Gavin Gunning

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Gavin Gunning
Personal information
Full name Gavin Jude Gunning[1]
Date of birth (1991-01-26) 26 January 1991 (age 26)
Place of birth Dublin, Ireland
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Port Vale
Number 33
Youth career
2000–2004 St. Joseph's Boys
2004–2006 Crumlin United
2006–2008 Blackburn Rovers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2008–2011 Blackburn Rovers 0 (0)
2009 Tranmere Rovers (loan) 6 (0)
2010 Rotherham United (loan) 21 (0)
2010 Bury (loan) 2 (0)
2011 Motherwell (loan) 14 (0)
2011–2014 Dundee United 83 (8)
2014–2015 Birmingham City 0 (0)
2015 Oldham Athletic 0 (0)
2015–2016 Dundee United 19 (0)
2016–2017 Greenock Morton 10 (0)
2017 Grimsby Town 14 (0)
2017– Port Vale 5 (0)
National team
Republic of Ireland U17
2009 Republic of Ireland U19 3 (0)
2009–2012 Republic of Ireland U21 7 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 00:00, 17 September 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18:45, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Gavin Jude Gunning (born 26 January 1991) is an Irish footballer who plays as a centre back for EFL League Two club Port Vale. He has represented the Republic of Ireland at under-21 and youth team levels.

He played Gaelic football and association football in his youth, before moving to England in February 2006 after being signed by Blackburn Rovers from Crumlin United. He never played a first team game for Blackburn, though did have loan spells at Tranmere Rovers, Rotherham United, Bury, and Motherwell. He transferred to Dundee United in August 2011 and went on to be named on the PFA Scotland Team of the Year for 2011–12. He left the club in June 2014 and subsequently joined Birmingham City, though missed the 2014–15 season due to injury. He joined Oldham Athletic for a brief stay in August 2015, before returning to Dundee United three months later. He left United in April 2016, and signed a short-term deal with Greenock Morton five months later. He joined Grimsby Town in January 2017, and then moved on to Port Vale six months later.

Early life[edit]

Gunning was born in Dublin on 26 January 1991 and attended St Benildus College in the Kilmacud area of the city. As a youth, he played Gaelic football for Naomh Ólaf and Kilmacud Crokes and association football for Ballyogan Celtic, St. Joseph Boys and Crumlin United.

Club career[edit]

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

Gunning joined Blackburn Rovers from Crumlin United in January 2006, at the age of 15; it was reported as a "major coup" for Blackburn manager Mark Hughes as league champions Chelsea had also expressed an interest.[2][3] After featuring in the academy and reserve sides, Gunning was described as "one of the most promising prospects from Blackburn Rovers' Academy" and in 2008, signed a two-year professional contract.[4] He was given the number 29 shirt by Rovers manager Sam Allardyce for the 2009–10 season, having been given number 42 the previous season, though it was thought to be likely that he would be sent out on loan.[5] On 6 August 2009, he moved to Tranmere Rovers on a one-month loan.[6] He made his first team debut two days later, in a 2–0 defeat at Yeovil Town.[7] He went on to make a total of six League One appearances whilst at Prenton Park.

On 22 January 2010, Gunning started his second loan spell during that season when he joined League Two club Rotherham United on an initial one-month emergency loan.[8] After making two appearances, his loan was extended until the end of the season.[9] In the second leg of the 2009–10 League Two Play-offs against Aldershot Town, Gunning set up a goal for Adam le Fondre, as Rotherham won 3–0 on aggregate.[10] Gunning was in the starting line-up in the play-offs finals at Wembley Stadium, however Rotherham were defeated 3–2 by Dagenham & Redbridge.[11]

In November 2010, Gunning joined League Two side Bury on loan until 11 December 2010,[12] before the deal was extended until the end of January 2011.[13] He played just twice during his stay at Gigg Lane. On 28 January 2011, Gunning joined Scottish Premier League club Motherwell on loan until the end of the 2010–11 season.[14] He made his debut for the club on 2 February, coming on as a substitute for Steven Hammell in a 1–0 defeat to Kilmarnock.[15] On 27 February, he assisted one of John Sutton's two goals, as Motherwell beat Celtic 2–0 at Fir Park,[16] Gunning started the Scottish Cup Final against Celtic and struck a terrific long-range shot in the 35th minute which bounced off the crossbar; Celtic went on to win the match 3–0.[17] At the end of the season, he returned to Blackburn Rovers.[18]

Ahead of the 2011–12 season, Gunning was linked with a return to Motherwell and a move to Aberdeen, both as loan deals.[19] He then went on trial at Scunthorpe United.[20] After playing in a friendly match against Rotherham United, manager Alan Knill said he was satisfied with Gunning's performance, but thought that he, along with other players on trial with the club, needed to do more to get a contract.[21] After playing for Scunthorpe in another friendly, Knill said he was hoping to get Gunning signed on a permanent contract.[22]

"It was put in my head every day just how good I was. So I started smelling myself. Some days, my attitude was so bad I wouldn’t even turn up for training. I got to a point where I was being paid a lot of money at a young age and just couldn’t deal with it. I’d been away from home from the age of 14. That was tough. But at no point did someone grab hold of me. That was the disappointing thing. They’d given me a big contract at a young age so maybe they should have done more."

