 we were beaten 2-1 at Carlisle and Marlon was at fault with Carlisle's winner from Allan Smart just two minutes from time. We couldn't have guessed that he was playing his last game for us.
The following week I went through the turnstiles at Walsall to be greeted with the message, ‘Marlon's not playing'. Amazingly he had been sold to Middlesbrough that morning for a reported fee of £450,000. He had already indicated that he wouldn't sign a new contract and so Teasdale and Waddle cashed in. The only problem was we didn't have another keeper.
Goalkeeping coach Chris Woods stepped in for the remainder of the season and did a good job for us as we successfully avoided relegation. Since then the first team jersey has been worn by Gavin Ward, Paul Crichton and Nik Michopolous but for now, for the next month at least it returns to Marlon.
Marlon has played at the Turf once this season, for Wolves reserves during a loan spell, and received a warm reception from the gathering in the Bob Lord Stand. He has played 284 league games in his career and 240 of those were for the Clarets. He is without doubt assured of a superb reception. A poser though, is Marlon the first to be invited back to make the half time draw and then subsequently play for us?
Welcome back to the Turf Marlon