Taking time out to give Jimmy a last, deserved salute

Jimmy Adamson pictured in 1962. Picture: PA Wire
Jimmy Adamson pictured in 1962. Picture: PA Wire

REGARDLESS of the defensive concerns I was going to write about following another defeat, this time at Bristol City, everything at Turf Moor has been overshadowed for me this week by news of Jimmy Adamson’s death.

Until his first return to the club for decades when he finally received the acclaim of the crowd earlier this year when a suite was opened in his name, he had been virtually estranged after he was dismissed as manager by Bob Lord in January 1976.

He was undoubtedly one of the club’s greatest players, a gifted coach and a visionary manager. It was when he and Lord fell out - it was always implied that Bob wanted to build a ground, Jimmy a team - that it went sour for the man who skippered Burnley’s last title winning side and two seasons later captained the side in the 1962 FA Cup final at Wembley and was the club’s only Footballer of the Year award winner.

He is among the number of great players who somehow weren’t capped for their country, although it is a hallmark of his standing as a coach that he was Walter Winterbottom’s right hand man as England travelled to Chile for the 1962 World Cup finals.

Adamson was offered the full England manager’s job before Alf Ramsey, but felt he hadn’t yet got the right amount of experience to take it on at that point.

As a boy I was captivated by his team of the 70s from 1973 onwards.

The side, which featured a cutting edge of current chief exec Paul Fletcher and Frank Casper, was skippered by Martin Dobson in his first spell (soon to depart for Everton a few games after I first went to a first team match at the Turf), included the powerful, skillful, flying winger Leighton James, the tactical nous of Doug Collins and had the solid-as-a-rock Colin Waldron at the heart of defence. It is the best Clarets team I have seen.

They played a cavalier sort of football and were superb entertainers - the only side of recent times to echo this was, dare I say it, Owen Coyle’s in the 2008-2009 promotion season.

Adamson had dubbed them the team of the 70s. They may have lived up to the billing had they not been sold or succumbed to injury.

They were easy for a schoolboy to support.

So I’m taking time out from the present to give Adamson a last, deserved, salute.