Burnley’s first competitive outing in the build-up to the new Second Division campaign was a Watney Cup tie at Sincil Bank against Lincoln City, with a late goal from Leighton James winning the match for the Clarets.
Burnley team (235): Alan Stevenson, Mick Docherty, Keith Newton, Martin Dobson, Colin Waldron, Jim Thomson, Billy Ingham, Frank Casper, Paul Fletcher, Eric Probert, Leighton James.
Sub used: Alan West.
The Lincoln City captain was a 27-year-old full back who would go on to become a high-profile manager, at both club and international level. His name was Graham Taylor.
The Watney Cup, or to give the competition its full name, the Watney Mann Invitational Cup, was a pre-season tournament that ran from 1970 to 1973. Watney Mann were a firm of brewers and their competition
was the first example of sponsorship of football in England.
It was held before the start of the season, and was contested by the two clubs which had scored the most goals in each of the four divisions of the Football League the previous season, and which had not been promoted or qualified for European competition.
Two clubs from each division took part, making eight participants in total. In the Second Division Burnley and Blackpool had each scored 70 league goals in 1971-72, more than even the promoted clubs, so both were invited and accepted.
In the semi-final Burnley hosted Third Division Bristol Rovers, who had surprisingly beaten top flight Wolves in the first round. In what was a thorough anti-climax Rovers deservedly won the match 2-0 and
went on to lift the trophy itself, beating another First Division side, Sheffield United in the final.
There was some small consolation to this disappointing start to the season however, as the Clarets sweptback to the top flight in style, winning the Second Division Championship at the end of the 1972-73