BURNLEY’S jubilant celebrations when they claimed the Championship title at Charlton on the final day of last season will live long in the memory of the fans who were there to see it.

But it was a very different story when the Clarets claimed the highest football honour in the land in 1960.


Victory at Manchester City in the final game of the 1959/60 season secured Burnley their last First Division title. But there was no dancing in front of the away end or selfies.

In fact, the only thing in common with the success in south London in May was that both sets of players had to wait for their medals.

Jimmy Robson was a crucial member of the last Clarets side to be crowned champions of England, and he remembers the rather low-key title celebrations compared to what you see across all divisions today.

“(When the whistle went) there was no dancing with the corner flags or anything like that,” he said.

“We shook hands with the players we’d been playing against and then just walked off the field. No high fives.

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“The crowds on those days weren’t segregated. Everybody was mixed in.

“There was no way you could go to one end and applaud them for supporting you, they were all over and round the ground.

“So we went in and, in all fairness to Manchester City, they did invite us up to the boardroom for a glass of champagne after the match because we’d won the league.

“The lads were ecstatic but they weren’t jumping around or anything. We’d just won the league, that’s all we’d done.

“It was good for Burnley, it was good for us. At that time we were a team which was always up near the top, and it was good for the people of Burnley as well. They got a lift out of it.”

The Clarets clinched the title on a Monday night, going top of the league for the first time in the final game of the season.

Harry Potts’ side were a point behind Wolves when they travelled to Maine Road, having drawn their final home game of the season against Fulham on the Saturday.

But goals from Brian Pilkington and Trevor Meredith helped Burnley to a 2-1 win and their second championship.

After their victory in Manchester Burnley’s victorious squad made their way back to Turf Moor, and as they got closer to home the supporters began to flood the streets as they joined in the celebrations.

“I remember we had to come back. There was no motorways then,” said Robson, who scored 18 goals in 38 games in that season.

“We got to Rawtenstall and as we were going along the road people were coming out, waving and clapping. You got a lot from that because people had enjoyed the victory and they were proud of what we’d done.

“We were dropping players off because most of us didn’t have cars.

“We got down to Burnley and we got invited into the town hall. They were waiting up for us there.

“They decided they’d put something on at Nelson Golf Club, a small celebration-type thing, so the bus had to go round and pick all the players up again who had been dropped off.

“We went to Nelson and just had a quiet celebration.”

Although there was a league title riding on the game, Robson doesn’t remember doing anything different in preparing for the game just two days after the goalless draw with Fulham.

“It was just a normal set-up with what we did,” he said. “You had your pre-match meal at home. I was in digs.

“Then you got on the coach, which was probably an hour and a half to get to Manchester, and we played the game.

“There was 60,000-odd there on and there were was thousands locked out, from what I gather.

“We got a good start – Brian Pilkington scored. They had Bert Trautmann in goal – a legend in regards goalkeeping – and then they had Denis Law up front, so they were useful. It wasn’t going to be a quick turnover.

“Trevor Meredith got the winner. He was playing because John Connelly had to go in for a cartilage operation.

“Trevor scored a good goal to put us 2-1 up and I can always remember, it was getting near the end of the game and I wouldn’t say we were hanging on but you just wanted the game over and you just wanted to win the game.

“I remember saying to the referee, ‘How long is it to go, ref?’, and he said it was three minutes.

“One of their players, who was next to us, said, ‘Blow the whistle now, ref’. So I think he would have been happy for us to win the league rather than Wolverhampton Wanderers.”

Five of Robson’s 18 league strikes came in the one game as a rampant Clarets side thrashed Nottingham Forest 8-0.

“Everything I seemed to hit went in the back of the net. I was quite pleased with the performance after,” he said.

“I didn’t get to take the match ball home. It didn’t happen in them days. I’ve scored hat-tricks as well and never took the ball home. Now players get the ball and take it home, but it never happened in our day.”

Tottenham finished the season in third, just two points behind the Clarets, and Robson believes they and runners-up Wolves would have been more fancied to claim the title at the start of the campaign.

“No, I don’t think we would be favourites,” he said.

“Tottenham were a good side at that time, and Wolves as well.

“We’d probably be one of the favourites but wouldn’t be the first choice.

“We had Adam Blacklaw in goal, then we had John Angus and Alex Elder were the two full-backs. Across the middle we went Jimmy Adamson, Tommy Cummings and Brian Miller, up front we had John Connelly, Jimmy McIlroy, Ray Pointer and myself and Brian Pilkington.”

But there was no doubt who the star of the show was in that side.

“Jimmy McIlroy is probably the best player Burnley’s ever had,” said Robson. “That’s my opinion at any rate.

“He was a good player, hewas a scheming type of player. He was a good player, he saw things, he could score a goal or two as well and he was very good at penalties.”