Jimmy Robson Remembers European Days
As the Clarets continue to battle in the Premier League for a European place by finishing in the top this season, former Claret Jimmy Robson recalls the 1960’s when Burnley were League Champions and representing the country in Europe.
Now aged seventy-eight, Jimmy Robson recalls the Clarets side he played in during the 1960’s were something special, I remember our first European, I scored a few minutes in and Turf Moor took off. We beat Reims in the first leg 2-0, but the return leg in France had a red-hot atmosphere, but despite losing the second leg 3-2 we progressed to the next round 4-3 on aggregate to meet Hamburg in the Quarter-Finals.
The Daily Mail match report read, The battered, bruised and lucky fighters of Burnley fought their way through to the last eight of the European Cup against a background of boos, jeers, piercing whistles and exploding fireworks in one of the most sensational games in the history of the competition.
Speaking about the game Robson smiled and said, “Our manager Harry Potts was antagonised, every time Reims got a free-kick they kept taking it ten yards forward. The manager became so fed up it he ran on to the pitch and kicked it back to where the foul took place. The fans started trying to climb over fences to attack him. The security took him away somewhere and hid him to keep him safe, which started a really commotion.
We then played Hamburg and won the game at Turf Moor 3-1 and I scored again, in the second leg Hamburg really come at us. A brilliant german Uwe Seeler scored twice and they beat us 4-1, it was really annoying as we felt Reims were the better team and we’d knocked them out.
In recent years, the main road outside Turf Moor was renamed to Harry Potts Way to recognising the manager who guided Burnley to the Football League title in 1960 and then embarked on a memorable European Cup run. Bob Lord was highly successful local butcher, he was a forward-thinker and was one of the first chairmen to buy a training ground. Yet he took a dim view of the media, banning the Match of the Day cameras for fear it would reduce attendances and ticket sales.
The players salaries are massively different from todays Clarets squad said Robson, “My first wage was £7 per week, it was £6 for playing and £1 for a draw. The majority of the team were part-time, we worked in the mines and on a match-day we would go to the pit to start at 7.00am finishing at 3.00pm, then go home to bed for an hour before playing a First Division match on an evening.
We had time off on Tuesday and Thursday morning and would then go to train, but every Friday lunchtime, the Chairman Bob Lord paid for us to have a steak lunch. On those European trips we travelled first-class and stayed in the best hotels.
The Clarets sealed the Football League title in dramatic fashion, with one match to play we had to win away at Manchester City which we did this despite only being part-time, the City players invited us into the boardroom to celebrate the title with a drink.
As we came back on the team coach their were huge crowds of people waving outside their houses all the way down to Burnley town centre. Eventually, they opened the Town Hall and made sandwiches, but we had started dropping players off at home on the way, so the coach had to turn around to pick them all back up.
The whole town united around the football club and wild horses would not stop the players turning out for the club. Robson said, “I even got married on the morning of a game there are images of me running out at Turf Moor in the afternoon and the fans throwing confetti over me. Burnley’s success continued as Harry Potts’ side reached the 1962 FA Cup Final where they lost 3-1 to Tottenham Hotspurs, however Jimmy Robson did have something to remember the day as he scored the 100th at Wembley in an FA Cup Final.