Phil Cavener Interview

Phil Cavener was born on the 2nd June 1961 in North Shields, however at the age of ten he emigrated to Australia with his family in the early 1970’s. Having made an impression on the pitch down under Arsenal Football Club offered him a trial at Highbury at the age of fifteen. After his family relocated to Burnley he signed schoolboy forms for the Clarets first before signing a professional contract in May 1979.

He made his debut for the club against Leyton Orient on the 3rd November 1979 and became a regular in the Clarets first-team squad. The following season (1980-81) he made 42 appearances, scoring 4 goals. However he lost form the following season and made twelve league and cup appearances as the Clarets won the Third Division Championship.

After a loan spell at Valley Parade where he made nine appearances for Bradford City he was released by the Clarets at the end of the 1982-83 season. Cavener then went overseas and joined FK Karlskrona in Sweden where he made just one appearance. He returned to England signing for Gilligham before becoming a first-team regular at Northampton Town where he returned to Turf Moor to face Burnley in the clubs first-ever 4th Division match in August 1985.

Cavener, joined Kettering Town in the summer of 1986 and was a key member of the Vauxhall Conference side helping them reach and win the Bob Lord Trophy Final against Hendon at Wembley Stadium. However whilst driving back from the cup final he was badly injured in a car accident and spent eight months in hospital, bringing an end to his playing career.

Having joined Arlesey Town as manager he led them to a league and cup double in the 1994–95 season, which saw them win the Southern Premier Division with a record 107 points, as well as beating Oxford City 2–1 in the FA Vase Final at Wembley Stadium.

Chadwick Media this week caught up with the former Clarets midfielder to speak about his football career and time at Turf Moor. During the interview we discussed the people that have influenced his career and the best players he has played with and against over his football career.


Biggest influence on your career in football?

There can only be one person, the biggest influence on my football career was my dad

What is your best football highlight?

It’s difficult to name just one highlight, but three things come to mind the first would be scoring two goals for Burnley on my away debut in the old second division. The second would be scoring a hat-trick in a 3-2 win for Northampton Town against Torquay United and the final thing would be leading Arlesey Town out as manager at Wembley in the 1994-95 FA Vase against Oxford City which we won 2-1, brilliant day and fantastic bunch of players.

Tell us about your Football League Debut?

My league debut was against Leyton Orient at Turf Moor on the 3rd November 1979, we lost the game 2-1 and I was very nervous playing on the same team as legends like Alan Stevenson, Keith Newton, Martin Dobson, Brian Flynn, Peter Noble, Jim Thomson, Leighton James, Paul Fletcher, Steve Kindon and Vince Overson who also made his league debut in the same match.

Toughest Opponent You faced and Why?

Again it is difficult to pick out just one player, I would say the toughest opponents I faced were Ron Harris, Ray Stewart, Dennis Smith to be honest in those days all the full-backs wanted to give you a hard time and they could get away with kicking and elbowing you, it was nothing like what you see in the game today.

Best Goal you Scored and Why?

I didn’t score too many goals so the two goals I scored against Notts County in my first away game for the Clarets really stand out. The game was played at Meadow Lane in front of a crowd of 7,596 on the 29th December 1979. The first goal came on eighteen minutes after beating two men I shot from fifteen yards into the far corner of the net. The second goal was more of a team effort with Billy Hamilton, Marshall Burke and Derek Scott working hard to put me through on goal to score my second of the game.

Best Manager you Played for and Why?

I liked all the managers I played for in different ways, from Harry Potts, Brian Miller and Frank Casper (Burnley) Trevor Cherry (Bradford City), Tony Barton (Northampton Town), Graham Carr (Northampton Town), Keith Peacock (Gillingham), Alan Buckley (Kettering) all good managers and I learnt at from them all over the years.

Best Player you Played with and Why?

Again tough question, I played with some fantastic players such as Leighton James, one of the best, he had everything you ever needed in a player. Then there was Martin Dobson he was such an elegant player, Paul Fletcher who used to just hang in the air, we also had players like Steve Kindon who was fast, direct and so powerful, Trevor Steven a brilliant player and I knew when training and playing alongside him he would go onto big things. Whilst at Bradford City I played alongside some of the club legends, players such as Bobby Campbell (below), Stuart Mcall (current Bradford City Manager), Peter Jackson and Mark Ellis. At Gillingham I played in the same side as Steve Bruce, who was also in the team that I played in at Wallsend Boys Club.

You were part of the Clarets 3rd Division Championship team under Brian Miller, could you tell us about that Championship season and squad?

