Paul Warhurst (born 26 September 1969, Stockport, Cheshire) was the ultimate journeyman professional who played for pretty much every team in England in pretty much every position.
Warhurst managed to represent 16 clubs during his 20-year career with lengthy spells at Oldham, Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn and Bolton and less lengthy spells at Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Stoke City, Chesterfield, Barnsley, Carlisle United, Grimsby Town, Blackpool, Forest Green Rovers, Wrexham, Barnet and Northwich Victoria.
At the peak of his wanderlust in 2004, Warhurst would often turn up to games with a removal van full of his stuff so he could be ready for a quick transfer.
Warhurst caused controversy when he moved from Carlisle to Grimsby in 2004 during a fixture between the two teams. After speedy negotiations at half-time, he stunned his former Carlisle teammates by running out for the second period in a Grimsby shirt.
Warhurst was the rarest of things – a decent utility player. He was a striker / defender who was pretty adept in midfield.
The hairy northerner featured as a defender in Oldham’s run to the FA Cup semi-finals in 1990 before becoming a striker at Sheffield Wednesday due to an injury crisis. To his credit, Warhurst dealt with his fluctuating position calmly and was only rarely caught 80 yards out of position.
Stockport native Warhurst was usually injured and he broke more or less every bone in his body during his career. These persistent injuries eventually brought about his retirement and a brief management foray at Northwich Victoria before Warhurst decided he was fairly sick of football.
National Theatre Production
Warhurst was the inspiration for successful theatre production War Horse, which sold out two seasons at the National Theatre in 2008.
The play, which tells the story of a horse in the First World War, was loosely based on the pugnacious journeyman’s career.