IN the first of a new series in the Lancashire Telegraph former Claret JIMMY ROBSON picks his five-a-side team from his time at Turf Moor


AN almost ever-present, missing just three games in six years as first choice goalkeeper. Dependable is so many ways, in his 383 appearances for the Clarets.

Blacklaw, who hailed from Aberdeen, was scouted while playing for Scotland Schoolboys against England at Leicester’s Filbert Street. The Foxes wanted him, but Burnley were quickest off the mark and he initially joined the groundstaff in 1954 - as so many youngsters of that era did.

Signed professional terms in 1955, and went on to make his first team debut following injury to Colin McDonald, in December 1956.

As McDonald’s career was curtailed by another injury, Blacklaw’s blossomed.


BURNLEY born and bred, Miller wore many caps for his hometown club.

As a player, he signed professional terms in 1954 and made his debut in an FA Cup game with Chelsea in 1956.

Capable at centre and wing half, he played in every league and cup game of 1959/60 and was a crucial factor in lifting the title.

His consistency earned him a place in England’s Under 23s, leading to a full England cap in May 1961.

Miller remained a first-pick in the Burnley XI into the mid-sixties, until injury at Villa Park in April 1967 ended his playing career.

He went on to join the coaching staff, working his way up to manager not once but twice, winning the Third Division in his first spell. He was in charge in 1987 when Burnley stayed in the Football League on the final day.


IN a team of talented players to be crowned champions of England, become FA Cup finalists and European Cup ambassadors, McIlroy was without question the most skilful.

The Irishman was signed from Glentoran for £8,000 in March 1950, making his First Division debut for Burnley four days before his 19th birthday the following October. A first international cap swiftly followed.

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His partnership with Jimmy Adamson was the rock on which Burnley’s title charge was built - the engine room driving a wonderful team.

As Burnley narrowly missed out on a league and cup double in 1962, there was a club one-two as McIlroy finished second to Adamson in the ‘Footballer of the Year’ poll.

The team was never the same again following his departure for Stoke City in 1963.


AN all-action centre forward, and still Burnley’s most prolific scorer in post-war football with 118.

There was more to his game than goals though, as the former Northumberland Schoolboy defended from the front, chasing the ball and closing down defenders.

Signed as a professional in 1957 he made his league debut five days before his 21st birthday that year and soon went on to make the number nine shirt his own.

Top scorer with 27 in his first season, he crashed through the 20-goal barrier in that memorable 1959/60 campaign, grabbing 23.

Pointer made his England debut in September 1961.


BLESSED with skill and pace, and an eye for goal, Connelly was an influential figure in Burnley’s 1959/60 side - ending the season with 20, despite missing the run-in to the title following injury in spring.

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Capped 10 times by England while at Turf Moor, Connelly is second only to Bob Kelly as Burnley’s most capped Englishman.

One of Burnley’s most prolific and popular wingers.

JIMMY Robson explains how he choose his team

Adam Blacklaw was a great shot stopper. He could organise the defence too and he commanded his area,” said the 78-year-old of his five-a-side goalkeeper, who was outstanding figure in the Burnley team that won the League Championship in 1959-60.

Blacklaw also won international recognition, first with Scotland Under 23s and then the senior squad and was credited for his consistency.

For his outfield players, Robson went for strength, skill and goals.

“Brian Miller was a strong defensive player who was not embarrassed to break forward,” he added of the Turf Moor stalwart, who was noted for his rugged, hard tackling style.

“Jimmy McIlroy was a technically superb player and could always produce a goalscoring opportunity,” Robson continued.

There were plenty of impressive forwards from Robson’s era for him to choose from, but he narrowed it down to two.

“Ray Pointer was quick and lively and could score goals,” he said.

Robson completed his five-a-side team with a player he struck up a good rapport with both on and off the pitch.

“John Connelly was another quick player who could take defenders on,” he said.

“He could score goals and could produce as an individual.”

Between them, Pointer, Robson and John Connelly scored 69 of the 100 goals scored by Burnley in their title winning year of 1959-60.