(c) 2007 Clarets Museum Copyright

The Clarets had enjoyed success over the years preceding the
Second World War, but it had never been sustained, and they found
themselves languishing in the Second Division, having escaped on
a number of occasions from dropping into the obscurity of the Third
Division (North). The club though had started to build for the future
unprecedented success.

The end of the Second World War did not automatically precede the start of
the Football League, and a replacement league represented most teams
their best chance of restarting after the war, Burnley played in the Football
League North, but a poor season and FA Cup campaign did nothing for
supporters optimism.

The new Football League season stated with a new man in charge, Cliff
Britton, and his policy of a rock solid defence immediately brought results,
Cliff Britton surprised many of the shareholders at the club by announcing a
three year plan to get Burnley back into the First Division, a feat most
deemed impossible, but the Clarets began it's first full League season
strongly, and the good form then transferred it's self to the FA Cup when it
started in January. During the season, the Club made an appeal for rations,
so it could buy new strips and boots for players.

Burnley's Cup and League form confounded most critics, who had stated
the club faced a hard season, as the Clarets raced to second in the League
and a semi-final place against Liverpool,
who themselves were second in the First
Division. Burnley won the tie 1-0 with a goal
from Ray Harrison in the replay, after the
first game had been drawn 0-0. Burnley
were through to their first FA Cup final
since the heroics against Liverpool in 1914,
and that team, were invited to the final at
Wembley (Burnley's first trip to the Twin
Towers), to watch Burnley play Charlton Athletic by the club. In the build up
to the game, Burnley captain was immortalised by Madame Tussaudes,
when his image was made into wax.

98,000 fans turned up for the final, which was also televised to a very small
audience, although it is thought be one of the first televised FA Cup finals.

Throughout the game, Burnley were far the better side, hitting the bar twice,
and missing 2 or 3 real chances, but as the game went into extra-time
Charlton's Chris Duffy stole the only goal of the game, to take the trophy
back to the Valley. The loss did not dampen the push for promotion, and the
Clarets, gained promotion on the penultimate game of the season, with a
5-0 win over West Ham United. The seasons great escapades were in most
due to the iron defence of Goalkeeper Strong, full backs Arthur Woodruff
and Harold Mather, and half backs Reg Attwell, Alan Brown and George
Bray, which conceded only 29 goals all season setting a record for least
goals conceded since the offside rule change in 1925, Harry Potts ended
the season top scorer with 15 goals. Britton succeeded in winning promotion
a full two years ahead of schedule.

Cliff Britton made it blatantly clear that he did not intend to buy big, on
Burnley's return to the top flight, but instead rely on his rock solid defence
and youth development system.

Burnley's first season back in the top flight, took most people by surprise, as
the Clarets took their impressive form from the previous term into the
1947-48 season, Burnley finished in 3rd place on goal difference. In
September 1948, Cliff Britton left the club to manage his old club Everton,
and Frank Hill of Crewe Alexandra took over. The Scot carried on the work
of Cliff Briton, building on the solid foundations set out for him, especially a
solid defence. Of that solid defence, goalkeeper Jimmy Strong set a record
of playing in 220 consecutive League and Cup games during 1946 and

Hill bought a number of players, but one will always
be remembered, a young Irish player named Jimmy
McIlroy was bought from Glentoran for £8,000, and
would go on to be a Clarets Legend, would set Turf
Moor, and the rest of the English League on fire
during his tenure at the club.

Burnley continued to do well in the league, but always
seemed to fall at the last hurdle when challenging
for the highest honours, they finished sixth in
1952 -53, after leading the table, and the season
after Burnley could get no higher than fourth in the
League, that season also saw an enthralling 5-3
win over the Busby Babies of Manchester United in the FA Cup. With four
goals (the game was 2-2 at the time) after 6 minutes of play. In a touching
display of sportsmanship, Sir Matt Busby, the legendary Manchester United
manager stated, "Best wishes to Burnley for the Cup. If we have to lose,
there is no club we would rather be beaten by than Burnley. Believe me, I
mean that".

