Burnley F.C.

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Burnley F.C.
Full name Burnley Football Club
Nickname(s) The Clarets
Founded 1882; 140 years ago (1882)
Ground Turf Moor
Ground Capacity 21,401
Chairman Mike Garlick
Manager Sean Dyche
League Premier League
2015–16 Championship, 1st (promoted)
Website Club home page
Current season

Burnley Football Club /ˈbɜːrnli/ is a professional association football club based in Burnley, Lancashire. The team will play in the Premier League, the highest level of English football in the 2016–17 season after winning the league title in the 2015–16 season in the Football League Championship. Nicknamed The Clarets, due to the dominant colour of their home shirts, they were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888.[1] The club colours of claret and blue were adopted in 1910 in tribute to the dominant club of English football at the time, Aston Villa. It was thought the colours might lift and inspire Burnley to emulate the aforementioned side; the colours before claret and blue were yellow and black. Their home ground since 1883 has been Turf Moor, the longest continuously professional used football ground in the world with a natural turf. In the 2014–15 Premier League season, Turf Moor was the longest continuously professional used football ground in the top tier in the world.[2]

Burnley have been Football League Champions twice, in 1920–21[3] and 1959–60,[4] have won the FA Cup once, in 1914, and have won the Community Shield twice, in 1960 and 1973. The Clarets also reached the 1961 quarter-finals of the European Cup. They are one of only three teams to have won all top four professional divisions of English football, along with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Preston North End.[5]

Burnley have got many records and firsts to their name. Burnley are the smallest town ever to give birth to a Football League Championship, a professional FA Cup winner and runner-up and a Community Shield winning team.[6] In the 1950s and 1960s, Burnley were one of the most innovative sides in world football, mostly due to Bob Lord, Alan Brown and Harry Potts. Burnley were for example a major factor in the development of youth academies around the world, by being the first ever club in the world to have built a training centre at Gawthorpe in Padiham. This process resulted in much greater development for youth players. Nearly all members of the 1959–60 Division 1 winning team had played in the Burnley youth team. Lord also pioneered the 'football specials'. 'The Clarets' were also the first to let a manager decide about the transfer policy.[7] Not long after, some of the most prestigious clubs around the world emulated Burnley.[8]

The absolute highlight for Burnley in this period was the English title win in 1959–60. The "Republic of Burnley" won the championship on the last day, beating Manchester City 1–2 at Maine Road, while Burnley had not topped the table all season long before the Manchester City game. Burnley's championship winning squad was, except three bought players none of which had played a single Football League game before, entirely made up of youth players who came through the Gawthorpe ranks. Burnley's style of play also won many admirers, including all-time First Division top scorer Jimmy Greaves. Burnley's style of play was attacking and they were deadly at standard situations. It had its origins in ex-Burnley manager Alan Brown. He introduced at his time at Burnley in 1954 a pioneering use of short corners and huge array of free kick routines, which were copied across the land. Burnley was therefore known as the "deadball wizards". Burnley also introduced the then unknown concept of Total Football in Britain during that period, which made Burnley one of the more attacking sides in the country.[8]

The club spent most of their early history in England's top two football divisions, but remained outside the top flight from 1976 to 2009. From 1985 to 1992 they had a seven-year spell in the lowest tier of the Football League. In 1987 they narrowly avoided relegation to the Conference. Between 2000 and 2009 they played in the second tier of English football, until they gained promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 33 years after winning the 2009 Championship play-off final, but were relegated after a single season. The club played in the Premier League again in 2014–15 after being promoted from the Football League Championship at the end of the 2013–14 season as runners-up to Leicester City.[9] On 9 May 2015, Burnley were relegated back to the Championship despite a 1–0 win against relegation rivals Hull City.[10] On 2 May 2016, Burnley clinched promotion back to the Premier League with a 1–0 win over Queens Park Rangers.[11] On 7 May 2016 they were confirmed as champions following a 0–3 win against Charlton Athletic.[12]


