We catch up with Burn­ley’s 1972-73 Divi­sion Two cham­pi­ons

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Neil Fissler

PAUL FLETCHER says Burn­ley were con­fi­dent they could book a quick re­turn to the First Divi­sion, where they had spent 25 of the pre­vi­ous 26 sea­sons.

Fletcher was lead­ing scorer for the Clarets with 15 goals and two of them, against Sun­der­land, clinched pro­mo­tion back to the top flight.

He points out that man­ager Jimmy Adam­son built on the foun­da­tions of the club’s 1968 FA Youth Cup-win­ning squad.

Fletcher says Adam­son then added to it along the way, and a run at the end of their first sea­son back in the Se­cond Divi­sion con­vinced him they could win pro­mo­tion.

And so it proved to be, los­ing only four games all sea­son, two at home, as they took the Se­cond Divi­sion ti­tle from QPR by a point.

“I think the sea­son be­fore we won our last six games on the trot, so we came into the sea­son pretty con­fi­dent we were go­ing to do some­thing,” he said.

“And the fact we lost only four games all sea­son was quite sig­nif­i­cant. Also, the fact we re­ally used only 14 play­ers all sea­son, though the odd per­son might have played one game.

“Gen­er­ally, there were just 14 of us. We weren’t great in­di­vid­u­als, but, as a team, we were su­perb and we ap­proached ev­ery game know­ing we were go­ing to win it.

“Jimmy Adam­son used to say you need four good play­ers and seven dogs­bod­ies, and I was one of those,” he said.

“But we had four real star play­ers in Alan Steven­son, Frank Casper, Martin Dob­son and Leighton James. And a lot of the play­ers were a kick-back from the Youth Cup win­ning side.

“I was bought to play in the team and I was lucky to join this very tal­ented side, as was Colin Wal­dron. Even though he was from Bury, we bought him from Chelsea.

“So, the youth cup win­ning side was topped up with some pretty good buys. It was a golden time for us, es­pe­cially the next two years be­cause we stayed in the First Divi­sion.

“We had some good vic­to­ries and fin­ished sixth in our first sea­son up. We were a damn good side and still meet up ev­ery Thurs­day night for a drink and dis­cuss the old days,” he said.

Fletcher, dur­ing his time as chief ex­ec­u­tive at Turf Moor, made sure that Adam­son, who cap­tained the club to the First Divi­sion ti­tle, is re­mem­bered for­ever at the club.

“Back at Burn­ley, one of the things I no­ticed was there was no room to ac­knowl­edge his time here and I per­suaded the board to have a Jimmy Adam­son Suite,” he said.

“He hadn’t been back to the club for 30 odd years and we man­aged to get him back that day to open this suite with his grand­chil­dren.

“When he walked out to be in­tro­duced to the crowd, he gen­uinely thought he wasn’t well thought of here, but he got a mas­sive ova­tion.

“There were tears rolling down his face and he re­alised how wrong he had been for the last 30 years, think­ing Burn­ley fans didn’t like him, but it was the op­po­site.”

1. Jim Thom­son: A de­fender who served the Clarets as com­mer­cial man­ager be­fore be­com­ing sales man­ager for a soft drinks com­pany, then Scot­tish Courage un­til re­tir­ing.

2. Colin Wal­dron: A de­fender who be­came a suc­cess­ful bookie, run­ning Wal­dron Rac­ing in Nelson, Lan­cashire, for more than 30 years un­til sell­ing to Star Sports in May 2011.

3. Alan Steven­son: A goal­keeper who be­came com­mer­cial man­ager with a host of clubs and is cur­rently com­mer­cial con­sul­tant to York City.

4. Ray Hankin: A cen­tre-for­ward who man­aged Dar­ling­ton and then New­cas­tle’s com­mu­nity scheme, be­fore be­com­ing a sup­port worker in the North East.

5. Keith New­ton: Eng­land full-back who ran a tro­phy busi­ness and a newsagents be­fore be­com­ing a sales­man for Vaux­hall un­til his death from lung can­cer in 1998, aged 56.

6. Jimmy Adam­son: The man­ager who left the game af­ter leav­ing Leeds United in 1980 and re­mained in Burn­ley un­til his death in Novem­ber 2011, aged 82.

7. Alan West: A mid­fielder who man­aged Non-League Hitchin be­fore be­com­ing pas­tor at Lu­ton Chris­tian Fel­low­ship and is Lu­ton Town’s club chap­lain.

8. Ge­off Nulty: A mid­fielder who lives in his na­tive Prescot, where he was a sub-post­mas­ter, as well as hav­ing in­ter­ests in com­mer­cial and pri­vate prop­erty, a beauty sa­lon and a build­ing com­pany

9. Ed­die Cliff: A full-back who set­tled in Burn­ley, where, for the last 31 years, he has run an ex­haust and tyre busi­ness. He is also pas­tor at Hurst­wood Church in the town.

10. Mick Docherty: The de­fender, son of Tommy, went into man­age­ment, coach­ing and scout­ing at a num­ber of clubs, in­clud­ing Burn­ley, and has also coached at the Burn­ley Col­lege foot­ball academy

11. Doug Collins: A mid­fielder who, af­ter a spell as Rochdale’s player­boss, em­i­grated to Aus­tralia and is a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man, hav­ing owned a McDon­ald’s fran­chise in Nowra, New South Wales.

12. Brian Miller: The trainer who had two spells as Burn­ley man­ager and had two grand­sons who played for the club. He lived in the town un­til his death in April 2007, aged 70.

13. Billy Ing­ham: A mid­fielder, nick­named The Ginger Pele, be­came a bus driver for the Burn­ley and Pen­dle Bus com­pany un­til his death in Novem­ber 2009, aged 58, af­ter a long bat­tle with ill­ness.

14. Frank Casper: A for­ward who had three sea­sons in charge at Turf Moor. He has worked for a sports­wear com­pany and be­came a di­rec­tor for a com­mer­cial and sales con­sul­tancy spe­cial­is­ing in sports.

15. Martin Dob­son: The Eng­land mid­fielder went into man­age­ment and was Burn­ley’s di­rec­tor of youth de­vel­op­ment, be­fore scout­ing for Ip­swich and Le­ices­ter City

16. Paul Fletcher: A striker who be­came in­volved in sta­dium de­sign and cor­po­rate hos­pi­tal­ity, be­fore be­com­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive at Burn­ley. He is now man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Univer­sity Col­lege of Foot­ball Busi­ness, which is based at Turf Moor.

17. Leighton James: The Welsh in­ter­na­tional winger has held a num­ber of man­age­ment posts in Wales and has also been a news­pa­per colum­nist and ra­dio pun­dit.

NOT PIC­TURED Harry Wil­son: A de­fender who man­aged Sea­ham Red Star and Whitby Town. He worked as Sun­der­land’s com­mu­nity of­fi­cer, then re­joined the Burn­ley coach­ing staff, and later worked for Bury and the Foot­ball League. Dave Thomas: The Eng­land winger ran a land­scape gar­den­ing busi­ness be­fore be­com­ing a PE teacher at Bishop Luffa School in Chich­ester, Sus­sex, un­til re­tir­ing. Jeff Par­ton: A goal­keeper who joined the li­censed trade and ran his own pub in Pre­ston for many years. He is still based in the area. Eric Probert: A mid­fielder who be­came a pub land­lord in North York­shire. He died in Septem­ber 2004 at the age of 52 af­ter a spell of ill heath Paul Brad­shaw: A winger who re­turned to his na­tive Sh­effield and be­came a PE teacher at Silverdale School.


















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