Much-travelled striker Deon Burton turned out for various
clubs across all levels of the game in what he can look back on as a successful
Burton, who is now 43, racked up over 700 appearances and netted over 160 goals.
In total, he played for 18 clubs and – as well as experiencing life in the top-flight with Derby – he also appeared in the Football League, non-league and in the Azerbaijan Premier League.
He joined Derby from Portsmouth in the summer of 1997 as the Rams made the transition from the Baseball Ground to their new Pride Park home.
His former manager on the south coast, Jim Smith, was the man to bring him to Derbyshire.
As well as playing under the Bald Eagle, he was able to benefit from Steve McClaren’s coaching methods during his time as Smith’s number two.
Speaking to dcfc.co.uk in 2016, he said: “Being at Derby County was a most rewarding time for me, especially as I played for several years in the Premiership as it was back then.
“I have some great memories of the team and the coaching staff as well.
“Steve McClaren took the training sessions most of the time and the Bald Eagle was there banging out the orders on a matchday.
“The chemistry that they had was great and they worked really well together.
“We had some great times and were really close to getting into Europe. I look back and recall some great times, good memories and a brilliant set of lads.”
Burton’s move to Derby saw him step up from playing in the old First Division and into the top-flight.
He says the local derby clashes with old rivals Nottingham Forest were always memorable – but one moment above all stands out from the rest.
With a point to prove, he says scoring his first Derby goal was a big moment in his career in a 5-2 win at Sheffield Wednesday in September 1997.
“The local derbies with Forest always stood out for me and the atmospheres were amazing,” he said.
“My most memorable goal would have to be my first for Derby, which came away to Sheffield Wednesday in a 5-2 victory in my fourth game for the club.
“Coming from Portsmouth the jump to the Premiership was big and vast.
“I was 20 or 21 and it took me a bit of time to get used to it; it was a big move. Once I did, I felt things went well on a personal basis and also for the team.”
He added: “As a result of being at Derby I went to the World Cup in 1998 with Jamaica and that was brilliant; a wonderful experience.
“I was proud to play international football and it was great to represent my country.”
Burton was part of a highly-rated attack at Derby which included Dean Sturridge and Paulo Wanchope.
The pair were big fans’ favourites and Burton has nothing but happy memories of playing alongside them.
“I enjoyed playing with Dean Sturridge and Paulo Wanchope,” recalled Burton.
“It was either a two-pronged attack with us together or, at times, all three of us up there.
“I used to live with Paulo in Littleover; we were always together. When he first came over, I wondered what he was all about and, to be honest, wasn’t sure if he had his boots on the right feet!
“I soon realised that he knew exactly what he was doing, and he did some great things.”
After hanging up his boots, Burton remains involved in the game that he loves and is currently the Under-23s Assistant Coach at fellow Sky Bet Championship club West Bromwich Albion.