— In an October 2016 interview, Gunning admitted that his poor attitude meant he never fulfilled his potential at Blackburn.[23]

Dundee United[edit]

Having reportedly already rejected a move to Dundee United in July, as part of a swap deal involving David Goodwillie moving to Blackburn,[24] manager Peter Houston then said that the club were hopeful of completing the signing of Gunning.[25][26] On 12 August 2011, Gunning joined Dundee United on a three-year contract.[27] Upon signing, he said he was very excited to be joining the club and he revealed he'd had other options in England and Scotland.[28] He made his debut for the club in a 5–1 defeat to Celtic on 13 August, coming on as a substitute for Willo Flood in the 78th minute.[29] He scored his first goal for the club against St Johnstone on 27 August, his goal levelling the score at 3–3.[30] He scored his second goal of the season on 5 February, scoring with a powerful header, as Dundee United beat Rangers 2–0 in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup.[31] His third goal for the club came on 24 February, as Dundee United beat Hearts 2–0, his goal coming after he had earlier cleared an effort off his own goal line.[32] At the end of the 2011–12 season, Gunning was one of five Dundee United players alongside Paul Dixon, Gary Mackay-Steven, Johnny Russell and Jon Daly to be named in the PFA Scotland Team of the Year.[33] He was linked with a summer move to Ipswich Town, but that was dismissed by Dundee United.[34]

In the 2012–13 season, Gunning appeared in both legs of the third qualifying round of the Europa League, as Dundee United faced the Russian club Dynamo Moscow. After a 2–2 draw in the first leg at Tannadice,[35] United lost the second leg 5–0, going out 7–2 on aggregate.[36] He scored his first goal of the season against Dundee on 17 August 2012, as Dundee United won the Dundee derby 3–0.[37] Gunning scored two goals in three games between 26 December and 2 January against St Johnstone[38] and Aberdeen.[39] On 9 February, Gunning sustained an injury in a game against Hearts which ruled him out of action for the rest of the season.[40] Speaking in July 2013, Gunning said that Dundee United should have finished the season higher than they did, with the squad they had available.[41]

Gunning made his return from injury on 17 August 2013, in a 1–1 draw against Hibernian. However, he was sent off along with Kevin Thomson in the 65th minutes after an off the ball incident between the pair following a foul by Gunning.[42] While Hibernian unsuccessfully appealed Thomson's red card, Dundee United decided not to appeal the red card shown to Gunning.[43] On 4 September, Gunning was offered a three-match ban by the SFA after an incident involving Celtic's Virgil van Dijk, where he was alleged to have kicked out at his opponent.[44] Dundee United appealed against the ban, but this was rejected by the SFA's judicial panel.[45] Following this incident, Dundee United officials banned both the BBC and STV from further interviews with the club, feeling that the BBC's highlighting of the incident had led to the suspension.[46]

In December 2013, Gunning said that he was looking at signing a new contract with Dundee United.[47] On 29 January 2014, Gunning suffered a knee injury during training.[48] He made his return against Motherwell on 21 February, where he scored twice as Dundee United won 3–1.[49] This was the start of a run of four goals in three games for Gunning as he followed up those two with a goal on 28 February, in a 3–1 win over Hibernian[50] and then another one in the quarter-final of Scottish Cup, in a 5–0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle on 9 March.[51] In the Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers, Gunning set up Dundee United's first goal, scored by Stuart Armstrong, in a 3–1 win.[52] In the Scottish Cup Final, Gunning started at centre back, alongside Seán Dillon, as Dundee United lost 2–0 to St Johnstone at Celtic Park.[53]

With his contract due to expire at the end of the 2013–14 season, Gunning was linked with a pre-contract move away from the club throughout the season, with Rangers amongst those mentioned, although Dundee United Manager Jackie McNamara said there had been no contact from them.[54] In April, Gunning stated he would be willing to stay at the club, although he was uncertain about his future at Dundee United.[55] After the Scottish Cup Final though, he said that he had probably played his last game for the club and that he would be leaving at the end of his contract.[56] Dundee United confirmed on 4 June 2014, that Gunning had left the club at the end of his contract.[57]

Birmingham City[edit]