Early days (1882–1912)

The Burnley team of 1889

During May 1882, Burnley Rovers Football Club decided to shift their allegiance from rugby union to football. Playing in various blue and white kits for their first few years, the club played their first competitive game in October 1882 against Astley Bridge in the Lancashire Challenge Cup, that game ending in an 8–0 defeat. In 1883 the club moved to Turf Moor and remain there, only their Lancashire rivals Preston North End having occupied the same ground continuously for longer. Burnley first appeared in the FA Cup in 1885–86 but were ignominiously beaten 11–0 when eligibility restrictions meant that their reserve side had to be fielded against Darwen. On 13 October 1886, Turf Moor became the first ground to be visited by a member of a (British) Royal Family.[13][14] When it was decided to found the Football League for the 1888–89 season, Burnley were among the 12 founders of that competition.[1] William Tait of Burnley scored the first ever hat-trick in League football (v Bolton, 15 September 1888). Burnley won the game 4–3.[15][16]

Burnley, now known as 'the Turfites', 'Moorites' or 'Royalites' finished 9th in the first season of the league but only 1 place from bottom in 1889–90 following a 17-game winless streak at the start of the season.[17] That season did, however, present Burnley with their first honours, winning the Lancashire Cup with a 2–0 final victory over Blackburn Rovers.

Before Burnley won a trophy again, they were relegated to the Second Division in 1896–97.[18] They responded to this by winning promotion the next season, losing only 2 of their 30 matches along the way before gaining promotion through a play-off series then known as 'Test Matches'.[19] Burnley and Stoke City both entered the last match, to be played between the two teams, needing a draw for promotion (or in Stoke's case to retain their First Division place). A 0–0 draw ensued, reportedly 'The Match without a shot at goal' and the League immediately withdrew the Test Match system in favour of automatic promotion and relegation. Ironically, the League also decided to expand the top division after the Test Match series of 1897–98 and the other two teams also went into the top division for the following year, negating the effect of Burnley and Stoke City's reputed collusion.[20]

Burnley were relegated again in 1899–1900[21] and found themselves at the centre of a controversy when their goalkeeper, Jack Hillman attempted to bribe their opponents in the last match of the season (Nottingham Forest), resulting in his suspension for the whole of the following season. Burnley needed a win against Forest in the last match of the season to escape relegation. This is the earliest recorded case of match fixing in football. During the first decade of the 20th century, Burnley continued to play in the Second Division, even finishing in bottom place in one season, although the indications of success just around the corner were evident in 1911–12 when only a loss in the last game of the season denied the club promotion.

Clarets' glory either side of World War I (1912–1930)

The team photograph of the Championship-winning side in the 1920–21 season.

Burnley changed their colours from green to the claret and sky blue of Aston Villa, the most successful club in England at the time, for the 1910–11 season. The 1912–13 season saw them win promotion to the First Division once more, as well as reaching the FA Cup semi-final, only to lose to Sunderland. The next season was one of consolidation in the top flight, but more importantly their first major honour, the FA Cup, won 1–0 in the last final played at Crystal Palace against Liverpool. This cup final was historic in that King George V became the first reigning monarch to present the cup to the winning captain.[22] The winning Burnley team also got special medals with 'English Cup Winners' written on it instead of the usual 'FA Cup Winners' inscription.[22][23] World War I impacted the 1914–15 season, in which Burnley finished 4th in the First Division, before English football reorganised itself and took a back seat to the needs of the conflict. Upon resumption of full-time football in 1919–20, Burnley finished second in the First Division to West Bromwich Albion but this was not a peak, merely presaging Burnley's first ever League Championship in 1920–21. Burnley lost their opening three matches that season before going on a 30-match unbeaten run, a record for unbeaten games in a single season that lasted until Arsenal went unbeaten through the whole of the 2003–04 season. Burnley finished third the following season but thereafter followed a steady deterioration of their position, with only 5th place in 1926–27 offering respite from a series of near-relegations which culminated in demotion in 1929–30.