It was an excellent season for the club, however it was a disappointing season in some ways as I think I only played around six league games. I spent most of the season frozen out as the team were playing well and my form was not the best. I was low on confidence, but the games I did play in I really enjoyed, we had a great trip to Spain at the end of the season to celebrate and the team did fantastic to win the league. It was a top bunch of players.

What was it like playing football in Sweden for FK Karlskrona and how did it differ from the UK?

I was very disillusioned after getting released from Burnley and I had numerous offers, but I had a call from an agent about playing in Sweden. I thought why not, the problem was before my registration came through which took three weeks, the team was relegated and I had only played one game. I thought football was great a lot slower and easier than in the UK. Anyway I was asked to go out on loan or they would pay my contract up and I could go home, so I spoke to the PFA and ended up signing for Gillingham.

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Settle Professional Cricketer Speaks About Life In Lockdown

Ashen Silva On Life In Sri Lanka Under Coronavirus Lockdown

It’s difficult to put into words how life has changed since this time last year, as we all looked ahead to the new cricket season and the opening Ribblesdale League match against Padiham Cricket Club at Marshfield Road. The new Sri Lankan professional Ashen Silva making his debut and the return of fans favourite Eddy Reid to the club.

The opening match set the tone for the season as Tom Davidson and Danyl Husbands both scored centuries as the club went on to win the match. Over the season, the whole squad came together and battled through some difficult times to win the championship and be crowned the 2019 Ribblesdale Cricket League winners.

Just twelve months on and the world is in lockdown from the coronavirus which has so far claimed over 46,000 lives around the world. All sport has been postponed or cancelled until further notice, including the 2020 Ribblesdale Cricket League and all social life has been put on hold with the closing of all restaurants, bars and pubs around the country.

After the season had finished our club professional Ashen Silva returned to Dankotuwa, which is in the North-West of Sri Lanka some 6,629 miles from Settle, to spend some time with his family before returning to North Yorkshire for this coming season. However due to the virus and the cricket league being put on hold he will now spend the summer in Sri Lanka on lockdown.

Just like the rest of the world, the Sri Lankan government has advised its citizens to stay at home to reduce contact and save lives. As of the 31st March 2020, the government had so far reported 142 cases of coronavirus and 2 deaths in Sri Lanka from the pandemic. The streets are empty and almost all businesses are closed to the public.

Chadwick Media today contacted the Settle Cricket Club all rounder to give us his view of life in Sri Lanka under the coronavirus lockdown. The interview was to understand the current position in other countries, but also to see how it will effect him as a professional sportsman in terms of fitness and his future career.


On the 31st March 2020, the Sri Lankan government had reported 142 cases of the coronavirus and 2 deaths from the pandemic, how are the people of Dankotuwa feeling about the virus?

Everybody is taking it very seriously and listening to what the Sri Lankan government are advising them to do. I’ve been at home now for 17 days with my family. We haven’t even been for shopping for 17 days, that’s how worried we are about the virus.

In terms of the differnce between the UK and Sri Lanka, we have had issues over the last few weeks with supermarkets having empty shelves are you having the same issues or is it easy to get hold of food?

We didn’t have such things happened here, only when people heard about the first virus patient did they panic buy, but it has not happened again after that initial few days. Our government and health ministry with the help of three forces have managed things really well at the moment.

The England team were due to tour Sri Lanka but due to the coronavirus the tour has been cancelled, will this have an impact on Sri Lankan national side in the future in terms of finance?

I don’t think so mate, the cricket board have enough money, but it will be a problem in the long run for a lot of cricket boards around the world as international cricket won’t be played for at least six months.

In terms of cricket in the UK, all leagues have been suspended and this will have an impact on the overseas players that normally come to the UK. What is the current situation for yourself?

Yes, this will be an issue as I don’t think overseas players will be playing this year if any cricket happens in Uk at all and I don’t think it will. I won’t be coming over this year for Settle Cricket Club, but I will be back next season 2021.

As a professional sportsman how are you keeping fit at the moment?

It’s very easy mate, doing the tidying up and helping my mum around the house (she is very happy at the moment because I’m home after a long time). I also have a training plan doing some home workouts in the evenings, as well as running and resistance training.

Not being able to return to Settle Cricket Club this season what will you miss about playing for the club?

It’s a good question mate! I will miss everything! Playing and winning games for Settle Cricket Club and socializing will be definitely missed. But what can you do, it is what it is at the moment and life goes on what ever happens

At present in the UK we have a number TV & sports stars telling us to stay at home via various media channels such as TV, Radio and social Media. If you could speak to the staff, players and supporters of Settle Cricket Club what would you say to them at this difficult time?

