Oooh David Eyres, Oooh David Eyres

Last updated : 15 March 2002 By Tony Scholes

Eyresy celebrates at Wembley with Gary Parkinson
Six months after his 25th birthday Rhyl's David Eyres was signed by then Blackpool manager Jimmy Mullen for £10,000. It was a risk, even £10,000 was a gamble at Bloomfield Road but it was a gamble that paid off as Eyres had four good seasons at the old shed.

He was not a player I particularly liked probably because he always seemed to play well against us during a period when Burnley v Blackpool games always seemed to be important. In those four years he had established himself as a Football League player and made 158 league appearances for the Seasiders scoring 38 goals.

On the eve of the 1993/94 season Jimmy Mullen signed him again, this time bringing him to the Turf for £90,000. Was it money well spent? I think you will find it difficult to find a Burnley supporter who would say no and I'm sure most will say that the signing of Eyres was probably, alongside that of Steve Davis, the best signing we made in the 1990s.

Ironically he scored his first Burnley goal against Preston at Deepdale in a League Cup tie and was our player of the season as we beat Stockport in the play offs at Wembley. He scored 19 league goals and got the first at Wembley when he had probably his best game in a Burnley shirt.

He played on the left wing then but later had a less than successful spell as a striker and then under Adrian Heath played at left wing-back. I always thought Heath wasted him in that position and cost the Clarets who missed out on a lot of Eyresy's attacking play. If Heath wasted him then what about Waddle. After giving him the club captaincy he then promptly, and out of the blue, sold him to David Moyes (the former Preston manager) and off he went to Deepdale for £70,000. He had played 175 league games for the Clarets and had scored 37 goals.

During the next few years as we clashed in a number of important games with North End he was never cast as the villain and on every return visit to Turf Moor was always afforded a standing ovation. Two years ago he came on as a sub with the Clarets beaten, we certainly didn't feel good but the reception he got as he came on was still as powerful and enthusiastic.

He has moved on now and is playing his football at Oldham. He continues to star and this season he has passed 500 league games and 100 league goals. On a recent visit to Boundary Park to watch the reserves a number of Oldham fans told me that he is without doubt their best player this season. He has just signed a new contract with them for next season.

I don't know whether any other player has reached 500 appearances and 100 goals before despite not making a debut until the age of 25. It is a hell of an achievement for a player who has been hugely popular at all of his clubs. Returns to the Turf and Deepdale would guarantee him a warm reception. It should be similar at Bloomfield Road but that weird lot as a matter of course always hurl abuse at former players.

Eyresy is the Clarets Foundation's special guest tomorrow, he will be as popular a guest as they have had all season and at a Burnley v Preston game he will be guaranteed a standing ovation from all four sides of Turf Moor.

Oooh David Eyres, Oooh David Eyres.