BACK TO THE VINTAGE CLARETS

Burnley Football Club playing at Turf Moor around the 1920's.You don't see many goal keepers wearing flat caps these days.

Here is an very interesting email I received from the Clarets-Mad website looking into the history of these two photographs in alot more detail:

Mick, I donít pretend to be a complete authority on the subject but here is what I think. The only thing you can say with absolute certainty is that the picture was taken between 1912 and 1929 as we started playing in claret and blue shirts of this type in 1912 but by 1929 at the latest and possibly earlier the strip changed to more of a V neck. My immediate thought on seeing the pictures was that it was not at Turf Moor but on a closer examination one of the advertising boards carries an address for St James Street. The terrace you can see therefore must be where the James Hargreaves stand is now because the Brunshaw Road stand was in existence from 1909 to 1969 and that always had a roof. The reason I thought it was not Turf Moor was that Clarets history books refer to that side of the ground as the ĎStar Standí. In the early 1900ís it was a small stand with seating in then it was supposedly extended to have a paddock in front of it but there is no sign of that on your photos and it really does look like it is a standing terrace. I found this very interesting because I own a lot of Clarets history books and there are virtually no photos of this side of the ground from 1910-1945 when the Longside was built. In fact I can only find 1 dating from 1935 which appears to be a terrace very similar to that in your pictures but by then it goes back a lot further and it is still uncovered. Hereís where the guesswork starts. Just looking at the quality of the photo my guess would be that it is from the post First World War period, which narrows it down a bit more. I wonder if the presence of people who appear to be standing on a wall or something at the back and the shape of it mean that it is still under construction. As you probably know the record Turf Moor attendance was 54, 775 in 1924 and I donít believe it would have been physically possible to get that number in the ground with the size of terrace shown in your photos. If Iím right about that it would have to be in the period 1919-1923. They might even be from the 1920-21 Championship season. I only say that because there are virtually no photos of the Clarets actually playing a match up until the late 1930ís apart from the 1914 FA Cup final. If a photographer was present it might indicate that the match had some significance. This is fairly wild speculation but Everton used to play in white as a changed strip and in 1921 we played them in the first home match after we became Champions. Maybe the pictures were early souvenirs. I suppose it is more likely that the away team is Preston North End I might actually have identified the player shown in your Burnleyfc2 photo, which would fit in with the above, and Iím sending a picture of him. He is Benny Cross who played for the Clarets between 1920 and 1927. He was an inside forward so heís in the right part of the pitch for his position and although it is very difficult to tell for sure it certainly looks very much like him to me. He was a member of the 1920-21 Championship side when he played 37 times ,take a look at another photo here: http://www.clarets-mad.co.uk/news/loadfeat.asp?cid=EDX1&id=19180 he is second from the right in the middle row. I canít really tell if it is the same player in your burnleyfc1 but it probably is. I think that they are really important photos because as Iíve said above very very few exist from this period and Iím surprised Burnley FC werenít interested. I do a lot of my research from the Burnley Express archives and as I havenít got a current project Iím going to have a look at the ones from the early 20ís sometime this summer to see if that offers any more clues. If I do find out any more Iíll drop you a line. Would you mind If I used one of them on Clarets Mad? I have no plans to use them at the moment but Iím sure I will do in the future. I hope you find this interesting. Cheers Andy Robinson

Burnley F.C.