I would say to them the same thing! Stay home and stay safe. Wash hands regularly and we should do what the government instructs us to do. This will prevent the spread of the virus and nature will take control so it’s a waiting game now.

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Clarets In Profit For Third Successive Season

Burnley Football Club Make £4.3M Profit

Burnley Football Club recorded a net profit for a third successive season in the financial year ending June 2019. The Clarets annual accounts for Burnley Football Club Holdings show a surplus of £4.3m (£5m pre-tax) as Sean Dyche’s side secured a fourth successive season of top-flight football for the first time in almost half a century.

The figure was down on the record profit of £36.6m (£45m pre-tax) recorded for the previous 12 months, due largely to a higher net spend on new players of approximately £20m compared to the previous year where the sales of Andre Gray and Michael Keane boosted profitability considerably. The club’s annual turnover decreased slightly by just over £1m to £137.8m, due in part to a decrease in Premier League ‘place monies’ after the Clarets finished 15th in the table in 2019 following their Europa League campaign achieved by a top-seven finish in the 2017/18 season.

The wage bill increased from £82m to £87m mainly due to increased player, coaching and other football staff costs with the wage to turnover ratio now sitting at 62%. In the second half of the season we also invested heavily in our recruitment and scouting set-up, more than tripling the number of full-time staff. Following the year end the club secured the permanent signings of Jay Rodriguez, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Erik Pieters and Joshua Brownhill to strengthen the senior squad, while Tom Heaton, Steven Defour, Stephen Ward and Nahki Wells all left Turf Moor.

Chairman Mike Garlick said in his annual report to shareholders “We are confident that this increased investment will slowly but surely develop our ability to identify and sign players that can improve our first-team squad, whilst at the same time helping to maintain our financial sustainability as a club for generations to come. Following our spectacular seventh-place finish in the 2017/18 season, we embarked on our first season in Europe in over 50 years, which I’m sure most of us thought we would never see again.

Combining our European adventure with the weekly fixture programme of the Premier league proved highly challenging. But following a highly successful second half of the season we managed to slowly but steadily climb up the table to a respectable finish and secure our fourth consecutive season of top-flight football for the first time in 50 years.

The future is extremely bright for all of us, although in the short term we know we all face unique challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. We are working closely with the Premier League and the relevant authorities regarding footballing matters, while off the field making sure the club continues to operate effectively and all staff, family and fans stay as safe and healthy and well supported as possible.

Elsewhere in the annual accounts, match income was shown to have risen from £5.6m to £6.3m in the 12 months up to last June. Catering and retail sales stayed almost static at around £2.6m and £1.8m respectively, while income from other commercial activity rose from £7.3m to £12m.

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Newcastle United Mulling Over Double Swoop

Jeff Hendrick & Robbie Brady Wanted By the Toon

According to reports in the Chronicle, Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce is reportedly mulling over a double swoop for Burnley’s Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendricks. The Republic of Ireland Internationals are both out of contract in the summer and as things stands both will be free to leave Turf Moor on the 1st July 2020.

However, the same newspaper reports the Magpies are set to face fierce competition for the pair with Celtic and six other clubs from the Premier League and Championship also considering making offers for the Clarets midfielders.

Jeff Hendrick has made 122 appearances for the Clarets since signing from Derby County in 2016 for a deal worth more than £10m. The club are understood to be in discussion with the midfielder over a new deal, however the United boss Steve Bruce is understood to be a massive admirer of the midfielder. Bruce also signed winger Brady during his time at Hull City and reportedly believes the pair would offer cover in a number of areas next season.

The Magpies head coach remains confident the club will land four “quality” targets in the summer, with work on deals already under way. A striker and a box-to-box midfielder are top of the wish list and Newcastle are looking to Europe to build around the experienced domestic core they have retained and re-signed.

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Former Clarets Keeper On Turf Moor Exit

Tom Heaton Talks About Leaving the Clarets to Join Aston Villa

Tom Heaton might no longer be a Burnley player but the former Clarets captain would love to come back to Turf Moor in a coaching role in the future. He ended his six year association with Burnley in the summer and joined Aston Villa and the goalkeeper is currently recovering from a serious knee injury sustained when his new club beat the Clarets in January this year.

Heaton, who is hoping to return to full fitness in the summer, is currently working to an individual training plan with football shutdown until at least the end of the month. But he took time out of his schedule to give us an interview, the England international discusses how his Clarets exit came about and why he’d love to return and his relationship with the Burnley supporters.