Low points through World War II: (1930–1945)

Burnley struggled in English football's second tier, narrowly avoiding a further relegation in 1931–32 by only two points. The years through to the outbreak of the Second World War were characterised by uninspiring league finishes, broken only by an FA Cup semi-final appearance in 1934–35 and the arrival (and equally swift departure) of Tommy Lawton. Burnley participated in the varying football leagues that continued throughout the war, but it wasn't until the 1946–47 season that league football proper was restored.

Golden days (1946–1976)

In the first season of post-war league football, Burnley gained promotion through second place in the Second Division. Additionally, there was a run to the FA Cup Final, with Aston Villa, Coventry City, Luton Town, Middlesbrough and Liverpool being defeated before Charlton Athletic beat Burnley 1–0 after extra time in the final at Wembley. Burnley immediately made an impact the top division, finishing third in 1947–48 as the club began to assemble a team capable of regularly aiming for honours. Between 1954 and 1957, manager Alan Brown introduced short corners and a huge array of free kick routines, which were soon copied across the land.[24] In the 1956–57 season, Ian Lawson scored on his debut as an 17 year old a record four goals versus Chesterfield in the FA Cup.[25][26] That same season saw a club record 9–0 victory over New Brighton in the FA Cup—despite missing a penalty—and the following season former player Harry Potts became manager. The team of the 1950s revolved around the midfield duo of Jimmy Adamson and Jimmy McIlroy (a new stand was named after the latter in the 1990s) and these two were key to the championship-winning team of 1959–1960 managed by Potts (who now gives his name to the road which Turf Moor occupies). After a tense season in which Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers were the other protagonists in the chase for the league title, Burnley clinched the championship at Maine Road, Manchester with a 2–1 victory on 2 May 1960 with goals from Brian Pilkington and Trevor Meredith. Although they had been in contention all season, Burnley had never led the table until this last match was played out.

Burnley were one of the world pioneers and one of the most progressive clubs in the 1960s under the reign of chairman Bob Lord. They were the first team in the world to build a training ground next to the stadium, while every other team still trained in their own stadium, and the Turf Moor club used innovative training methods. Among other things, this resulted in an excellent youth team. Nearly all members of the 1959–60 Division 1 winning team had played in the Burnley youth team. Lord also pioneered the 'football specials'. 'The Clarets' were also the first to let a manager decide about the transfer policy.[27] After this title winning season finished, Burnley went to the United States to take part in the first ever international football tournament in North-America, the International Soccer League.[28]

The following season Burnley played in European competition for the first time beating Reims and losing to Hamburger SV, lost in an FA Cup semi-final and finished fourth in the league. Burnley were the first team to rotate their starting eleven for a league match (v Chelsea, 1961). They were fined by the FA after the game, as this was against the rules.[29] The highlights of the 1961–62 season were finishing second in the league and a run to the FA Cup Final, where a Jimmy Robson goal was Burnley's only reply to 3 goals from Spurs.

Although far from a two-man team, the departure of McIlroy to Stoke City and retirement of Adamson coincided with a decline in fortunes. Adamson reputedly turned down the England manager's post which then went to Alf Ramsey. More damaging was the impact of the 1961 abolition of the maximum wage; nonetheless they managed to retain their First Division place throughout the decade finishing 3rd in 1966 and reaching the semi-final of the League Cup in 1968–69. They also reached the quarter-finals of the 1966–67 Fairs Cup, in which they were knocked out by Eintracht Frankfurt.

