Burnley 1920-21 Game One

If we’re going to follow Burnley through the year, and throw their last Championship season up for comparison, I thought it might be just as well to involve their first title year as well – 1920-1. There’s what must be all of the surviving Burnley footage, save the 1940s pioneering colour film of Turf Moor, in this excellent if blurred Youtube compilation:


Congratulations to “Pickerim” for that – enjoy the passage showing the last-ever Crystal Palace Cup Final, which Burnley also won before the Great War swept that world all away.

Burnley’s first game of the 1920-1 season saw them up against Bradford City at home. Bradford were still something of the major side they had been before World War One, but Burnley had come second in Division One the year before and were favourites.

In 1959-60, as we’ve seen, Burnley started with a win, and, as we know, went on to win the whole thing. 1920-1 is a better omen for Owen Coyle and his men: Burnley began their first pennant year with a 4-1 home defeat. It could have been worse: Arsenal, in Division One under false pretences, lost 5-0 at Villa Park, and, in their first match as a Football League club, Swindon Town despatched Luton Town 9-1. 2-0 away to Stoke begins to look good.

On Wednesday, Coyle and co. go to Old Trafford. (CORRECTION: United are coming to Turf Moor. Thanks to PJ in the comments for pointing this out. Opinion on Burnley fansites expects anything between 9-2 to the Clarets to 4-0 to United) Lazy opinion expects a cricket score, but Burnley played good football against Stoke, and will find themselves up against a similar attitude; it might actually be an easier game in some respects. Arsenal-Hull (the first game I saw after the move to Scotland) is the model for Burnley here.


3 Replies to “Burnley 1920-21 Game One”

  1. Just a tiny point; Burnley’s match with Manchester United tomorrow (19 Aug) is at Turf Moor rather than Old Trafford.

    Otherwise excellent as usual. As a Lancastrian who’s always had a soft spot for Burnley, it’s’ good to see the team getting some decent attention.

  2. Thanks Peter – I’ve amended the original post. Could be a really interesting year for Lancashire given how many sides are now in the top two divisions.

  3. Well, quite – having supported Manchester City for more than 40 years, I think ‘interesting’ sums it up quite well…

    It was always a nice easy trip up to Turf Moor for the away games, and always a good day out. One thing struck me watching the video of Burnley’s history; it shows Colin Waldron’s goal at Maine Road that won Burnley the Charity Shield in 1973, in a match I remember goiing to as my girlfriend’s first introduction to live football. But I can’t remember now why on earth the two sides were playing each other for the Shield that year, given that neither had won the league or the cup. Any idea? Looking up the past winners, it seems that there were some odd pairings round that time, with City winning in 1972 in a game I don’t even remember hearing about.

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