Date of birth 28 February 1961 (age 53)
Place of birth Wolverhampton, England
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Striker
1976–1978 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–1984 Wolverhampton Wanderers 148 (30)
1984–1987 Birmingham City 92 (38)
1987–1989 Everton 57 (18)
1989–1990 Leicester City 11 (1)
1990–199 Manchester City 21 (2)
1990 → Shrewsbury Town (loan) 7 (6)
1991 → Stoke City (loan) 9 (3)
1991 → Wolverhampton Wanderers (loan) 1 (0)
1992–1993 Walsall 39 (21)
1993–1995 Shrewsbury Town 59 (22)
1995–1996 Telford United
Total 444 (141)
1995–1996 Telford United (player-manager)
Wayne Clarke (born 28 February 1961) is a former English professional footballer. During his career he made almost 450 appearances in the Football League, playing as a striker for several different clubs including Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City,Everton, Leicester City, Manchester City, Shrewsbury Town, Stoke City and Walsall. He scored nearly 150 goals. He was a member of the Everton team which finished as English league champions in 1987. He is the youngest of five brothers. His brothers Frank, Allan, Derek, and Kelvin all played league football.
Clarke was born in Wolverhampton. He joined home-town club Wolverhampton Wanderers as an associate schoolboy on his 15th birthday in 1976, despite competition from leading clubs, and became an apprentice when he left school the following year. He also represented England at schoolboy and youth level.
He signed his first professional contract in March 1978, and made his first team debut as a substitute on 9 May 1978 in a 2–1 win away to Ipswich Town. He was a member of the 16-man travelling squad when Wolves won the League Cup in 1980, but did not play. Competing for places with Andy Gray and John Richards, he was a member of the team that suffered relegation from the First Division in 1982 but reclaimed their top flight status the following season. He scored 33 goals in 170 appearances in all competitions before Ron Saunders took him to Second Division Birmingham City in 1984. The fee of £80,000 was set by tribunal and included a clause entitling Wolves to half of any profit made from a future sale of the player.
Clarke scored 19 goals in his first season at Birmingham, which made him their leading scorer. His 17 league goals made a major contribution to the club winning the 1984–85 Second Division title. His season in the top flight with Birmingham was interrupted by suspension and minor injuries, and he only managed five goals as the side were relegated, which included scoring twice in Birmingham’s 3–0 win in the local derby away to Aston Villa. In 1986–87, Clarke again scored 19 goals, which again made him leading scorer. With Birmingham struggling to avoid further relegation to the Third Division and in financial difficulties, the club accepted an offer from Everton who were in need of an emergency replacement for the injured Graeme Sharp. Clarke joined Everton in March 1987 together with inexperienced reserve striker Stuart Storer, the pair jointly valued at £300,000. Former club Wolves complained to the Football League because they believed Birmingham were deliberately inflating the valuation placed on Storer to reduce the amount they would owe Wolves under the sell-on clause for Clarke. Birmingham’s actions may have been an attempt to recoup money lost on the 1981 sale of Joe Gallagher to Wolves, when the club was declared bankrupt the following year still owing most of the £350,000 fee.
Clarke’s five goals in ten games, notably the winning goal away at Arsenal not long after he joined, in the remainder of the 1986–87 season was enough to earn him a championship medal.The following year he began the season with the only goal in a 1–0 Charity Shield win over FA Cup winners Coventry Cityat Wembley, and later scored the only goal in the Merseyside derby that not only beat arch-rivals Liverpool, but also prevented them setting a new record of 30 games unbeaten from the start of a season. At the end of the 1988–89 season, during which he helped his club to reach the FA Cup final but did not play in it, Everton brought in Mike Newell from Leicester City in part exchange for Clarke and £500,000.
His return to the Second Division was brief. After just 11 league games and one goal, Clarke returned to the top flight with Manchester City, managed byHoward Kendall who had bought him for Everton three years earlier. He moved in a part-exchange deal valued at £650,000 which saw David Oldfield join Leicester.
He was unable to claim a regular place in the Manchester City side. While at Maine Road he was loaned to Shrewsbury Town, where he scored six goals in seven games, then to Stoke City (three goals in nine matches), and then back to Wolves, where he was viewed as a potential partner for Steve Bull. However his first appearance for the club lasted just 20 minutes before he punctured a lung, returned to Manchester City, and on his return to fitness was not allowed out on loan again.
Clarke’s next move came in the summer of 1992 when he joined Walsall in Division Three. He was the fourth of the brothers to play for Walsall, and the move meant he had played in all four divisions of the Football League. He was the club’s top scorer in the 1992–93 season with 21 goals in 39 games, helping them to a playoff position, but they were heavily defeated in the playoff semi-final by Crewe Alexandra and Clarke was sold to local rivals Shrewsbury Town, managed by former Wolves goalkeeper Fred Davies.
Clarke spent two seasons at Gay Meadow. The 1993–94 season brought the Division Three title and promotion to Division Two, and by the time the club released him at the end of the 1994–95 season, he had scored 22 goals in 59 games.
He was appointed player-manager of Telford United in the Conference in July 1995, and resigned 18 months later after a spell of poor results, though with the club in mid-table. In June 1997 he applied for the vacant manager’s post at former club Walsall, but was unsuccessful.