Sunday, 9 January 2011
253 Graham Lancashire
Position : Forward
Played : 1997-98 to 2000-01
Appearances : 83
Goals : 23
Graham was signed after protracted negotiations from Wigan for £40,000 in October 1997. He started out at Burnley making his debut as a sub in May 1991. The following season he got a run in the side and scored 8 goals in his first 7 games. Despite that he was dropped when others returned from injury and never got a real chance again at Turf Moor. He got a Fourth Division Championship medal in 1992. The following season he failed to make a mark either at Burnley or on loan at Halifax but in 1994 went on loan to Graham Barrow's Chester and sealed their promotion by scoring 7 in 11 games before returning to Burnley to sit on the bench at Wembley as they won the Second Division Play-off final. He made one more appearance for them before joining Preston for £55,000 in December 1994. He failed to score in 17 games for them that season. He did better in 1995-96 scoring twice in 6 games before he went on loan to Wigan. After 3 goals in 4 appearances he was signed permanently for £35,000 and formed a partnership with Graeme Jones that won the Division Three title in 1997 despite him picking up an injury which kept him out from the beginning of October to the end of February. He only featured in 2 games the following season amid doubts about his long term fitness which is what gave Barrow the opportunity to sign him again.
Graham made his debut at home to Scunthorpe in October 1997 and made his mark within 10 minutes when he slipped his marker, drew the keeper and squared it for Alex Russell to tap in, a very impressive, unselfish, piece of play. In his next game he got a brace in the 5-0 demolition of Darlington and it looked like we had a bargain. However, the downside of signing someone of questionable fitness was soon evident as he was injured again by the end of the month returning to score at Doncaster at the end of November. He ended the season on 9 from 27 games.
Graham was regarded by some as merely a penalty-box predator but his link-up play was very good as well and for a short-ish guy he was good in the air , able to get power and direction on his headers. His second season with us was a bit of a wash-out managing only 11 games and 3 goals which contributed to the demise of Barrow. He came to be regarded as a white elephant and the incoming Steve Parkin was expected to pension him off. However Parkin still rated him and he managed 29 games and 8 goals in 1999-00 including a purple patch in January where he scored in 4 successive games and formed a lethal partnership with Tony Ellis. He also scored the golden goal in the best ever FL Trophy game where we came from 2-0 down to beat Macclesfield 3-2. Unfortunately the following season he went missing again and had only played 4 odd games before returning to first team action with the sole gooal in our 1-7 humiliation by Shrewsbury. Although he stayed fit for the rest of the season , Paul Connor was bought to replace him and Graham was restricted to substitute appearances. He scored his last League goal, a late consolation strike in a crucial 3-1 defeat at Blackpool which enabled them to pip us to the last play-off spot. In his last League game away at Plymouth he came on and had a last minute chance to rescue the situation but put a header wide of the post.
His time was over and he joined Hednesford Town on a free transfer playing on for a couple more years. He now works as a gardener but also organises schools football events for Speed Mark.