At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the Armistice was signed deep in a forest in northern France, bringing to an end the Great War.
On the very same day, in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, a baby boy came into the world who went on to become a Turf Moor legend. Defender George Bray joined the Clarets from Great Harwood Town in 1937, aged just 18. He made his senior debut in 1938 and, after World War 2, was a key member of Burnley’s team until on into the 1950’s. In 1946-47 he was part of the formidable half back line of Attwell, Brown and Bray, the cornerstone of the Clarets’ “Iron Curtain” defence which played a crucial part in winning promotion back to the top flight and reaching the FA Cup final. He went on to make 259 Burnley appearances, scoring nine goals, before hanging up his boots in 1952.
George’s affection for Burnley FC continued and he worked as a coach, then as first team kit man, until he finally settled into a well-earned retirement in 1992, after a Turf Moor career spanning six decades.
George Bray died in 2002, aged 83, the last of Burnley’s “Iron Curtain” defence to leave us. It was the end of an era.
Burnley 2-0 Sheffield United
The Clarets went into this Division One clash at Turf Moor still unbeaten at home following promotion at the end of the previous campaign. The encounter brought together two close friends in Burnley manager Stan Ternent and Blades boss Neil Warnock, who was just a year into the job at Bramall Lane after taking over from Adrian Heath.
After an uninspiring first half, in front of the biggest Turf Moor crowd of the season thus far, almost 20,000, the Clarets went ahead on 53 minutes. A whipped cross from the left by Lee Briscoe was judged to have been handled in the area and up stepped Andy Payton to crash the penalty home for his 9th goal of the campaign. Fourteen minutes later a typical run down the right by Graham Branch ended with an inviting cross into the middle. Payton was on the spot to slide the ball in from four yards, the Clarets were 2-0 in front and the points were in the bag. United threw on three subs but it was too little too late, even managing to miss a last minute spot kick after Ian Cox had made a clumsy challenge.
Burnley were fourth after this win, their highest position of the season, eventually finishing in 7th place.
Team (442): Nik Michopoulos, Mitchell Thomas, Ian Cox, Steve Davis, Lee Briscoe,
Paul Weller (Glen Little), Kevin Ball, Micky Mellon, Lenny Johnrose,
Graham Branch (Ronnie Jepson), Andy Payton (John Mullin).