  • QTR = quarter-final
Season Competition Round Nation Club Score
1960–61 European Cup QTR  West Germany Hamburger SV 3–1, 1–4
1966–67 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup QTR  West Germany Eintracht Frankfurt 1–1, 1–2

The remainder of the decade was otherwise one of mid-table mediocrity, with Potts being replaced by Adamson as manager in 1970. Adamson was unable to halt the slide and relegation followed in 1970–71 ending a long unbroken top flight spell during which, more often than not, they had been in the upper reaches of the League table. Burnley had several players with international caps in the 1950s–1960s including, for England Ray Pointer (3 caps), Colin MacDonald (8 caps), and John Connelly (20 caps), a member of the 1966 World Cup squad, for Northern Ireland Jimmy McIlroy (55 caps) and for Scotland Adam Blacklaw (3 caps).

Burnley won the Second Division title in 1972–73 with Adamson still in charge. As a result, they were invited to play in the 1973 FA Charity Shield where they emerged as winners against Manchester City. In the First Division, led by elegant playmaker Martin Dobson, the side managed 6th in 1974 as well as reaching another FA Cup semi-final; this time losing out to Newcastle United. The following season the club achieved 10th place (despite Dobson being sold to Everton early in that season) but were victims of one of the great FA Cup shocks of all time when Wimbledon, then in the Southern League, beat Burnley 1–0 at Turf Moor. Relegation from the First Division in 1975–76 saw the end of Adamson's tenure as manager.

Decline and near oblivion (1976–1987)

Graph showing Burnley's performance from the inaugural season of the Football League in 1888–89 to the present.

Three nondescript seasons in the Second Division followed before relegation to the Third Division for the first time in 1979–80. Of 42 league games, Burnley could not manage a win in either their first or last 16. Two seasons later, now under the management of Brian Miller, they were promoted as champions. However, this return was short-lived, lasting only one year; albeit a year in which the team reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and the semi-final of the League Cup, recording victories over Spurs and Liverpool in the latter, although the 1–0 win over Liverpool in the League Cup semi final second leg was not enough for an appearance in the final as Burnley had lost the first leg 3–0.[30]

Managerial changes continued to be made in an unsuccessful search for success; Miller was replaced by Frank Casper in early 1983, he by John Bond before the 1983–84 season and Bond himself by John Benson a season later.

Benson was in charge when Burnley were relegated to the fourth level of English football for the first time ever at the end of the 1984–85 season. Martin Buchan (briefly) and then Tommy Cavanagh saw the side through the 1985–86 season before Miller returned for the 1986–87 season, the last match of which is known as 'The Orient Game'. For the 1986–87 season, the Football League had decided to introduce automatic relegation and promotion between the Fourth Division and the Conference league, the top tier of non-league football. Although, in retrospect, this has only served to blur the lines between professional and semi-professional leagues in England, at the time it was perceived that teams losing league status might never recover from this. Additionally, Burnley had a new local rival in Colne Dynamoes who were rapidly progressing through the English non-league system at the same time as the former champions of England were in the lowest level of the league. After a disastrous season (which also saw a first round FA Cup 3–0 defeat at non-league Telford), Burnley went into the last match needing a win against Leyton Orient. A 2–1 win, with goals from Neil Grewcock and Ian Britton, was enough to keep Burnley in Division Four, although even that achievement still relied on a loss by Lincoln City in their last game of the season.

Recovery (1987–2000)

In May 1988, Burnley were back at Wembley; this time to play Wolves in the final of the Football League Trophy. A capacity crowd of 80,000 people packed Wembley was a record for a match between two teams from English football's fourth tier, as Wolves won 2–0. In fact, this attendance of 80,000 is believed to be the highest attendance in world football for a lower league cup final. In 1991–92, Burnley were champions in the last ever season of the Fourth Division before the league reorganisation, and two years later they won the new Division Two play-offs and gained promotion to Division One under Jimmy Mullen. That too was as a result of a match at Wembley, this time against Stockport County. Relegation followed after one season and in 1997–98 only a last day 2–1 victory over Plymouth Argyle ensured a narrow escape from relegation into Division Three. Chris Waddle was manager in that season, but his departure and the appointment of Stan Ternent that summer saw the club start to make further progress. In 1999–2000 they finished Division Two runners-up and gained promotion to Division One.

