From the Burnley Express Archive: Burnley win battle of relegation rivals

An image of Turf Moor as it was in February, 1980 when Fulham were the visitors in a 2-1 win for Burnley which, it was hoped, would pull Burnley away from the Division 2 relegation zone.

Other results went against them, with relegation rivals, Shrewsbury and Oldham, also winning.

Eventually, both Burnley and Fulham were relegated to Division 3, with both Shrewsbury and Oldham surviving. Shrewsbury, almost unbelievably, hung on to their Division 2 place, for almost another 10 years, as Burnley mostly languished in the lower Divisions, particularly Division 4. These years included the joyous, but equally lamentable, “Great Escape” of the 1986-7 Season.

The 1979-80 Season didn’t start very well. It wasn’t until the 17th game that Burnley actually won a match, a 5-3 home win against Cambridge United. In the season there were only six wins, five of which were at home, though that did include a 3-2 win against Newcastle.

Get In! Marshall Burke slots in his fourth goal of the season to give Burnley the lead against Fulham at Turf Moor.


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Mind you, in the context of the season, that was not all that good as Newcastle finished with only 42 points, well below the 56 required for promotion. In addition to all of that, the victory over Fulham, on February 5th, constituted Burnley’s last win and the team did not manage to be victorious in any of their last 16 games.

The worst defeat of the season was a 7-0 away loss to Queens Park Rangers and then there was a 5-0 defeat at Sunderland and a 4-0 away loss to Watford in the last game of the season, but, by then, Burnley were already relegated.

The team finished on 27 points, 15 of which had come from draws, but this was eight points short of the team that survived, Bristol Rovers.

A point worth considering is that Burnley, on paper, had a reasonably good team. They had done quite well the year before, finishing in mid table. Stevenson, in goal, with Dobson, James and Hamilton, in the midfield and forward line, looked promising. Kindon and Noble were still on the books at the beginning of the season, but Kindon left for 4th Division Huddersfield, in December and Noble went to Blackpool, in January for £25,000.


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The image is of the old Longside and, although, the picture was taken over 40 years ago, it shows that Burnley FC was in something of a downward spiral. In those days the Longside was standing only and a large section, in the middle, was divided off with no spectators. This was to keep the different supporters apart.

Only 6,902 attended when Fulham were the visitors. It should be stated that this was a Division 2 game, the equivalent of the Championship today. The average for home games was over 7,000, the biggest crowd being that for the Newcastle match when 16,634 attended. A lot of them clearly came from the North-east.

The biggest crowd of the season was for the game at Sunderland when 21,855 attended. This was the game when Burnley lost 5-0, the first of the final 16 without a win at the end of the season.