Clarets ace Jimmy Robson recalls historic Wembley goal

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When Burnley were paired with Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup third round, memories were stirred of the sides’ most famous meeting in the greatest knockout competition in the world.

On May 5th, 1962, the Clarets, who finished second in the old First Division, took on Spurs, who were third, a point further back.

Tottenham took the honours at Wembley Stadium, winning 3-1, with goals from Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Smith and Danny Blanchflower.

Burnley equalised just after half-time through Jimmy Robson - only for Spurs to regain the lead within a minute .

It may have been scant consolation, but Robson’s goal was the 100th in a Wembley FA Cup Final.

In these days of up-to-the-minute statistics and analysis, any significant moment, especially in a Cup final, will have been talked about, highlighted and dissected in the preceding days.

However, Robson hadn’t got a clue his goal was going to become one of those famous statistics.

“I didn’t know anything about it being a ‘special’ goal,” said Robson, now 75, who hails from Chester-le-Street but still lives in Burnley.

“I remember Gordon Harris passing the ball and then you never quite see the ball hit the back of the net. You see it go past the goalkeeper and then I turned to celebrate - well in those days it was a case of shaking hands and pats on the back, none of these dancing celebrations of today.

“But for me it was just the equalising goal against Tottenham in an FA Cup final. It wasn’t special in any other sense at the time, and it was only hours after the match that I was told of it’s significance.

“There is a picture which was painted of the goal for one of the Football League’s anniversaries which was sent to every club, and I have seen it dotted around and I guess I do feel pride now, but at the time, I just didn’t know.”

Jimmy, who was 23 when he appeared at Wembley, can still remember the cup final and admits, as well as winning the league in 1960, it was the pinnacle of his football career.

“We played Fulham in the semi-final at Villa Park and we drew 1-1, John Connelly scored, and we were lucky. We breathed a sigh of relief.

“The replay was at Filbert Street, the next Tuesday and I guided the ball in from a cross to make it 1-0, and then Jimmy McIlroy put the second on a plate for me to make it 2-0. Fulham got one back with one minute to go but when the match had finished, we realised we were going to Wembley and it was a great feeling.”

Burnley were underdogs to a decorated Tottenham side when they stepped out on the hallowed turf.

“Tottenham were a good footballing side with some great individuals like Jimmy Greaves and Danny Blanchflower. We were quite a young side, so it was a massive match for us.

“I remember Tottenham got the ball and passed it around for the first five minutes so everyone got a touch and, looking back, that was a good move by them.”

Jimmy can still remember walking out of the Wembley tunnel - although the pre-match was a bit of a blur.

“I remember walking out of the tunnel seeing the light at the end and then, when you emerged, there was a massive deafening roar of anticipation. Most of Burnley were there cheering us on - and a coach-load of my relatives from the North-east - and it was an experience.

“I think we then met the Duke of Edinburgh, I should remember as you don’t meet the Duke of Edinburgh everyday!

There was to be no cup win, however, to add to Burnley’s 1914 triumph, and the closest the Clarets have been since was the semi-final in 1974: “To be honest losing was disappointing, but it was a great feeling to go to Wembley and to be involved in a Cup final.”