Heaton, moved to Aston Villa on the 1st August last year with the Clarets netting £8M for a player synonymous with the Clarets rise under Sean Dyche. He was also Sean Dyche’s first permanent signing at Turf Moor when he arrived for Bristol City following relegation to the third tier of the Football League.

Over the next six seasons Heaton elevated himself to hero status with the Clarets faithful the highs too many to count as he played a huge role in claiming two promotions to the Premier League. His form last term was one of the main reason why Burnley secured top flight status and yet within a few months of the season ending he’d left.

Nick Pope had been handed a new deal in May in a sign of where Dyche’s loyalty lay for this campaign and with Joe Hart also on the books three into one simply didn’t go. Heaton revealed that just like it did for the fans, the move to the Midlands took a while to sink in.

Speaking about his time at Turf Moor Tom Heaton said “To be brutally honest having been there for so long, it was a massive part of my life and my career so far. It was six years but it felt more like sixteen years because that was how good it was. The one thing I would say is that the timing was right for me personally and I was ready for that fresh challenge.

Burnley was a massive part of me and my career and I will never forget my time at the club, Sean Dyche is a manager I have huge respect for, but before the move we didn’t sit down and discuss the move it was a transfer that just felt right. If I am being honest, there wasn’t a single conversation about my Turf Moor exit. It was more how I felt and I felt the timing was right on the back of the injury and Joe Hart coming in. The situation suited me and the club sold me and so I am pretty sure it suited them.

If I am honest it is how it goes, football is constantly evolving it was it a big decision for me, Of course it was, a massive decision. You can never have any guarantees in football and looking back now I am certain I can say it was the right decision and I am thoroughly enjoying it at Villa at the moment but at the time you never know.

You can only go on what you feel, the easier one would have been to stay, but you have to roll with it. In terms of the staff, players and the manager especially we have an incredible relationship. People find it strange, but I’ve kept in contact with him pretty regularly since I have left the club, I have a very good relationship with the gaffer and that is great.

You look at the bigger picture and assess the situation there were a lot of factors involved but you just go with your instinct and if you feel it is right then you do it. Football is an interesting journey and you never know what is around the corner.”

Speaking about his future, Heaton hinted in a recent behind the scenes interview with Match of the Day that he would be open to a return to Turf Moor as a coach or manager. I think staying in football, hopefully it will be five or six years down the line as I think it would be difficult for me to move away from the playing side of the game.

It’s all I have ever done and I absolutely love it, coaching or management is something like that down that line would be great. I have got a connection with the club (at Burnley) and if I could return there in the future then that would be fantastic. You never really know but it’s something that would massively appeal to me.

Having kept in contact with Billy Mercer I have had a good laugh with him saying I was coming for his job! I am not coming for Billy Mercer’s job, because he is doing a fantastic job and it is down the line for me. I had a fantastic relationship with him and still speak to him regularly.

Back to the present and Heaton’s main focus is recovering from the knee injury that ended his season when he collided with the post in trying in vain to claw out Chris Wood’s header in the 2-1 Villa win at Turf Moor on New Year’s Day. The keeper, who made exactly 200 appearances for the Clarets, admitted he initially felt he could play on but it soon became apparent the injury, sustained at what the player called his ‘favourite end’ was serious.

At the time when I did it I thought I was going to be alright, I actually tried to stand up. I had no issues with my knees before but something felt not quite right. The doctor and the physio came on and said ‘code red’ to the bench and I was thinking ‘hang on a minute lads steady on, let’s see if I can shake it off a little bit. I tried to stand up but something wasn’t right so the stretcher it was, I didn’t fancy the stretcher but it had to be done.

It was a real innocuous one but the damage was obviously there, it was relatively straight forward damage to the anterior cruciate ligament and nothing too complicated and I am on the road to recovery now. I underwent surgery eleven weeks ago and am able to continue the rehabilitation pretty much as planned despite the current lock down.

I have total belief that I will come back better and stronger and using those experiences is vital really. It is a strange comment but it is nice to have that in the bank and be able to draw on it. I am actually really pleased with the progress so far, the surgery went really well and itis all moving in the right direction.

With uncertainty surrounding when football will resume given the coronavirus, during which Heaton is spending time with his wife and two young children, playing teacher as well as dad, the plan is simply to recuperate as quickly as possible and be in a position to play again in the summer. I have been fortunate with the lock down that I am at a point where I am strengthening the leg so I am able to do most of those exercises myself and I am not missing out on too much by being at the training ground.

