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Linnets Legends - Ian Woan

To many fans over recent years, Ian Woan would probably stand out as the most outstanding player the club as had and certainly the one who went on to achieve success at the highest level when he left us to go to Nottingham Forest, at that time one of the top teams in the country. Woan was renowned for his passing ability and his sweet left foot. How many of us could ever forget his winner against Wivenhoe in a 2nd round FA Trophy replay in February 1990, fighting back from a deficit to win 3 2 against a very spirited team.

The early games at Runcorn were not a true reflection of what was to come as Woan found it difficult to settle in the team but slowly we came to realise what a talent we had unearthed as that famous left foot started to spray passes all over the field and scouts started to flood to Canal Street to weigh up the potential of this new star. Woan started to ease himself into the team as a substitute at the start of season 1989/1990 under the guidance of the then Linnets manager Barry Whitbread, having signed from HFS League team Newton that summer. Woan was born in Heswall in December 1967 and was a 5′ 10″ midfielder.

As we have said in previous issues Linnets Legends come about for all kinds of reasons and Ian Woan is a classic example of that. He only actually played 36 games for us with 3 of those as substitute. In that time, he scored 14 goals, 11 in the League and 3 in the FA Trophy and helped the team to a top three finish in the Conference behind Darlington and Barnet. But his ability attracted attention from lots of League clubs and it is reputed that Woan was on his way to sign for Bournemouth when Brian Clough decided to take an interest at Nottingham Forest and Woan went there instead for a reputed fee of 80,000. Clough had never even seen him play but had had good reports about him from the scouts. According to the Forest Legends site, he was one of their best ever bargains and was unlucky to miss out on England recognition! He enjoyed a successful career at Forest and fans continued to keep an eye on his progress as the transfer agreement included a 33% sell on clause. It was reported at one time that Woan was on his way to Spurs for a fee of 3 million but the deal never materialised. If only!!

His final appearance for the Linnets was on 3 March 1990 against Enfield. But what a way to go, a staggering 9 0 victory, with Mick Doherty scoring 5 of the goals that day! He went on to make 218 appearances for Forest in the next 10 years, including games in Europe, and scoring 31 goals. As his career drew to a close he spent time at Barnsley and Swindon before playing in the States for Columbus Crew. In season 2002/03 he made 50 appearances for Shrewsbury scoring 7 goals before returning to the States to play for Syracuse Salty Dogs. He then returned to the UK and took up a postition as Youth team coach at Swindon.

After working with Rushden and Diamonds he then returned to Forest as a youth coach before joining Portsmouth in 2007, where he went from working with the under-18s to first-team coach under former Burnley boss Steve Cotterill.

Woan then joined Watford as assistant to Dyche in June, 2011, spending 12 months at Vicarage Road before following Dyche to Burnley FC in October 2012.


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