Championship years (2000–2009)

During the 2000–01 and 2001–02 seasons, Burnley emerged as serious contenders for a promotion play-off place in the Championship. By 2002–03 the side's form had declined despite a good FA Cup run. This was repeated the following season and in June 2004 Ternent's six-year reign as manager came to an end and Steve Cotterill was appointed as manager of the club. Cotterill's first year in charge produced two notable cup runs, knocking out Premier League clubs Liverpool and Aston Villa, and a 13th-place finish in the Championship. He was not able to improve on this the following season, and Burnley finished 17th.

The club's badge being displayed on large balloons in the buildup to the Championship play-off Final, the game resulted in the Clarets reaching the highest level of English football for the first time in 33 years

Burnley made a good start to the 2006–07, but their form tailed away badly in mid-season leaving them threatened by relegation. The 2006–07 squad set a club record for consecutive league games without a win, with their 18th winless game (19 including a cup game) against Luton Town meaning they were one worse than the 17 league game streak of the 1889–1890 season. The winless streak was finally broken in April, as Burnley beat Plymouth Argyle 4–0 at Turf Moor and a run of good form thereafter saw Burnley finish comfortably above the relegation places and ensured they remained in the Championship for the 2007–08 season. The highlight of the season was Gifton Noel-Williams’ hat-trick against Barnsley.[31] He became the first man to spring from the bench in a league game to inspire victory with a hat-trick.[29]

The following season Burnley played poorly,[citation needed] eventually leading to the departure of Steve Cotterill in November 2007. His replacement was Owen Coyle. Coyle lead the team to a total of 62 points for the season, their largest total for eight years. In Coyle's first full season in charge ended with the Clarets' highest league finish since 1976, fifth in the Championship, qualifying the club for the play-offs. Burnley beat Reading 3–0 on aggregate in the semi-final, and went on to beat Sheffield United 1–0 in the final at Wembley Stadium, promoting Burnley to the Premier League, a return to the top flight after 33 years. Wade Elliott scored the goal.[32]

Premier League and recent times (2009–)

The town of Burnley became the smallest town to host a Premier League club; this being the club's 52nd season in the top flight of English football. Burnley's home form in 2009–10 started well, including a 1–0 win against reigning champions Manchester United and an identical scoreline over top six club Everton shortly afterwards. The Clarets became in fact the first promoted team in the Premier League to win their first four league games at home.[33] However, away form was poor, epitomised by a 3–2 defeat to local rivals Blackburn Rovers in October. Manager Coyle left Burnley in January 2010, to manage Bolton Wanderers, a club for which he played from 1993 to 1995. He was replaced by Brian Laws, with Russ Wilcox as his assistant and Graham Alexander appointed as player-coach. Burnley's form, which had already proved difficult to sustain in the last months of Coyle's reign, continued to decline under the new management, and Burnley were relegated after a single season back in the top flight.[34] Burnley's last match in the Premier League before their relegation was a victory over fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur 4–2 on the final day of the season.[35]

Burnley started the new 2010–11 season as one of the favourites for promotion but were inconsistent and Laws was dismissed as manager in December 2010 with the team in 9th place. Laws was replaced by Eddie Howe, with Jason Tindall as his assistant.[36] Burnley ended the 2010–11 season in eighth place, and therefore remained in the Championship for the following campaign. On 12 October 2012 it was confirmed that Eddie Howe had left Burnley to rejoin his hometown club Bournemouth along with Assistant Manager Jason Tindall due to personal reasons. On 30 October 2012 former Watford manager Sean Dyche took over as new manager of Burnley.