His last act being carried off at Turf Moor was to raise a hand to show his appreciation to the Clarets supporters, who gave him a standing ovation as he left the pitch. While Heaton couldn’t quite appreciate the praise at the time given his injury concerns his dad Dave who was born in Burnley and watching in the stands, certainly did.

My dad said he got a bit emotional in the stands listening to it, said the keeper, who had an incredible relationship with the Burnley supporters during his time at the Turf Moor thanks to his ability, affable personality and willingness to chat to fans and get involved in the community. I enjoyed going back and seeing everyone, playing the game I was focused on that but it was certainly not how I envisaged leaving the pitch.

I got a fantastic reception from the fans coming off, it was difficult to fully appreciate it when you have some uncertainty about your leg. I was very, very grateful for that (reception) and I would hope people know that respect is mutual. It was great going back and having so many fond memories, there is still a strong feeling in my heart about the place, as you might imagine. They say home is where the heart is and maybe one day Heaton will be back at Turf Moor.”

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Former Clarets Defender Sadly Passes Away

Fred Smith (1942 – 2020)

Burnley Football Club have this evening confirmed that former Clarets defender Frederick (Freddie) Smith has sadly passed away at the age of seventy-seven. He was recommended to Burnley by Jack Hixon while playing for Northumberland Schoolboys and joined the Clarets in January 1958 as an amateur.

During the 1958/1959 season he regularly featured for the Colts before breaking in to the ‘B’ team towards the end of the season. In the early 1960’s Freddie established himself in the reserve team at Turf Moor and became an accomplished right-back. He helped the Clarets win back-to-back Central League Championships in 1961/1962 and 1962/1963.

In November 1963 he made his first-team debut against Stoke City at the Victoria Ground where he played as a left-back. He continued to figure for the Clarets but due to the form of dependable John Angus at right-back struggled to sustain a regularly place in the first team. He featured for the Clarets in their Inter-Cities Fairs Cup campaign in 1966/1967 and played in the famous ill-tempered tie in Naples.

Season 1968/1969 saw Freddie feature in 29 league and cup games, although the following season his first-team appearances were again limited. Freddie was sold to Portsmouth in 1970 for a fee of £10,000 and he went on to make over 80 league appearances for the south-coast club. He moved to Dallas Tornado in 1973 prior to returning to England to play briefly for Halifax Town in 1974.

In total Freddie made a total of 107 appearances in league and cup competitions for the Clarets, scoring on one occasion against Arsenal in May, 1967. After retiring from football, he became a milkman before running a newsagent’s and also a restaurant in Nelson. He died in Burnley and leaves wife Jean with children Julian and Amanda.

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Northern Premier League Confirms End of 2019-20 Season

Lancaster City Northern Premier League Season Ends

The Football Association have this afternoon released a statement with regards to the 2019-20 non-league football season which reads as follows:-

We have been working collaboratively with the National League System and the wider grassroots game since the outbreak of COVID-19, about how to conclude the 2019-20 season in the most appropriate way possible. These are challenging circumstances for English football and all decisions taken are in the best interests of the game and in consultation across key stakeholders.

Our primary concern will always be for the safety and welfare of clubs, players, staff, officials, volunteers and supporters during this unprecedented time.Today’s steps take into account the financial impact during this uncertain period, whilst considering the fairest method on how the sporting outcomes for the season will be decided with the integrity of the leagues in mind.

The National League System were able to build a consensus amongst their leagues and where possible, aimed to create a consistent approach across all leagues, whilst taking into account the unique characteristics of each individual league. As a result, The FA and NLS steps three to six have reached a consensus that their 2019-20 season will now be brought to an end and all results will be expunged. This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between NLS steps three to six and no promotion to NLS step two.

These decisions will also apply to the leagues and clubs who play at NLS step seven. We will continue to assist and support the National League to determine the outcome of its 2019-20 season as quickly as possible. The planned implementation of the restructure of the NLS will also now be deferred until the start of the 2021-22 season. Furthermore, we can now confirm that we have decided that all grassroots football is concluded for the 2019-20 season.

This will allow the game to move forward and to commence planning for next season, our County Football Associations (CFAs) will be supporting grassroots leagues over the coming days to determine how they should close out their current competitions where appropriate, the above decisions will be put to The FA Council for ratification. Throughout this period we continue to seek guidance in respect of the government’s financial support packages relative to COVID-19 and how they are applicable to clubs in the NLS, the women’s football pyramid and the wider grassroots game.

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