Where Are They Now - John Clayton
The 'Where Are They Now' series continues with Peverell Green taking a look at the career of striker John Clayton.
JOHN CLAYTON - Born 20th August 1961 Elgin, Scotland.
John first came to the attention of English football clubs after playing in a Schoolboy International for Scotland. He joined Derby County as an apprentice as soon as he had completed his A-Levels. Making his first team debut for them in October 1978 in a 2-2 draw at home to Spurs, it turned out to be his only appearance in the top flight of English football. In the four seasons he spent at Derby he made 24 league appearances scoring four goals.
After being released by Derby he moved to Hong Kong for a season playing for Bulova SA. No, I've never heard of them either. While there he played 26 games and scored 14 goals.
A move back to England in 1983 saw him join Chesterfield, again only for a season, playing for them 33 times scoring 5 goals.
A fourth move in four years saw him join Tranmere in the summer of 1984 and he started to score goals on a regular basis in total he played 47 times for the club and scored 35 goals.
At the end of the 1984-86 season his goalscoring saw him awarded the Football League's 'Golden Boot', he was the joint winner sharing the trophy with our own Tommy Tynan both scoring 31 league goals.
This led Argyle to think of him as a replacement for the Rotherham bound Tommy Tynan and a bid of £24,000 secured his services.
It was a hard act to follow and the step up from Division four to Division three saw goals more difficult to score, in his first season he scored 11 league and one cup goals from 36 league and seven cup appearances, helping Argyle to win promotion by finishing runners up to Reading, although Tommy Tynan's return on loan for the last nine games in which he scored ten goals helped.
With Tommy re-joining the club permanently both appearances and goals became difficult for John, in 1986-87 he made a total of 25 league and cup appearances scoring three goals, in the following season he made another 25 appearances, with almost half coming on as a substitute, scoring eight goals.
Both his final appearance and goal for the club came in a 2-1 defeat at Shrewsbury in the last game of the 1986-87 season.
Both Argyle and John realised who the principal striker was going to be at Home Park with Tommy again scoring for fun, so when an offer of £65,000 came from Fortuna Sittard John decided his football future was in Holland.
He remained with them for two seasons making 47 appearances scoring 16 goals. He spent another two seasons in Holland playing for FC Volendam where he made 61 appearances and scored 18 goals.
At the end of the 1991-92 season he decided to move back to England and was about to sign for Reading after having a trial with them when a better offer came in from Burnley , a two-year deal made him decide he should move to Turf Moor.
Unfortunately, his time at Burnley was plagued by injuries. He made his debut against Stockport and played again three days later in a League Cup game against Carlisle. A back injury meant he didn't play again until November when he scored his only goal for the club in a home win against Huddersfield, in the following week's game at Bolton he had to be substituted and never played for the first team again. He had surgery on his persistent back problem but was unable able to play again and was forced into early retirement.
In 1995 John and his family moved to Bristol because of his wife's business, their eldest son Jonathan who had been playing for Burnley Under- 10's was signed on by Bristol City.
As John was taking his son to training sessions the academy coach, Pete Coleman asked if he fancied coming in once a week to take a training session. This gradually built up until he was coaching five nights a week. After five years going through the teams from Under-10's to Under-16's Tony Fawthrop the academy director offered him a full time job.
He started helping future City manager Keith Millen with the Under-17 team. When Keith Millen took over coaching the first team and then Tony Fawthrop left he became academy manager.
In June 2012 Willie McStay took over as the club's new head of academy coaching with John taking over as Under-18 coach.