Derby rivalry set for latest chapter

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THE traditional Burnley Belvedere versus Burnley Grammar School Old Boys Good Friday fixture is set to resume today, weather permitting.

Kick-off is 11 a.m. at Holden Road, with more entertainment to follow at the club, including an Elvis impersonator at 5 p.m.

The friendly game between the two local rivals is steeped in history.

The Burnley Belvedere club was formed in 1888, but didn’t appear in it’s current form until the 1930s when the club became a member of the Lancashire Amateur League, continuing in the league until the early 2000s.

Burnley Grammar School Old Boys was formed in 1920, and was also a member of the Lancashire Amateur League until 2007.

The two clubs played most of their LAL meetings at the highest level of that league, and it became a tradition, sanctioned by the league, to hold the fixture between the two clubs, coinciding with Belvedere’s home game at Holden Road, on Good Friday each year, at 11 a.m.

Back in the days when religion was more of a factor in people’s lives, the law forbade the serving of alcoholic beverages until after 3 p.m. on religious festivals such as Good Friday.

However, the football committees at Belvedere and Calder Vale Sports Club, heavily laden with gentlemen from the legal profession, were able to obtain a special magistrates licence to enable the club to serve alcohol from 11 a.m.

Consequently the game was always extremely well-attended, and the day became the club’s biggest fund-raiser of the year - established as an eagerly-anticipated annual event.

During the rare years when the clubs were not in the same league, an appropriate friendly fixture was arranged in order to perpetuate the event, and this is still the case to this day - still bringing in vast numbers, even though the recent licensing laws changed to allow all-day drinking in all public places.

Since the 1970s, the fixture has been played for the John Potter Trophy, in recognition of the former Belvedere FC secretary who sadly died at that time.

Meanwhile, Burnley Belvedere Juniors Under 15s are in Spain for the Mediterranean International Cup - a competition which has previously featured the likes of Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba of Barcelona, Manchester United’s Anderson and Rafael da Silva, Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho, Marcelo of Real Madrid, Chelsea’s Juan Mata, AC Milan’s Bojan Krkic and Neymar of Santos.