Date: 19th January 2015 at 10:45am
Written by:

The latest trip down memory lane travels back to more recent times with a look at the career of winger Paul Dalton.

PAUL DALTON – Born 25th April 1967 Middlesbrough, England.

Paul began his football career with local non-league team Brandon United in August 1987. He was so successful with them he attracted scouts from Manchester United, they must have been impressed by what they saw as he signed for them on 3rd May 1988 for a fee of £35,000.
Paul never settled in Manchester and only stayed at Old Trafford for ten months before leaving for Hartlepool on 4th March 1989 for a fee of £20,000 without making a first team appearance.

He soon settled back in his native North East and once again made a name for himself as a goalscorer.
In the three years he played for Hartlepool he scored 43 goals in 177 appearances. It was his goals that brought him to the attention of several clubs, including Argyle, and in June 1992 a meeting was arranged at a motorway service station with Peter Shilton and Dan McCauley representing Argyle and Paul and the Hartlepool chairman. Paul had settled back in to the North East and was initially reluctant to attend but his chairman was keen to cash in on his star performer and managed to talk him in to attending.
After talking to Dan and Peter and listening to their plans for the future he was so impressed he was happy to sign a contract there and then for a club record fee of £275,000, £250,000 and Argyle defender Ryan Cross to make up the amount.

Paul joined the club for pre-season training but suffered a serious leg injury and was unable to make his debut until the eleventh league game of the 1992-93 season.
He made his belated debut on 10th October when he came on as a substitute in a 2-0 win at home to Chester with the versatile Gary Poole scoring both goals. Paul scored his first goals for the club on 27th October in the third round of the League Cup at home to Scarborough, goals from Paul, Warren Joyce and Kevin Nugent were only enough for a draw with the Yorkshire side also scoring three.
Paul scored again in the replay but it wasn’t enough to prevent Argyle losing 2-1.
His next goals were also in the cup, this time in the first round of the FA Cup in a park in Surrey against Isthmian League team Dorking, Argyle battled to a 3-2 win with Paul scoring twice and Dwight Marshall to set up a second round tie with Peterborough. He scored his first League goal on 16th January in a 3-1 defeat at Bolton.

His next goal came in a 2-2 draw at Rotherham with Kevin Nugent scoring the second. Paul added another two goals to his tally in the next away game, a 3-1 win at Bournemouth after Steve Castle had opened the scoring.
Four days later Paul scored another two goals in a 4-3 defeat at home to Stockport after Kevin Nugent had opened the scoring. In the following game three days later also at Home Park he scored another goal unfortunately it ended in another defeat with Huddersfield winning the game 3-1.

Argyle’s best result of the season came on Easter Monday in a 5-2 win at West Brom, mainly thanks to a Steve Castle hat trick with Paul and Martin Barlow also on the scoresheet.
Paul’s last goal of the season came in the last away game, a 2-0 win at Wigan with Steve Morgan scoring the second goal. It was Paul’s thirteenth goal and enough to see him finish a joint leading goalscorer alongside Steve Castle and Kevin Nugent. Not bad considering he had missed the first quarter of the season.

1993-94 saw Paul as an almost ever present in the team with his spectacular goals from the left wing making him a fans favourite, I can rarely remember him scoring an ‘ordinary’ goal, they all seemed to involve him swerving past two or three defenders leaving them floundering, before unleashing a shot into the net.
He scored his first of the season on 4th September when he scored the goal that beat Swansea 1-0 at the Vetch Field. His next came ten days later in a 4-2 win at home to Rotherham when got the fourth goal after Kevin Nugent, Andy Comyn, and Steve Castle had all scored. The next goal he scored also ended 4-2, this time in Burnley’s favour at Turf Moor after Steve Castle had got the first Argyle goal.
The following Saturday he scored the first goal in a 2-1 win at home to York with Andy Comyn scoring the winner.
Brentford were the next team to feel his shooting power when he scored in a 1-1 draw at Home Park.

As in the previous season Argyle were drawn away to non-league opposition in the first round of the FA Cup, this time Marlow with Paul scoring both goals in a 2-0 win to prevent a cup upset. Paul scored the second goal in a 3-1 win at home to Fulham in between one from Kevin Nugent and an own goal.
His next was another FA Cup goal, this time in a fourth round game at home to Barnsley when he scored the second goal in a 2-2 draw.

Reading who would finish the season as champions came to Home Park in March and were comfortably beaten 3-1 with Kevin Nugent scoring twice and Paul getting the other one.
On Easter Saturday local rivals Exeter visited Home Park and went away pointless thanks to Paul’s goal in a 1-0 win.
At the end of April Argyle went to Wrexham and won the game 3-0 with Martin Barlow, Dwight Marshall and Paul all scoring.
In the last league game of the season Argyle travelled to Hartlepool and destroyed them 8-1 to record their best ever away win,with Dwight Marshall, Steve McCall, Richard Landon (3), Paul (2) and Steve Castle all scoring to help Argyle finish in fourth place.
Unfortunately they were beaten by Burnley in the play-offs.
It came as no surprise that Argyle’s star studded forward line finished as the divisions highest scorers.

After the excitement of the previous season 1994-95 proved an anti-climax for the fans.
The season kicked off with a 5-1 home defeat at the hands of Brentford and that was followed in in the next home game with yet another 5-1 defeat this time to Bradford City with Paul’s goal little consolation for the Home Park faithful. Paul got injured in the fourth game of the season a 2-0 defeat at Hull and didn’t play for the first team again until January 21st when he came on as a substitute in a 0-0 draw at home to Rotherham.
His absence was highlighted when from the end of November to Boxing Day Argyle played four games and lost them all without scoring a goal and conceding seventeen, including a 7-0 thrashing at Brentford.
It was enough for Dan and despite a 4-2 win at home to Crewe on 2nd January, after a 2-0 third round FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest Peter Shilton was sacked and replaced by Steve McCall and Russell Osman who took over until the end of the season.
Paul scored his next goal in his first start for five months in another beating, a 5-2 defeat at Blackpool with Mark Patterson also scoring.

Birmingham, who finished the season as champions, beat Argyle 3-1 at Home Park with Paul again getting a consolation goal. In the next game a 2-2 draw at Crewe Paul netted the second goal after a Crewe defender had scored an own goal for the first.
Argyle finished the season in 21st and were relegated.

Neil Warnock took over as manager on 22nd June and decided Paul didn’t feature in his future plans and after making 116 appearances and scoring 32 goals, many of them that still live in the memories of those that saw them, was sold to Huddersfield for £125,000 on 11th August.

Paul initially struggled to settle at Huddersfield but when he did he soon started scoring goals again. He finished the 1996-97 season as their leading goalscorer.
In December 1999 he was loaned out to Carlisle where he played three games before returning to his parent club.

On 15th March 2000 Paul was released by Huddersfield after playing for the 116 times, exactly the same number of games he played for Argyle, and scoring 27 times.
After leaving Huddersfield Paul returned to the North East to play non-league football for Gateshead before winding down his playing career with Dunston Federation Brewery.

Paul was in my opinion one of the most talented wingers to play for Argyle, certainly in my time of watching them and has been immortalised by appearing in one of the murals of former players on the walls at Home Park.

plymouthvital@aol.co.uk