Alternative History

It was following the dissolution (in the Northern acid rain) of Burnley Rovers rugby team, in 1881, that the members of the club continued playing the oval ball game for one year before coming to their senses and opted to turn to football at a meeting at the Bull Hotel in the town during the year of 1882. Their strip was originally green, but they adopted the claret and blue that has stayed with them throughout their history, but the pale blue arms had to be added after the claret material run out making the body of the tops.

Burnley became a founder member of the League in 1881 and ten years into the new venture won the Second Division title. In 1914, they beat Liverpool at Crystal Palace to take the FA Cup and then built on that victory to win the Championship of the First Division in 1921. Like Adolf Hitler, World War II brought an end to any dream that Burnley had of world domination and they went through a period without much success. The arrival of Bob Lord as chairman, who had revolutionary ideas of his own, saw a revival of fortunes with an excellent season in 1946-7, when they only let in 32 goals in 52 games. The stubborn defence was obviously drilled into the players during their time in the army.

Being a manager at the club in it’s early years was a chequered career choice, with the first man with the position leaving for Woolwich Arsenal after taking Burnley to third in the First Division.  When another manager – Spin Whittaker – made the same the journey to London (to register a new signing), he fell off the train on the return journey, being found with serious injuries that he failed to recover from.  Ernest Mangnall left Turf Moor because of mounting debts and defected to the riches of Manchester United, becoming the first man to take them to a major trophy and Cliff Britton only signed non-smoking, tee-totallers !

Trophies eluded them, until they came back with the 1st Division trophy again in 1960 and they lost out in the 1962 FA Cup final to Tottenham 3-1. The Burnley captain at the time, Jimmy Adamson, became England’s assistant manager for the 1962 World Cup finals after he turned the recently vacated hot seat down following Walter Winterbottom’s departure.

The club became well known for producing young talent in the 60’s and 70’s, but although the Division 2 championship was won in 1973, their policy of having to sell off the best players ended up with them having a fantastic stadium at Turf Moor, but a team that would be playing in the top divisions no more. One of the club’s favourite sons is Frank Casper, who played a bit like Martin Peters, but was always genial – earning him the nickname “The Friendly Ghost” . Some of the youngsters didn’t appear to be so, take balding Ralph Coates, for example. But Ralph’s hair wasn’t the only thing that was thin on the ground in Burnley. A Third Division championship in 1982 didn’t stop the rot and only a last day win against Leyton Orient prevented them from slipping into the Conference in 1987. This shocked the once great club into life and they became the Fourth division champions in 1991-2. However, threats of violence against a couple of their recent former managers lead to the appointment of Chris Waddle for the 1997-8 season. Only a last day win secured their Second division status.

The first ground Burnley played at was Calder Vale, but myths and legends of witches in the area created great fear amongst visiting teams and Burnley were forced to quit the pitch for a new home. That was turf Moor. It was merely a piece of turf on the moors surrounding Burnley in those days. The development of the ground saw a visit to a football match by a royal for the first time – Prince Albert attending in 1886 and the club were dubbed “the Royalites” for a while (a name later assumed by a Philly soul band back in 1975). The wind often whips through the ground and once was so strong, a goal-kick was blown back off at the same end of the pitch for a corner to the opposition !! How did Ralph ever manage to keep his hair flat ??

Having taken on an ageing ex-England striker, they snuck into the automatic promotion place to go up to Division One on the last day of the 1999-2000 season.  This proved to be no fluke as they established themselves in the top half of the table in their return to Div. 1 and looked set to stay there for a while.  Perhaps they surprised themselves and their fans by getting to the Promotion play-off final at Wembley in 2009 and beat Sheffield United to go up to the Premier League for the first time, where they hoped to transfer their cup form against the top teams into regular league form.  There was a bit of yoyo-ing, but the team under Sean Dyche were equipped to cope with the top flight despite lacking a huge budget.

FAMOUS PLAYERS : – Tommy Boyle, Trev Moore, George Beel, Jackie Chew, Jerry Dawson, Jimmy McIlroy, Steve Kindon, Peter Mellor, Mario Masticate.

FAMOUS FANS : –  Alistair Campbell (Former Secretary to Prime Minister – Tony Blair), Colin Buchanan (Actor – Dalziel and Pascoe); Johnny Briggs (Actor – Mike Baldwin in “Coronation Street”); Ted Heath (former Prime Minister); John Kettley (TV Weatherman).


