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Club News

On This Day: May 18

18 May 2016


The origins of Burnley Football Club date back exactly 134 years to this date, 18 May 1882, the date generally accepted as when the club was founded as an association football club. 

On that day the members of Burnley Rovers Rugby Club gathered at the Bull Hotel in Burnley town centre, the biggest and most important hotel in the town at that time. 

It stood at the corner of Manchester Road and St James Street, on the site now occupied by Burtons, and was demolished in 1932.

A few days earlier the club’s committee had met and decided to recommend to the members that the club switch from rugby football to association football. 

At that historic meeting the proposal was duly put to the membership and it was voted upon and passed by a large majority. However as the meeting came to an end the club’s name was still Burnley Rovers.

Just a short time later the club secretary, George Waddington, met with his committee and put forward another proposal, to drop “Rovers” from the club’s name, thereby adopting the psychological high ground over many other local clubs by carrying the name of the town.

The committee men all agreed and voted as such unanimously.

Burnley Football Club, born just days earlier, was now christened.


Burnley 1-1 Chesterfield

One hundred years later, to the exact day, as if to commemorate the founding of the club a century earlier, the Clarets were tantalisingly close to celebrating the Third Division Championship.

Burnley had started the season poorly and after only one win and just four points from the first eight games were in the relegation zone. 

However fortunes improved dramatically from early October and the Clarets suffered just one defeat in the following thirty league games, by late April they were up to fifth, well in touch with the leaders Carlisle United.

After beating Carlisle themselves 1-0 at Turf Moor, the next three games were also won, as promotion was clinched in the penultimate match, a 4-1 demolition of Southend United at Roots Hall. 

The Clarets were top of the league with just one game to go, a re-arranged fixture against Chesterfield at Turf Moor. 

Burnley were on 79 points with a goal difference of +21. Fulham were second on 77 points, gd+26, with Carlisle third, also on 77 points, gd+14. 

A victory would secure the Third Division title for the Clarets, but a draw would let in Fulham if they won their final match at home to fourth-placed Lincoln City on the same night as Burnley met Chesterfield.

However Lincoln would certainly be up for it as a win meant they would leap-frog Fulham and win promotion. 

Carlisle were to play the following night at relegated Chester, essentially they were relying on Burnley losing and Fulham not winning.

It was all rather complicated, but all would be well if the Clarets performed as they had been doing, they had won their last four and won eight and drawn two of their last eleven.

Then fate conspired to play a part in proceedings, in a rather unexpected way. 

With Burnley’s match due to kick-off at 7.30pm, at around 7.15 the heavens opened and within ten minutes the cloudburst had so engulfed Turf Moor that the pitch looked more suitable for planting rice than playing football.

The referee announced a delay of 15 minutes, although he said afterwards that, had it not been the last match of the season, and with Burnley’s Championship prospects at stake, he would never have allowed it to start.

Start it did however although the first half was something of a farce with the ball constantly becoming stuck in the water that still lay all over the pitch.

The Chesterfield players adapted to the conditions rather better than the Burnley players and eventually took the lead just two minutes before half time. 

After the break the pitch had dried out a little and the Clarets’ equaliser came only three minutes into the second period. 

A through ball from Trevor Steven found Kevin Young wide on the left. He made ground, and from outside the area hammered the equaliser across the goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net. 

The Clarets’ tails were now up and at this stage they looked as though they would go on to get the victory they needed to lift the Third Division Championship. 

It just didn’t happen however and the match rather petered out into a tame draw.

It was a relief when news came through that Fulham had only drawn at home to Lincoln City to gain promotion but now with no chance of the title. 

Carlisle United were now the only mathematical challengers, if they managed to beat relegated Chester the following night by a margin of at least seven goals they would pip the Clarets for top spot on goal difference. 

In the event Carlisle won their outstanding game 1-0 and Burnley FC were Third Division Champions, almost exactly a century after the club had been founded.

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