Graham Lancashire Interview

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Graham Lancashire was born on 19th October 1972, in Blackpool, Lancashire, having progressed through the youth ranks at Turf Moor he made his football league debut in the 1990-91 season, shortly before signing professional terms with the Clarets.

The following season he scored eight goals as Burnley won the Fourth Division Championship.  Lancashire then spent time on loan with Halifax Town, before an excellent spell with Chester City the following season.

Lancashire scored 7 goals in 11 appearances to help Chester clinch promotion, including a last-gasp winner against promotion rivals Preston North End.  Lancashire was recalled to Burnley shortly before the season ended and was an unused substitute in the Play-Off Final victory over Stockport County at Wembley Stadium.

A move to Preston North End followed in December 1994, but he was to make only six appearances as the club won the Third Division Championship the following season. In August 1996 he was transferred for £35,000 to Wigan Athletic, where he had played on loan the previous season.

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Lancashire was once more involved in another Division Three promotion campaign and despite injury problems he scored 9 goals in Wigan’s championship season.  However once more his opportunities were limited after promotion and he joined Rochdale for £40,000 in October 1997.

He played at Spotland for four years before leaving at the end of the 2000-01 season, which marked the end of his professional career, as he joined non-league side Hednesford Town.  Since ending his playing days, Lancashire is now working as Academy Operations Manager at Burnley Football Club.

Interview

Who was your biggest influence in football?

My Dad was secretary of the team I played for in Blackpool (FC Rangers), from the ages of 8 to 16 and he actively encouraged everything I did without putting any pressure on me.

What is your best football highlight?

Being involved in 3 promotions, but the 91/92 Burnley 4th Division Championship in my first year as a pro was definitely up there.

What is your football lowlight?

I damaged my knee ligaments 3 times and never fully recovered from the injuries.

League Debut?

I came on as a sub replacing David Hamilton at home to Wrexham on the 11th May 1991, but my full debut was away at Scarborough on the 28th September 1991.

Best Goal You Scored?

There are two goals that I would class as my best, the first was an overhead kick for Chester City (Loan) on 22nd April 1994 to guarantee Chester City promotion.  The second was my third goal for my hat-trick against Wrexham on 12th October 1991 for Burnley.

Toughest Opponent & why?

Gary Briggs (Blackpool), old fashioned centre half who wasn’t averse to punching you in the face when the ball was at the other end of the pitch!

Who is the best manager you have played for and why?

Frank Casper believed in me and gave me my first professional contract and debut. He was an excellent coach and really nice genuine person too.

Who was the best player you played with and why?

Played with a young lad called David Beckham when he came to Preston North End on loan, think his career speaks for itself!!!

How has the game changed from when you started your career?

Money, TV and players now are fitter than ever before. The science involved with training and matches whether its strength & conditioning coaches or analysis is amazing.

If you could change one rule in football, what would it be and why?

Retroactive punishment can be carried out based on video evidence regardless of whether or not the ref actually passed judgement there and then.

We should be able to acknowledge that referees do not make perfect calls all the time without it somehow implying loss of faith to all referees ever.

What its like meeting up with the players again for the Vintage Clarets?

It’s great meeting up and its like you’ve never stopped playing. The dressing room banter is still the same, the legs may be a little slower and waistlines a little bigger on some of us but it is fantastic to meet up and help raise lots of money for many different charities.

We also get to meet fellow ex Clarets who we may never have met previously and we all have the common bond of an association and affinity with the club.

After finishing in the Pro game you have spent time at Turf Moor as part of the coaching & development could you tell us about your role?

My role at the club now is Academy Operations Manager which in effect is Assistant Academy Manager.  This means I am responsible for the organisation, planning and delivery of all operational, administrative and logistical support within the Club’s Academy and for ensuring effective communication and work practices between the staff and club’s departments.

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