IT was with tremendous sadness that the claret and blue faithful learnt of the passing, last week, of one of the club’s finest ever servants.
Being too young to have seen Jimmy Adamson play, or indeed to have watched any of the Burnley sides he managed, I find myself at an immediate disadvantage when it comes to writing about the man.
However, given the calibre of player queuing up to eulogise Jimmy, it would seem that for once, the tag of “legend” is free of hyperbole.
Martin Dobson, Willie Irvine, Jimmy Greaves, Leighton James, Dave Merrington, Jimmy Robson, and many more, all paid glowing tribute.
It was Jimmy who captained the side at a time when Burnley were the finest team in the land. A list of his playing achievements tell of a fantastic career.
He captained the Clarets to the 1960/61 League Championship, led them into the European Cup and an FA Cup Final the following season and even became 1962’s Sports-writers’ Footballer of the Year. You read that list again and it strikes you as inconceivable that what he accomplished will ever be repeated at this grand old club of ours again.
Yet Jimmy’s illustrious 18 year playing career, in which he made almost 500 appearances, tells only half the story. After the World Cup in Chile, he was offered the England job, but turned it down on the grounds of a lack of managerial experience.
Instead, he stayed at Burnley and eventually began his career in the dugout at Turf Moor in 1970.
Relegation was the worst possible start. But in 1972/73, his Clarets won the Second Division losing just four games en route. Some claim the innovative and attractive football played under his reign has never been bettered.
Like most managers, Jimmy was eventually moved on.
And although his time with the club ended in acrimony, there was at least closure of a kind when he was invited to Turf Moor in January of this year to open a lounge named in his honour.
The overwhelming reception he received from the home crowd made it quite clear that he was still revered among the club’s supporters.
But it is only appropriate that the last word is left to fellow club legend, Jimmy McIlroy. On hearing of his former captain’s demise, McIlroy described it as, “…one of the saddest moments of my life. I have so many memories of a man who played a massive part in the history of Burnley Football Club.”