Graham Branch

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Graham Branch
Graham Branch.jpg
Branch on the day of his Burnley testimonial in 2007
Personal information
Full name Graham Branch[1]
Date of birth (1972-02-12) 12 February 1972 (age 45)[1]
Place of birth Liverpool, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[1]
Playing position Left Back / Left Midfield
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1998 Tranmere Rovers 102 (10)
1992–1993 Bury (loan) 4 (1)
1997–1998 Wigan Athletic (loan) 3 (0)
1998–1999 Stockport County 14 (3)
1999–2007 Burnley 264 (17)
2007–2008 Accrington Stanley 22 (0)
2008 Cammell Laird ? (?)
2008–2010 Colwyn Bay ? (?)
Total 409 (31)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19 August 2008.

Graham Branch (born 12 February 1972 in Liverpool, England) is a retired footballer who played the majority of his career for English Championship side Burnley.

Playing career[edit]

A childhood Liverpool fan, he started his footballing career across the River Mersey as a trainee with Tranmere Rovers. Having made 109 appearances for them, with loan deals at Bury and Wigan Athletic along the way, he was released on a free transfer to Stockport County for the beginning of the 1998–99 season, and quickly arrived at Burnley in January 1999, signed by the colourful manager Stan Ternent, following a falling-out with then Stockport manager, Gary Megson.

Once described by Ternent as a Premiership-standard player, his inability to hold down a regular position either as a left-winger, left-sided or central defender, or striker, saw him never play there. He played more than 200 games for the club. His unpopularity with some supporters was balanced with him becoming something of a cult figure, earning him regular chants of "Graham di Branchio," (in reference to the football chant given to Italian footballer Paolo Di Canio), in an effort to boost his confidence and let his more prominent abilities such as pace and height come to the fore.

Branch's contract was set to expire at the end of the 2004-05 season before he earned a one-year extension in April 2005.[2] The 2005–06 season held even more promise for the player after his hard work and commitment paid off after he was offered a new one-year extension to his current deal.[3] Although he only scored two goals he played a large role in many victories due to his skill and crossing abilities. The 2006–07 was widely expected to be his last with Burnley and he spent it as a little-used substitute or squad player. However, the season was dedicated as an entire testimonial season for him,[4] culminating on 7 May 2007, when 1,809 fans turned out at Turf Moor to say goodbye to him. In his testimonial, the current Burnley side played a 'Branch XI'. Although no official announcement had been made by that stage, Branch's departure had been confirmed by Steve Cotterill in interviews leading up to this testimonial match. His departure was confirmed on 8 May 2007.

In March 2010 he was forced to retire from football after suffering a serious eye injury whilst playing for Colwyn Bay.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2003). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2003/2004. Queen Anne Press. p. 58. ISBN 1-85291-651-6. 
  2. ^ "Branch pens new deal at Burnley". BBC Sport. 22 April 2005. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Branch signs new Clarets contract". BBC Sport. 27 April 2006. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Branch’s big year". Lancashire Telegraph. 4 October 2006. 
  5. ^ Geldart, Suzanne (20 March 2010). "Former Burnley star not bitter after eye injury forced him to quit". Lancashire Telegraph. 

External links[edit]