For some of us, the name “Robbie Blake” still means Bradford City, and Bradford, remember, beat 1920 Burnley in their opening game. His goal, and the class and courage on display from Clarke Carlisle and Brian Jensen in particular, have made it all the more important that the 1920 team assert themselves.
But the great thing about Burnley’s narrow win against Manchester United late last night, apart from the obvious point that Turf Moor could enjoy its return to the top flight in proper style, is that it means that Burnley can stop thinking about the past (and leave all that to me). If they can get at least another point from their games against Liverpool and Chelsea, they will be free to concentrate on squeezing the necessary out of the likes of Portsmouth and Hull – who are down already, surely?
It was an evening in which links between Burnley and Manchester United featured: John Connelly, who starred in the ’59-60 side, was present, and Chris Eagles on the bench. Somewhere nearby was another ex-United youngster, Richard Eckersley, a summer capture from Old Trafford who actually turned Ferguson down in favour of moving east.
What about the others? 1959-60 are off to a fine start, playing at home against an Everton coached by ex-United captain Johnny Carey, Stan Matthews’ nemesis in the 1948 FA Cup Final. Burnley were 3-0 up long before half-time, Pilkington making one and scoring another; after an Everton fight-back, Burnley ran out 5-2 winners. They still lead our mini-table.
1920 Burnley had a difficult task on their hands against Huddersfield Town at Leeds Road. This wouldn’t be Chapman’s Huddersfield for another year, and nor was it Clem Stephenson’s (both he and Charlie Buchan, another future Chapman star, played for Chapman’s wartime Leeds City side and were rumoured to have received unofficial payments). But the beginnings of what would prove an unprecedently successful side were there, and Burnley’s 1-0 defeat was bad for their mini-table standings but not an uncreditable result.
After two matches, the standings are: