Harry Potts was not only a great goal scorer for Burnley, but also their most successful manager in post war football. With the aid of the nucleus of a good football team ad the guidance of Bob Lord, Harry Potts help build and maintain Burnley's Golden Era.
Harry Potts was brought up in Hetton, the same small village as another famous football manager Bob Paisley, and both were to go on to be extremely successful in the sport of football.
He was 16 years old when he joined Burnley in 1937, and a year later he signed a professional contract with the club, by his 18th birthday he was being touted as a future Burnley first team player, but with the outbreak of the Second World War, his first team debut would have to wait.
During the war he played for Fulham, Bury and Sunderland, as well as being stationed in India as a Physical Training Instructor with the British Army. At the end of the war he returned to Burnley and started for the first team on the 31st August 1946, at the recommencement of the Football League.
He was Burnley's leading goal scorer that season with 15 goals, as the Clarets won promotion, coming second in the League, and reaching the 1947 FA Cup Final.
In his first season in the First Division, Harry Potts continued to score goals, getting 14 when Burnley finished 3rd in 1948. In 1950 Harry Potts was sold to Everton, as Jimmy McIlroy replaced him at inside left.
Within a season Everton was relegated, and Harry stayed at Everton for two more season before hanging up his boots in 1956.
Harry Potts then took up a scouting position at Wolverhampton Wanderers, before taking the managers job at Shrewsbury Town, only to leave them shortly after and become manager at Turf Moor in February 1958.
Burnley's first two season under Harry Potts showed promise as the Clarets ended the 1957-58 season in 6th place and the season after in 7th, during this time Harry made only one signing, Alex Elder, he didn't sign anyone else for the next eight years.
The 1959/60 season proved to be his most successful as the Clarets claimed the League Championship for only their second time. The 1961 season provided the Clarets with an European adventure, as the Clarets eventually crashed out of the European Cup at the Quarter Final stage.
In 1961/62 with four weeks of the season left, Burnley headed the League and were through to the 1962 FA Cup Final, but ended the season Trophyless, as the double eluded Burnley and Harry Potts.
After the 1963 sale of Jimmy McIlroy, Burnley managed one last foray into Europe in 1966/67, when they played in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (UEFA Cup), But Harry Potts' days were numbered when in February 1970, he was moved to the position of General manager, and Jimmy Adamson was made manager, and he left Burnley completely in 1972.
He then became manager at Blackpool, and had moderate success, failing only to gain promotion on the last game of the 1973-74 season. In May 1976 he was sacked by Blackpool after failing to gain promotion to the First Division, although he had beaten Burnley and Jimmy Adamson in the FA Cup 3rd Round that season, a result which probably lead to Jimmy Adamson's sacking as Burnley manager.
Harry Potts then returned to Turf Moor as Chief Scout, and by February the next year he was back as manager. He managed to help Burnley stay away from relegation for that season and the following 2 seasons including an Anglo-Scottish Cup win in 1978-79. But after a terrible start to the 1978-79 season, and 11 winless games Harry Potts was sacked, and Burnley were relegated to the Third Division.
Harry Potts then involved himself at with Colne Dynamoes as a scout, before illness prevented him from continuing, and he died on 16 January 1996.
On the day of his funeral, members of the 1959-60 League Championship winning side, former players, colleagues and Burnley fans gathered at Turf Moor, to pay their respects as his cortege stopped outside the stadium.
As a monument to his effort and success, the road outside of Turf Moor, which was formerly named as Brunshaw Road, was renamed as Harry Potts Way.
22 October 1920 @ Hetton-le-Hole
181 (165 League)
50 (47 League)
Burnley Everton Shrewsbury Town Burnley Blackpool Burnley Colne Dynamoes