He put the ball in THAT net
On 24th October 2015, Scott Arfield’s status as a Burnley player, high at the time, rose significantly higher when he scored the winning goal in the derby against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. It came down at the Blackburn End of the ground but Arfield, joining up with Michael Duff and followed by his team mates in hot pursuit, made it to the Darwen End to celebrate with the mass of Burnley fans who he’d just sent into orbit.
It was full circle for a player who, early in his Burnley career, had made the mistake which gifted Blackburn a Turf Moor equaliser in September 2013, although, in fairness, Arfield’s contribution at Turf Moor had left that minor blemish long in the past and long forgotten.
Scott Arfield played for Falkirk and I’m sure we were linked with him when we had a Scottish manager a few years ago. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe he was one to file with Andrew Driver, Alan Gow and Derek Riordan but what I do know is that as we prepared for a return to the Championship in summer 2010, Arfield was making the move to England to join League One club Huddersfield Town.
He enjoyed three seasons with the West Yorkshire club and I’m sure, if asked, he’d point to the second of those seasons when they won promotion to the Championship via a penalty shoot out win at Wembley against Sheffield United in the play-off final. I suppose you would say he was ready made for Burnley having beaten the Blades at Wembley.
He’d been a substitute that day, coming on just four minutes from the end of extra time, presumably to take a penalty. What an extraordinary shoot out it was. Huddersfield missed their first three while Sheffield United missed three of their first four, including one from Matt Lowton. Arfield took Huddersfield’s fifth as it ended 2-2, thus taking it to sudden death. It kicked off a run of 13 successive penalties before Sheffield United missed their 11th kick leaving Huddersfield as 8-7 winners.
It seemed, to those looking in from the outside, that the jump up to the Championship had proved too big for him and he started only nine games in the 2012/13 season. He didn’t feature in our embarrassing defeat at Huddersfield but was used as a substitute in our equally embarrassing defeat at home against them. I suppose it was no surprise that they chose to release him at the end of that season.
Burnley travelled to Morecambe in pre-season, the first game of the pre-season schedule. A 1-0 defeat in a game that ended with a good number of youth team players on the pitch, had some Burnley supporters screaming for the manager to be sacked. Others pointed to the fact that we had Arfield on trial “If that’s the calibre of player we are bringing in, we’re going nowhere,” said one disgruntled fan on the message board. He got little opposition to his thoughts, that’s for sure.
After what was deemed a good trial, we signed him and thank goodness we did. He didn’t get into the team immediately but once he did, and once he got over that Blackburn game, there really was no looking back for him.
He played in all but one game as we stormed through to promotion. He netted eight league goals and added a number of assists to that total too. All goals are good goals, but some of those were vital goals including the winner at Ipswich and the late equaliser at Watford. He was a major player of the year contender and you wondered just what could have gone wrong at Huddersfield. We joked that we’d signed a goalscoring midfielder from them on a free and they’d signed a non-goalscoring striker from us on a free (Martin Paterson).
He scored our first goal back in the Premier League too against Chelsea, although that might have been a mistake given the Chelsea response. Significantly, his goals tend to count and that’s the only goal he’s scored for Burnley in a game that’s ended in defeat.
Arfield missed only one game that season too and in the next season as we brilliantly went on that long unbeaten run and clinched promotion as champions, he started all 46 games.
Back in the Premier League last season, he featured in 31 of our games. He scored just once but what a goal it was, a late, late winner against Everton. He’s also scored twice this season, the opener in the 1-1 draw at Liverpool and, more recently, the winner against Watford on the Turf back in December.
He’s not been as regular in the team this season but he’s still started 15 Premier League games and this despite a couple of injuries that have ruled him out on a number of occasions.
Of course, like Marney, he’s got more competition for his place now. When he first came to Burnley, that competition came from the likes of Michael Kightly, Junior Stanislas, who has gone on to do so well at Bournemouth, Keith Treacy and Ross Wallace. Today the players in the wide positions available to us are Robbie Brady, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson and Aaron Lennon.
Arfield has had a contract offer on the table for some time. it’s remained unsigned and it was thought that he might be looking to move on. During his time at Burnley, having been constantly snubbed by Scotland, he’s become a Canadian international and it was thought, even speculated, that he might opt for a move to the MLS with a couple of Canadian clubs reportedly interested in him.
Sean Dyche said yesterday that he was joining his boyhood club. That brought some debate with reports locally three years ago, at the time he scored for us in a pre-season friendly at Ibrox, suggesting he supported Celtic. Dyche, it seems, as ever, is right.
He’s played 193 times for Burnley in five years, five years that have undoubtedly been successful for our club and certainly for Arfield. He’s another player whose departure will be a big disappointment to our supporters. He’s done a wonderful job for us over his time at Turf Moor and was particularly influential in those two promotion seasons.
He’s another player who departs leaving us with nothing but good memories.
And remember who it was that put the ball in THAT net – it was Super Scotty Arfield.Share this page :