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Harry Thomson: 1940-2013

15 March 2013

'God in a Green Jersey' Passes Away

Burnley Football Club is saddened to learn of the death of former goalkeeper Harry Thomson.

Harry, aged 72, passed away peacefully on Thursday evening following a short illness.

The Edinburgh-born keeper, who made 141 appearances for the Clarets, will forever be remembered as the affectionately titled a ‘God in a Green Jersey’ following his heroics in the fiery 1967 European Fairs Cup tie away to Naples, which itself earned the moniker ‘The Battle of Naples’.

Thomson arrived at Burnley Football Club in 1959, and, due to the sheer consistency of number one goalkeeper at the time Adam Blacklaw, he spent over five years in the shadow of the fellow Scot.

He finally made his First Division debut in 1965 and within a year he was first choice at Turf Moor.

And it was during the club’s foray into Europe in the 1966-67 season that he enjoyed his finest hour.

Thomson, midle of centre row, with the 1965-66 squad

Thomson played in the second half of Burnley’s eight-match European Fairs Cup campaign, and famously kept Napoli at bay in Italy in the third round, as the Clarets defended a 3-0 first leg lead.

That included a penalty save from Napoli international captain Jose Altafini – and following the game the Italian press famously hailed the Scot as a ‘God in a Green Jersey’.

The following year, Thomson represented Scotland in a friendly match v Israel in Tel Aviv.

Harry left Turf Moor in 1969, joining Blackpool and helping the Seasiders’ to promotion, before ending his career at Barrow.

Harry leaves wife Alice, son Scott, daughter Sarah and four grandchildren: Stuart, Michael, Mollie and Izzie.

The flag at Turf Moor will fly at half mast for a period in respect of Harry Thomson: 1940-2013.

Burnley players will also wear black armbands at Sunday's East Lancashire derby at Ewood Park.

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