Thursday, 5 August 2010
109 Mark Gavin
Position : Winger
Played : 1987-88
Appearances : 23
Goals : 6
Eddie Gray’s biggest signing was his former protégée at Leeds for £20,000 from Bolton. Mark made his League debut for Leeds under Gray in the Second Division making 30 appearances plus seven on loan to Hartlepool before joining Carlisle in 1985. After only 13 appearances he was snapped up by Bolton. He won their Player of the Year award in 1986-7 but they were relegated and manager Phil Neal publicly expressed doubts about his appetite for a battle.
It’s debatable whether Mark was a good signing or not. He was certainly a skilful player , a pure winger who drew a lot of fouls and could score great goals out of nothing (his goal ratio for us was actually the best of his career) . On the other hand Neal was right about his reluctance to track back and defend and so the team was re-shaped to accommodate this ( Brian Stanton being the victim) with no improvement in results. This was shown most clearly in the home game against Swansea in November when Mark scored a great individual goal late in the second half. Unfortunately it was probably the least applauded goal in our history as we were 0-3 down at the time and most of us were behind the dugout calling for Gray’s head when he scored. It was greeted with jeers of “too late ! “ rather than clapping.
As a saleable asset Mark’s days were numbered when the financial crisis hit and he was soon off to Hearts for £30,000. He was not a success there making only 9 appearances before returning to England with Bristol City the following season. He impressed there and in 1990 went to Watford for £250,000 plus Wayne Allison. Unfortunately City got the best of the deal and Mark returned there the following season after only 13 appearances for the Hornets. He was there for another two and a half seasons before moving on to Exeter in 1993. He spent three years there before short spells with Scunthorpe, Hartlepool and Morton. He retired in 1997.