Burnley X-Files: Andy Gray
Striker, Andy Gray was rescued by former gaffer Steve Cotterill after a barren spell at Sunderland, in which he just couldn`t seem to score in the Premiership. He had scored just one goal in 22 appearances. He first came to the Turf on loan in March 2006 before signing permanently in the Summer of 2006 for £750,000.
He rapidly became a firm favourite amongst Clarets fans but a cruel injury in 2006 in a home match against Leeds United in November 2006 showed just how much we relied on him, The Clarets went on an awful run of 19 games without a win as our star striker recovered from a broken metatarsal.
He finally returned and played in an away match against QPR in February 2007 but clearly still not fully fit, it took another nine games before the awful losing streak came to an end and it wasn`t until a game against Norwich at Turf Moor in April that Gray finally got on the score sheet again.
Andy Gray then began to score for fun poaching goals left, right and centre as 2006/7 came to an end and we embarked on the 2007/8 campaign. Steve Cotterill had been replaced by new gaffer; Owen Coyle by the time Burnley played newly relegated Charlton at the Valley.
The Clarets tails were up and playing what proved to be our most entertaining period of the season. We therefore totally outplayed the Addicks that day coming away with a 3-1 victory with a brace of goals from Andy Gray adding to Chris McCann`s goal.
It was that match that no doubt started the seed in the back of Charlton boss, Alan Pardew`s mind to embark on a campaign to bring Gray to the Valley.
By the time the January transfer window arrived, that campaign was in full swing and there is no doubt in the back of my mind that Gray had thoughts of playing for Charlton at double his salary, long before he put pen to paper and indeed it probably affected his performance for the Clarets in the final few months of 2007 as the goals dried up again, especially at home.
Seduced by Charlton offering double his current Clarets salary, the club stood no chance of holding onto him as his agent turned up the screw and began to put pressure on Coyle and the Burnley Board.
The final straw came when Gray told the gaffer, he wasn`t willing to put the shirt on and play with pride in a game at the Ricoh against Coventry on the 19th January.
The revelation turned Gray from Clarets hero to villain overnight and it was no surprise when he signed for Charlton on the 18th January 2008, when he sealed an emergency loan deal before a permanent move the following week for an estimated £1.5 million.
At the time Charlton were riding high with dreams of an automatic promotion and return to the Premier League at the first attempt.
They were indeed rivals for the Clarets who also had a dream of at least reaching the play-offs. Sadly for both clubs, with a few matches remaining of the season, it looks like both have missed out so one obvious question is could this in anyway be due to Andy Gray?
This season, Andy Gray had scored 13 goals for the Clarets in 27 appearances before leaving the club. Incredibly it has taken 13 games in Charlton colours for him to score his first goal for the Addicks. His first goal for Charlton came only last week when he scored an equalizer in a 1-1 home draw with Southampton.
So why has it taken so long to break the duck? Were the tactics at Burnley more suited to his style of play? Has he been unsettled?
Gray had this to say after scoring last week:
'I've not been scoring goals which is why I've not been playing - I can't blame anyone apart from myself.
'It's been a period I'd like to forget and hopefully I can move on now and score a few more goals.'
But what do the Charlton fans think?
We asked some Addicks fans over on Vital Charlton what they thought about the Gray situation and here is what they said, bearing in mind some of these comments were made before he scored his first goal for them.
Red Robin- 10/4/2008
We are playing very poorly recently despite what Pards is saying.
Personally some fans are on Andy Grays back. I am not one of those. I can see his strengths in linking up play, holding the ball up etc. What he hasn't had which he did with Burnley is a decent run and a chance to build an understanding with another forward. We have chopped and changed our team around so much that the right hand doesn't seem to know what the left hand is doing.
Andy Gray has had a couple of injuries. I think when fit he has been part of the 16.
I think Gray will come good but likely to be next season now as his confidence must be getting ruined by the tactics we are currently employing. Since we sold Andy Reid we cannot seem to create chances.
Can`t see us making the playoffs but to be honest we don`t deserve to. We haven't put a decent run of games together once this season and the Valley faithful are a bit dispirited and rightly so.
