Them and us – David Unsworth (Latics and Everton)

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Them and us – David Unsworth  (Latics and Everton)


As Wigan Athletic prepare for their crucial clash against Everton at the DW Stadium on Saturday, TNS takes a look at the career of a man who served both clubs during an illustrious career.

Current Preston North End first team coach David Unsworth was born in Chorley on 16th October 1973. He started his career at Goodison Park after progressing through the Goodison Park youth ranks and he made his first team debut for the Toffees against Tottenham Hotspur on 25th April 1992 and scored in a 3-3 draw at White Hart Lane. In 1995 he gained a FA Cup winners medal, along with former Latic Joe Parkinson, as Everton beat Manchester United 1-0 on 20th May 1995. Playing for the losers was future two time Latics manager Steve Bruce.

David had made 116 League appearances for Everton during which he had netted on 11 occasions, before being transferred to West Ham United 0n 18th August 1997 for a fee of £1,000,000 He was to play 32 league games for the Hammers, scoring twice, before a rather unfortunate move to Aston Villa on 27th July 1998 for a cool £3,000,000. His family failed to settle in the area and on 22nd August 1998, without kicking a ball in anger for the Villans, it was his former club who put an end to their misery by recouping Villa’s original £3,000,000 transfer outlay.

His second spell at Goodison Park resulted in 188 League outings and he netted a further 23 times before being transferred to Portsmouth on a free transfer in July 2004. His Pompey debut came against Birmingham City at Fratton Park and it was his debut goal, a penalty, that secured a point for his new team following a 1-1 draw. Midway through the season Pompey manager Harry Redknapp resigned and David found himself on loan at Ipswich Town for the remainder of the season. He made 16 League appearances for the Tractor Boys and he scored on his Ipswich Town debut against Sheffield United!

He joined the Blades the following season (2005/06) when Ipswich Town finally conceded that they could not afford his wages. His career at Bramall Lane saw him make 39 League appearances, scoring four goals, before joining Latics on a free transfer on 5th January 2007. He was the third signing in the January transfer window following Andreas Granqvist and Kristofer Haestad to the JJB Stadium. He made his Latics Premiership debut on 13th January 2007 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where an injury ravaged Latics side was beaten 4-0.

He went on to make 6+4 Premier League appearances, scoring once. Ironically, the goal he scored was the winning penalty that kept Latics in the Premier League during the final game of the 2006/07 season. Unbelievably, the opponents that day were his former club, Sheffield United who were beaten 2-1 at Bramall Lane, a result that meant the Blades themselves went down. By an even more ironic twist of fate he missed a penalty for the Blades earlier in the season against Blackburn Rovers which, if converted would have seen United not taking part in this historic game.

Three days later on 15th May 2007 he was released by new manager Chris Hutchings. He signed for Burnley on a free transfer on 11th August 2007 and made 29 League appearances and scored once for Owen Coyle’s team before leaving Turf Moor on 30th June 2008. His next, and final port of call as a player was at Huddersfield Town with whom he had a successful trial period in the summer of 2008. However after just 4 league appearances without scoring, injury forced him to hang up his boots on 30th March 2009.

He then joined Preston North End as a youth development officer shortly afterwards before becoming the first team coach. On 30th December 2010 he was made caretaker manager of the club following the sacking of Darren Ferguson by former Latics board member and Wigan Warriors chairman Maurice Lindsay until the appointment of Phil Brown on 6th January 2011.

David has also gained international honours with the England Under 21’s for whom he made 7 appearances without scoring. His most notable international achievement was his single appearance for England during his first spell at Goodison Park.

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