On 21 April 2014, Burnley were promoted to the Premier League for the 2014–15 season after beating Wigan Athletic 2–0 with goals from Ashley Barnes and Michael Kightly,[9] in Sean Dyche's first full season as manager of the club. The following season was the club's 53rd in the top flight, but Burnley were officially guaranteed relegation to the Championship on 9 May 2015 despite a 1–0 victory away against Hull City. Other results on that date left Burnley trailing 17th-place Newcastle United by seven points with only two matches to play.[10]

In the summer transfer window of 2015, the team lost key players: the previous season's top scorer Danny Ings saw his contract expire and joined Liverpool, and Kieran Trippier and Jason Shackell both departed as well. However, Burnley immediately returned to the top flight in 2016, with promotion guaranteed on 2 May 2016, after a 1-0 victory against Queens Park Rangers, with a single game remaining to play. A 3-0 victory against Charlton Athletic on 7 May 2016 confirmed them as champions of the Football League, finishing 4 points clear of nearest competitors Brighton & Hove Albion, and Middlesbrough, ending the season with 23 games undefeated. Manager Sean Dyche only used 25 of his players during the 2015-16 Championship season, and Andre Gray finished as top scorer of the league with 25 goals.


As of 10 May 2016.[37]

First-team squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Tom Heaton (captain)
2 England DF Matthew Lowton
3 Northern Ireland DF Daniel Lafferty
5 England DF Michael Keane
6 England DF Ben Mee
7 England FW Andre Gray
8 England MF Dean Marney
9 Wales FW Sam Vokes
11 England MF Michael Kightly
14 England MF David Jones
17 England GK Paul Robinson
18 Germany FW Rouwen Hennings
No. Position Player
19 England FW Lukas Jutkiewicz
20 Norway MF Fredrik Ulvestad
21 Scotland MF George Boyd
23 Republic of Ireland DF Stephen Ward
24 England FW Chris Long
26 England DF James Tarkowski
27 England DF Tendayi Darikwa
28 Republic of Ireland DF Kevin Long
30 Austria FW Ashley Barnes
34 England DF Tom Anderson
37 Canada MF Scott Arfield
38 Northern Ireland DF Cameron Dummigan

Development squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
29 Northern Ireland DF Luke Conlan
32 England FW Daniel Agyei
35 England DF Alex Whitmore
36 Northern Ireland GK Conor Mitchell
41 Australia MF Aiden O'Neill
42 England DF Christian Hill
43 England MF Brad Jackson
46 England FW Ntumba Massanka
No. Position Player
England MF Luke Hendrie
England MF Josh Ginnelly
England MF Arlen Birch
England MF George Green
Ivory Coast MF Freddy Yao
England DF Taofiq Olomowewe
Spain GK Tony Aghayere
Republic of Ireland FW Khius Metz

Youth squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England DF Olatunde Bayode
England MF Tinashe Chakwana
England MF Miles Fenton
England DF Billy Grogan
England MF Mark Howarth
England GK Connor King
England MF Tyler Shrimpton
England FW Tommy Wood
England GK Adam Bruce
No. Position Player
England DF James Clarke
England DF Leighton Egan
England MF Tristen Jumeau
England MF Samuel Layton
England FW Dwight McNeil
England DF Kwasinkosi Mpofu
England DF Scott Wilson
Poland GK Marcel Wusiewicz
England DF Oliver Younger

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Austria MF Renny Smith (at GAIS until the end of the season)

Notable former players

For a list of players with over 100 league appearances for the club, see List of Burnley F.C. players
For a list of players with 50–99 league appearances for the club, see List of Burnley F.C. players (50–99 league appearances)
For a list of past and present internationals, see List of Burnley F.C. internationals

Current coaching staff

As of 23 October 2015
Position Name
Manager: England Sean Dyche
Assistant Manager England Ian Woan
First Team Coach Republic of Ireland Tony Loughlan
Goalkeeping Coach England Billy Mercer
Head Physiotherapist England Alasdair Beattie

Source: Burnleyfootball.com