I like his style, but he doesn't look an out-and-out goal scorer which is what we needed (and still do!). I wasn't happy about the way we purchased him, but I guess that`s the way of the football world nowadays...it`s happened to us before (Parker, Murphy etc). Hence why (IMO) we paid over the odds for him...you only have to look at Ebanks-Blake to see how £1.5m should be spent!!
Gray has had minor injuries and an illness (flu I think), so he hasn't had a decent run in the team, which most of our squad could say too!
Like Red said, I don't see us making the Play-Offs and again we don't deserve it either.....just so long as we finish above Palarse!!
I echo what has been said above. I think that the two goals, incidentally his last, which he scored against us in early December, persuaded Pardew to part with too much money for a player who does not look like a natural goal scorer to me. At the time of the signing we were desperate to sign a 'striker' of any sort and, as Arry says, still are.
Pard's signings of forward players for us have not worked out and I am concerned that his abilities may not stretch to the recognition of true striking talent. While Iwelumo makes Gray look like Ronaldo and Rooney rolled into one he has, despite trying hard, not yet done it for us. He is quite skilful and holds the ball up well but this is a secondary requirement as far as we are concerned. We want somebody who can side foot the ball into the net from five yards and also work opposition keepers from outside of the box. We, currently, do not have either of these skills at our disposal.
1.5 mill. for a 30 year old patchy goal scorer, short on confidence and who is unlikely to improve much, seems to me to be a good bit of business from Burnley's standpoint.
And no, I do not think that we will make the play offs. Wolves, with a point more than us, two games in hand and currently in the middle of a good run, look nailed on to me. Still in football, you never know!
Well I think like a lot of players he needs to settle in, his first game against Watford I thought he wasn`t bad considering he had only signed the night before. I`m sure he is actually a great player because Pardew would never have splashed that much cash on a player of that age. once he gets his first Charlton goal he will be unstoppable, and based on the team around him he can only improve as the team does, although I did expect him net in his first few games but if he does score continuously once he`s got his first then I`m sure hell seem worth it.
He has had consistency in the team and I can`t see him making the team week in week out to be honest we have a lot of strikers and let`s just say he isn`t the best but will fit in when needed I`m sure.
I`m sure his form wasn`t the best for Burnley and it won`t be much better for Charlton and i could see him getting the axe in the summer/ January simply because he has lacked goals just like the rest of our strikers. Let`s hope Pardew resumes faith in Gray and I hope that he gets his first goal before the close of the season but knowing Charlton`s luck he will probably get his first goal in the final 5 games an continually score when it is too last and will not take his form into the 08-09 season.
The bloke is proven in this League, and although I think we did pay more than we should have I do think that he has qualities that we have been lacking. These qualities probably haven't been utilised as best they might have, but as also said we have been playing poorly so it`s been difficult for anyone to get going really.
I agree. Gray was signed IMO because we had lost Toderov. He is not in the same mould as Toderov who has that ability to change the pace of a game and the direction in one instant. But Gray is a link player albeit different from Toderov. But there are not too many players like Toddy out there.
Gray has proven for me that he has that ability. I hope we resign Toddy next season but also keep Gray. Put him alongside a new striker or Varney if we cannot shift him or get someone else in. Who knows Dickson might be the type of striker that Gray or Toddy can bring the best out of.
I am not without hope for next season although I guess that means I have now given up on this season.
I think most have though haven't they, and it`s not without reason to do so. With a few alterations over the summer we should be able to look forward to next season really, providing we get these few alterations right.
So there we have it, just a few comments from the Addicks lads, all of which make interesting reading. We thank the Charlton fans over on Vital Charlton for their time in responding to our questions.
It looks like sadly for both clubs we will be playing each other again next season but in the Championship and not in the Premier League. Gray got a fairly hostile reception when he played against us at Turf Moor recently. That game finished 1-0 to the Clarets after a wonder strike from Wade Elliott. Gray had a mediocre game in that match before being substituted in the second half. There was great relief amongst Clarets fans who had feared Gray could well break his duck against his former club.
So a double over the Addicks this season but what will next season bring and what reception will Gray get from the Clarets fans? Only time will tell but Clarets fans are rarely forgiving of players who refuse to wear the shirt with pride.