After leaving Dundee United, Gunning was initially set to sign for Sheffield Wednesday, but the deal fell through after he failed a medical.[58] On 12 June 2014, Gunning then signed a one-year contract with Championship club Birmingham City.[59] He made his debut in the first-round League Cup match against Cambridge United at St Andrew's, but was leaving the field injured just as Cambridge scored an equaliser; Birmingham won 3–1 after extra time.[60] The injury was diagnosed as posterior cruciate ligament damage,[61] and kept him out for the rest of the 2014–15 season. The club chose not to take up their option for another year, and confirmed that he would be released when his contract expired.[62]

Oldham Athletic[edit]

Gunning joined League One club Oldham Athletic on a short-term deal on 6 August 2015.[63] He was released when the contract expired on 28 August, having made only one appearance for Oldham, against Middlesbrough in the League Cup at Boundary Park.[64]

Return to Dundee United[edit]

Gunning returned to Dundee United in November 2015, signing a contract for the rest of the 2015–16 season.[65] On 12 April 2016, Dundee United announced that Gunning had left the club by mutual consent, describing the decision as "a private matter". This came three days after a match against Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Tannadice during which Gunning, in what was described by the media as "a bizarre incident", had picked up the ball during play and walked off the pitch. He subsequently returned to the field to receive treatment for an injury before being substituted.[66] It was reported that he had "sarcastically applauded" fans who verbally abused him over his conduct.[67] Despite the club statement, manager Mixu Paatelainen subsequently clarified that while Gunning would not be considered for selection, he remained a Dundee United player and could return to training if he wished "or take an early summer holiday".[68]

Greenock Morton[edit]

Gunning had a trail at Southend United in July 2016.[69] He signed a short-term deal with Scottish Championship side Greenock Morton in September 2016.[70] Manager Jim Duffy tried to secure him on a longer stay at Cappielow, but was unable to compete with the money offered by clubs in England.[71]

Grimsby Town[edit]

After he chose not to extend his contract with Morton, Gunning returned to England and signed for EFL League Two club Grimsby Town on 5 January 2017 until the end of the 2016–17 season.[72][73] After making 14 league appearances he was released by the club on 10 May 2017.[74][75]

Port Vale[edit]

Gunning signed a contract of undisclosed-length at newly-relegated League Two club Port Vale in July 2017, having impressed manager Michael Brown on trial.[76][77] He was sent off on his second appearance for the "Valiants" after picking up two yellow cards in a 4–1 defeat to Leeds United in an EFL Cup first round match at Elland Road on 9 August; Brown described it as an "extremely stupid" dismissal.[78]

International career[edit]

Having represented the Republic of Ireland at under-19 level, Gunning made his under-21 debut against Georgia in a 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification match on 9 October 2009.[79]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 11 March 2017
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup[a] League Cup[b] Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Blackburn Rovers 2008–09[80] Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009–10[81] Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2010–11[82] Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tranmere Rovers (loan) 2009–10[81] League One 6 0 0 0 6 0
Rotherham United (loan) 2009–10[81] League Two 21 0 3[c] 0 24 0
Bury (loan) 2010–11[82] League Two 2 0 0 0 2 0
Motherwell (loan) 2010–11[82] Scottish Premier League 14 0 4 0 0 0 18 0
Dundee United 2011–12[83] Scottish Premier League 31 2 2 1 2 0 35 3
2012–13[84] Scottish Premier League 25 3 2 0 2 0 2[d] 0 31 3
2013–14[85] Scottish Premiership 27 3 4 1 2 0 33 4
Total 83 8 8 2 6 0 2 0 99 10
Birmingham City 2014–15[86] Championship 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Oldham Athletic 2015–16[87] League One 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Dundee United 2015–16[87] Scottish Premiership 19 0 1 0 0 0 20 0
Greenock Morton 2016–17[74] Scottish Championship 10 0 0 0 2 0 12 0
Grimsby Town 2016–17[74] League Two 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 0
Port Vale 2017–18[88] League Two 5 0 0 0 1 0 1[e] 0 7 0
Career total 174 8 13 2 11 0 6 0 204 10
  1. ^ Cup competitions include the Scottish Cup and FA Cup
  2. ^ League Cup competitions include the Scottish League Cup and Football League Cup
  3. ^ Appearances in Football League Two play-offs
  4. ^ Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  5. ^ Appearance/s in the EFL Trophy.

Honours[edit]

Individual honours

References[edit]

  1. ^ "List of Temporary Transfers of Players under Written Contract Between 01/11/2010 and 30/11/2010" (PDF). The Football Association. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
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  83. ^ "Games played by Gavin Gunning in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  84. ^ "Games played by Gavin Gunning in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  85. ^ "Games played by Gavin Gunning in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  86. ^ "Games played by Gavin Gunning in 2014/2015". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
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External links[edit]