Club Records

Formed 18th May 1882
Turned Professional 1883
Became a Limited Company 1897
Former names Burnley Rovers = 1881-1882
Previous grounds Calder Vale = 1881-1882
Nickname “The CLARETS”, “The TURFITES”
Club Colours HOME : Shirts – Claret body with blue sleeves
Shorts – White
Socks – White
AWAY : Shirts – Blue
Shorts – Claret
Socks – Blue
Record Football League Win 9-0  v  Darwen  Division 1  09.01.1892
Record Football League Defeat 0-10  v  Aston Villa
Division 1   29.8.1925
0-10  v  Sheffield United  Division 1   19.01.1929 
Record Cup Win 9-0  v  Crystal Palace
FAC R2r    10.02.1909
9-0  v  New Brighton
FAC R4     26.01.1957
9-0  v  Penrith
FAC R1     17.11.1984
Record Cup Defeat 0-11  v  Darwen Old Wanderers
FAC R1     17.10.1885
Record Fee Paid £15,000,000 to Leeds United for Chris WOOD (21st August 2017)
£15,000,000 to Middlesbrough for Ben GIBSON (5th August 2018)
Record Fee Received £25,000,000 from Everton for Michael KEANE  (3rd July 2017)
Record Football League Appearances 552  –  Jerry DAWSON  (1907-29)
Record Appearances 569  –  Jerry DAWSON  (1907-29)
Record goal-scorer in a league season 35  –  George BEEL  Division 1  (1927-28)
Record goal-scorer in a season 37  –  Jimmy ROBSON  Division 1  (1960-61)
37  –  Willie IRVINE  Division 1  (1965-66)
Record all-time goal-scorer  188 – George BEEL  (1923-32)
Most goals in a match 6 – Louis PAGE  v  Birmingham City    Division 1    10.04.1926
Record Attendance (all-time) 54,775  v  Huddersfield Town   FAC R3       23.02.1924
Record match receipts
Record total of goals in a League season 102  –  Division 1 (42 matches)   1960-61
Record  League points total 3 points for a win :  93  – Championship  2013-2014; 2015-162 points for a win :  62  –  Division 2  1972-73
Most Capped player while at club Jimmy McILROY   51  (Northern Ireland)
Youngest player Tommy LAWTON ( 16 years, 163 days) v Doncaster Rovers (Div 2)  28.03.1936
Oldest player Youngest player


Stadium details

Address :  Turf Moor, Harry Potts Way, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4BX

Capacity :  21,994
Away Allocation :  around 4,000
Pitch size :  105m x 68m; 114.8 yards  x 74.4 yards

Official website :


Division One Champions 1920-21, 1959-60
Division One Runner-up 1919-20, 1961-62
Championship Champions 1897-98, 1972-73, 2015-16
Division Two Runners-up 1912-13, 1946-47, 1999-2000
Division Three Champions 1981-82
Division Four Champions 1991-92
FA Cup Winners 1914
FA Cup Finalists 1947,1962
FA Charity Shield Winners 1960 (shared), 1973
Anglo-Scottish Cup Winners 1978-79
Texaco Cup Runners-up 1978-79
Sherpa Van Trophy Finalists 1988



Arthur F SUTCLIFFE 1893-1894
Harry BRADSHAW August 1894-June 1899
Ernest MAGNALL March 1900-October 1903
Spen WHITTAKER October 1903-April 1910
R H WADGE April 1910-July 1910
John HAWORTH July 1910-December 1924
Albert PICKLES January 1925-August 1932
Tom BROMILOW October 1932-July 1935
Tom CLEGG/Alf BOLAND/Billy DOUGALL July 1935-September 1939
Cliff BRITTON May 1945-September 1948
Frank HILL October 1948-August 1954
Alan BROWN August 1954-July 1957
Billy DOUGALL July 1957-January 1958
Harry POTTS February 1958-February 1970
Jimmy ADAMSON February 1970-January 1976
Joe BROWN January 1976-February 1977
Harry POTTS February 1977-October 1979
Brian MILLER October 1979-January 1983
Frank CASPER (Caretaker) January 1983-June 1983
John BOND June 1983-August 1984
John BENSON August 1984-May 1985
Martin BUCHAN June 1985-October 1985
Tommy CAVANAGH October 1985-June 1986
Brian MILLER July 1986-January 1989
Frank CASPER January 1989-October 1991
Jimmy MULLEN October 1991-February 1996
Clive MIDDLEMASS (Caretaker) February 1996-March 1997
Adrian HEATH March 1996-June 1997
Chris WADDLE July 1997-May 1998
Stan TERNENT June 1998-June 2004
Steve COTTERILL June 2004-November 2007
Steve DAVIS (Caretaker) November 2007
Owen COYLE November 2007-January 2010
Brian LAWS January 2010-December 2010
Stuart GRAY (Caretaker) December 2010-January 2011
Eddie HOWE January 2011-October 2012
Terry PASHLEY (Caretaker) October 2012
Sean DYCHE October 2012-


League Record

Original member of the Football League – Division One 1888
Division One 1888-1897
Division Two 1897-1898
Division One 1898-1900
Division Two 1900-1913
Division One 1913-1930
Division Two 1930-1947
Division One 1947-1971
Division Two 1971-1973
Division One 1973-1976
Division Two 1976-1980
Division Three 1980-1982
Division Two 1982-1983
Division Three 1983-1985
Division Four 1985-1992
Division Two 1992-1994
Division One 1994-1995
Division Two 1995-2000
Division One/Championship 2000-2009
Premier League 2009-2010
Championship 2010-2014
Premier League 2014-2015
Championship 2015-2016
Premier League 2016-