Gifton Noel-Williams

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Gifton Noel-Williams
Gifton-noel-williams.jpg
Personal information
Full name Gifton Ruben Elisha Noel-Williams[1]
Date of birth (1980-01-21) 21 January 1980 (age 37)
Place of birth Islington, London, England
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–2003 Watford 169 (33)
2003–2005 Stoke City 88 (23)
2005–2007 Burnley 51 (7)
2006 Brighton & Hove Albion (loan) 7 (2)
2007 Real Murcia 10 (4)
2007–2008 Elche 21 (5)
2008–2009 Millwall 1 (0)
2008 Yeovil Town (loan) 6 (0)
2009 Austin Aztex 16 (3)
2010 DFW Tornados 9 (0)
2015 Daventry Town ? (?)
Total 378 (77)
National team
1997 England U18 3 (0)
Teams managed
2016 Burnham
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Gifton Ruben Elisha Noel-Williams (born 21 January 1980) is an English former footballer who played for Watford, Stoke and Burnley among other clubs. After a serious knee injury in 1999, he was affected by rheumatoid arthritis for much of the rest of his career. He retired in 2010 and moved into coaching, briefly managing Burnham in 2016.

Career[edit]

Born in Islington, Noel-Williams started his professional career at Watford where he spent a seven-year spell playing 127 games and scoring 43 goals. Aged 19, he was Watford's top goalscorer in the 1998–99 season, at the end of which they were promoted to the Premier League. However, his season ended in February 1999, when he seriously injured his knee after a challenge from Sunderland defender, Paul Butler.[2] He had received his first call-up to the England Under-21 squad on the day of the game.[3] Arthritis in both of his knees restricted him to just three appearances during Watford's single season in the Premier League.

Noel-Williams joined Stoke City on a free transfer on 2 June 2003, playing 83 games and scoring 23 goals in two years. He was Stoke's top goalscorer in the 2004–05 season, scoring 11 goals.

On 14 June 2005 Noel-Williams joined Burnley on a free transfer. He spent the latter part of the 2005–06 season on loan at Brighton & Hove Albion before returning to Burnley at the end of the season. He remained a Burnley player, despite being made available for a transfer throughout the close season, and, after an improvement in form was taken off the transfer list on 22 September 2006.

On 12 September 2006 Noel-Williams scored his first ever professional hat-trick in Burnley's 4–2 victory over Barnsley. He played 56 times for the Clarets scoring 7 goals, the last against Leeds United in November 2006.

On 31 January 2007 Noel-Williams joined Real Murcia for a fee of around £50,000, signing an 18-month deal and becoming only the second English player to represent the Spanish side, after Tom Thompson, who was player-coach in the 1920s. Upon Real Murcia's promotion to La Liga, Noel-Williams was transferred to Elche CF who finished 18 points behind Murcia in the Segunda División.

In 2008 Noel-Williams returned to England, signing a short-term contract with League One side Millwall. He was subsequently loaned to another club in the division, Yeovil Town

In January 2009 Noel-Williams moved to the United States to join American team Austin Aztex FC, signing a two-year contract.[4] The club has a co-operation agreement with Noel-Williams' former club, Stoke City.

He was released by the Aztex at the end of the 2009 season, having made 16 appearances and scored three goals for the Texas club.[5] He signed with the amateur DFW Tornados of the USL Premier Development League in 2010,[6] but the club folded at the end of the 2010 season. As of 2011 he was an assistant soccer coach at Brentwood Christian School, a private academy in Austin.[7]

After nearly five years out of football, Noel-Williams came out of retirement to sign for Southern Football League side Daventry Town in February 2015. Noel-Williams reunited with ex Watford teammate and Daventry Town boss Allan Smart in the process.[8]

Coaching career[edit]

Following retirement, Noel-Williams worked as a coach at Westfield Academy school in Watford, before being appointed as the Reserves and Under-18's manager at Northwood in June 2016.[9] Noel-Williams stepped down from this role, however, in September 2016. On 26 September, Noel-Williams was announced as the new manager of the non-league club Burnham.[10] In October, he signed his 18-year-old son Dejon, a youth team striker at Oxford United, on a work experience deal.[11] He parted company with Burnham in November 2016, having struggled to combine the role with other coaching commitments.[12]

Career statistics[edit]

  • Sourced from Gifton Noel-Williams profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Watford 1996–97 Second Division 25 2 2 1 1 0 28 3
1997–98 Second Division 38 7 4 3 3 1 45 11
1998–99 First Division 28 10 1 0 0 0 29 10
1999–2000 Premier League 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
2000–01 First Division 32 8 1 0 3 0 36 8
2001–02 First Division 29 6 1 1 5 2 35 9
2002–03 First Division 16 6 3 0 0 0 19 6
Total 169 33 12 5 12 3 193 41
Stoke City 2003–04 First Division 42 10 1 0 1 0 44 10
2004–05 Championship 46 13 0 0 0 0 46 13
Total 88 23 1 0 1 0 90 23
Burnley 2005–06 Championship 29 2 0 0 3 0 32 2
2006–07 Championship 23 5 1 0 0 0 24 5
Total 52 7 1 0 3 0 56 7
Brighton & Hove Albion (loan) 2005–06 Championship 7 2 0 0 0 0 7 2
Real Murcia 2006–07 Segunda División 10 4 0 0 0 0 10 4
Elche 2007–08 Segunda División 21 5 0 0 0 0 21 5
Millwall 2008–09 League One 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Yeovil Town (loan) 2008–09 League One 6 0 2 0 0 0 8 0
Career Total 354 74 16 5 16 3 386 82
A. ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the Football League Trophy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2009). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2009–10. Mainstream Publishing. p. 308. ISBN 978-1-84596-474-0. 
  2. ^ http://www.watfordfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Academy/0,,10400~1132074,00.html
  3. ^ Unwin, Will (4 April 2016). "Watford legend Gifton Noel-Williams: Elton John saved my career". ITV News. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
  4. ^ Austin Aztex FC Announce A Major Signing
  5. ^ Austin Announces Release Of 14 Players From The 2009 Squad
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  7. ^ "Fancy a 4,800-mile trip to empty your old house, Gifton?". The Sentinel. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  8. ^ http://www.dtfc.co.uk/news/former-watford-and-stoke-striker-signs-for-town-1379451.html
  9. ^ http://www.northwoodfc.com/news.html#gifton
  10. ^ https://twitter.com/LBliss8/status/780459522854977536
  11. ^ "Striker Noel-Williams signs for father's side". oufc.com. 18 October 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
  12. ^ Darlington, Daniel (10 November 2016). "Burnham part company with Gifton Noel-Williams". Maidenhead Advertiser. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 

External links[edit]