Welcoming Old Friends…


Burnley’s game at Goodison Park on 1 October 2017 was the only top-flight fixture that weekend featuring two founder members of the Football League

Burnley began life playing under the rules of Rugby School but switched to the association code following an invitation from the local cricket club to join them at their established home of Turf Moor. The Burnley footballers first played there in 1883, which means only Preston North End have occupied their home ground for longer in English football.

Burnley were soon given a shock introduction to the realities of the association game when, in October 1883, they were beaten 9-1 by a neighbouring Padiham side that included several Scottish imports. However, the Turf Moor outfit quickly eclipsed their neighbours when in September 1888 they became a founder member of the Football League.

Their first meetings with Everton came on alternate weekends in November 1888. The first encounter was on a section of Turf Moor that had been fenced off from the cricket field, a game in which the Toffees came back from two down to secure a 2-2 draw. Seven days later, before a crowd of 6,000 at Anfield, Everton won the return game by the odd goal in five, with Edgar Chadwick again among the goals, as he had been in East Lancashire. At that time, Burnley wore a blue and white striped jersey, but adopted their present-day claret and blue (having also had spell in green shirts) ahead of the 1910-11 season, colours which were inspired by Aston Villa.

War clouds were gathering over Europe when the Clarets first reached the FA Cup final in 1914, when they beat Liverpool, with the only goal scored by former Everton centre-forward, Bert Freeman. It was the first time the final had been watched by a ruling monarch, and King George V presented the trophy to the Burnley skipper, Tommy Boyle.

It was Boyle who skippered them to post-war success, when he led the Clarets to their first Football League championship in 1920/21. (left) It was during this era that goalkeeper Jeremiah Dawson (below) made a record 522 appearances for the club. Local folklore has it that on one occasion, when he took a goal-kick, the wind coming down off Brunshaw Hill was so strong that it blew the ball back and out for corner!

The years leading up to World War Two and those that immediately followed, were unremarkable for Burnley, until the signing of such outstanding players as Jimmy Adamson and Jimmy McIlroy, who guided them to their second First Division title in 1959-60. During the following Christmas period the visit of Burnley attracted a crowd of 74,867 to Goodison, the sixth largest crowd in Everton history – an attendance figure not surpassed since.

The Clarets then went into a steady decline, which saw them escape relegation from the Football League on the final day of the 1986-87 season, courtesy of a 2-1 win over Leyton Orient. Burnley first regained their top-flight status in 2009, returning again in 2014 and 2016.

By Tony Onslow

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