Again the 1953-54 season Burnley finished within the top ten, but Hill just
couldn't get the Clarets any higher, or win the title that had eluded the club
since 1921. Frank Hill then left the club, to take the managers job at Preston
North End, but he handed over the reigns to one of his rock solid defenders
Alan Brown, who continued the hard work, in making Burnley tremendously
hard to break down. But Alan Brown didn't stay long,lasting only 3 season,
but before leaving he brought through the ranks players like John Angus
and Jimmy Robson who would become regular first teamers of an
incredible football team. He also helped set up, along with a new chairman
named Bob Lord, a local
Butcher, Gawthorpe as a
training ground, which was the
first of it's type in the country.

After a short time as manager
Billy Dougall, who left the club
due to medical grounds, was
replaced by Harry Potts, who
returned to the club to hold the
managerial position over
arguably the most fruitful and successful in Burnley's history.

The 1959-60 season was Harry Potts' second full season in charge at
Burnley, and three way battle for top spot was being fought out between
Burnley, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur. Both Wolves
and Tottenham had completed their seasons fixtures by the time Burnley
travelled to Maine Road, Wolves sat on top of the league, but a win for
Burnley would give the Clarets the title. Burnley, it is well recorded, never
held the top spot all season, apart from that is, when it mattered, and 2-1
win with goals from Brian Pilkington and Trevor Meredith, sealed the title,
and sent th Clarets home with their second and last League Championship

With the trophy safely under Burnley's belt,
they were invited to travel to America, to
play in a tournament along side Bayern
Munich, Sampdoria and Sporting Club of
Portugal, in an attempt to bring interest of
the game to America, but the tournament
was a flop, the pitches unsuitable, and
Burnley quickly returned to the rain of

At the start of the new season, Burnley played Wolves in the Charity Shield
at Turf Moor, a 2-2 draw, with goals from Brian Miller and John Connelly,
gave both clubs six months each with the shield. The league Cup was also
introduced in this season, but most big clubs did not concentrate on the
trophy, instead focusing on the traditional trophies of the FA Cup and
League Championship.

The League Trophy is the only major national trophy never to be won by the

Burnley's new season defending their title went well, and they made their
first steps in to Europe that season, a first round bye, then set up a two
legged tie in November 1959 against French League Champions Stade de
Reims, Burnley prevailed and a tie against Hamburg was their rewards, a
3-1 at Turf Moor, in front of 47,000 and the cameras of the BBC, held the
Clarets in good stead for the return tie in Hamburg, but the German
champions won out in the end with a 4-1 win on the night, and a 5-4 victory
on aggregate.

That wasn't the only high scoring battle for Burnley that season, after
trailing 0-4 away at Tottenham Hotspur, Burnley drew level in a pulsating
game. Semi final losses in both League and FA Cup's, against Aston Villa
and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, destroyed any hope of a first domestic
"Treble", but a fourth place finish in the League gave real hope for the
future, for any Burley fan, that season must have been one to behold.

The 1961-62 season saw the Clarets lead the way in the race for the
Championship until 12 games from the end, when a poor run of games
handed Alf Ramsey and Ipswich the title, Burnley Finished second in the
League that season, and they were runners up in the FA Cup for the
second time in their History that season too, being beat by Tottenham
Hotspur 3-1 at Wembley, Jimmy Robson scored the 100th FA Cup Final
goal, and remained for over 30 years the only Burnley player to score at

Burnley skipper Jimmy Adamson won the
Footballer of the Year, and also named as
assistant manager of England, during the
1962 World Cup Finals in Chile.

In February 1963, an event occurred that has
haunted Burnley and many of it's supporters
for many long years, Jimmy McIlroy, a player
who has been named as the greatest ever to
pull on the famous clarets and blue shirt of
Burnley Football Club, was sold to Second
Division Stoke City. The town and supporters
were stunned.

Jimmy McIlroy had played 497 games in 13 years service to Burnley, and
the £25,000 transfer fee payed by Stoke, has been established to be
£5,000 less than the offer by Sampdoria only a year earlier. The mystery
deepens, when on looking at the Clubs stand that McIlroy was sold, as he
had not preformed to an adequate level constantly, however, the fact that
most of Burnley's games over the period pre-dating the departure of McIlroy
had been postponed due to a cold snap, seems to blow that theory out of
the water, but whatever the reason, Burnley had now lost one of their best
ever players

Burnley's crowd instantly took a tumble, and high profile sales of Jimmy
Robson, Ray Pointer, and John Connelly, were made to help balance the
books, and keep the Clarets in the First Division, may Burnley fans
disagreed with the style chairman Bob Lord took, in keeping the Burnley in
the black, but by the 1965-66 season, Burnley managed to finish 3rd in the
league, even in the light of all the sales, and this allowed the club to make
it's second venture in to the world of European football via the European
Fairs Cup.

Burnley were sitting pretty at the top of the First Division, by the time the
first round tie with German team Stuttgart came around, after a draw in
Germany, Burnley secured passage through to the next round with a win at
Turf Moor, Lausanne Sports were duly dispatched with 8-1 aggregate
score, Andy Lochhead scoring a hat-trick in the 5-0 home win, and a tie
against Italian Super club Napoli, Burnley pulled of an amazing win, 3-0 at
home and then a 0-0 draw in Napoli, but it wasn't the football that got all the
reviews the following morning after the away trip to Napoli. Although Burnley
had caused a major upset, by knocking out the much favoured Napoli, with
a superb display by goalkeeper Harry Thompson, the news of the terrible
scenes of violence suffered by Burnley Players and fans during the game
drew more coverage, and the match is well renown for being the "Battle Of

By this time, Burnley's league position
had slipped and they toiled with mid-table
obscurity, but a quarter final meeting with
Eintracht, fueled the Clarets supporters
passion for glory, a credible 1-1draw in
Germany, gave Burnley hope of reaching
the semi's against the much fancied Germans,
but it wasn't enough, when Eintracht travelled
to Turf Moor, and won 1-2, and their European
adventure was over.

Burnley continued for the next four seasons,
to appear to be a mid-table team, selling what
top class players they had, Alex Elder, Adam
Blacklaw and Willie Morgan, and buying or
rearing new young players, like Frank Casper
and Willie Irvine.

It was these young Clarets that managed to win the FA Youth cup in

During this period, Andy Lochhead added his name to a prestigious group
of players that had scored over 100 goals for the club, the group contained,
Bert Freeman, George Beel, Louis Page, Jimmy McIlroy and Ray Pointer.

In the 1968-69 season Burnley replaced
their entire first team with their youth side,
with an average age of 22, the "Burnley
Babies" put pay to the division, beating
top team like Leeds United 5-1 and
securing a semi final place in the League
Cup, but a return to the original stating
eleven saw fortunes turn for the worse,
and back to 14th in the league.

Jimmy Adamson then returned to the club
to take over as manager, when Harry Potts
moved to general manager, and within two
seasons Burnley were relegated.

The relegation saw all the hard work of managers since the end of the
Second World War undone, a bright spot on the horizon, that Ralph Coates
had been selected to play for England during the World Cup, was quickly
extinguished, when he was sold in the same summer to Tottenham Hotspur.

The first season in the Second Division, held plenty of promise, but the term
fell away quickly, and although a credible 7th place was earned, a
relegation battle had cast a shadow over the season.

The following season had none of the doom
and gloom of 1971-72, and Burnley lost only
four times, on it's way to winning the Second
Division title.

The 1973-74 season ended with Burnley just
missing out on an European place, and after
an almighty battle with Newcastle United in the
FA Cup semi final, which Burnley lost, in which
Malcolm MacDonald scored the two goals to
break Burnley's heart, none least my fathers.
The game before the semi final, a 4-1 defeat
of Leeds United, had been marred by the
injury of Frank Casper, who was never to play
for Burnley again. The season did start on a
high though, as Burnley win the charity Shield
out right for the first time in it's history, beating
Manchester City 1-0

1974-75 season will be long remembered due to a dark day in Burnley's
history as it became the first top flight team to be put out of the FA Cup by a
non-league team on their own ground, Wimbledon, turned up at Turf Moor,
from the Southern League and departed with one of the greatest scalps in
FA Cup history. The season was also one that saw Martin Dobson sold to
Everton, as Burnley continued it's tradition as a selling club to sustain it's
league status.

But the clouds were gathering at Turf Moor, at the time no-one could see
them, but Burnley were about to travel a road that would lead it to almost

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Champions 1958-59
Burnley Team in 1957
Parading the League Championship in 1959
Burley Team for FA Cup Final 1947
Harry Potts
Frank Casper
Burnley Programme from 1950
Burnley v Eintracht 1967