Devastation of harsh treatment at hands of Bob Lord never left iconic Burnley player Harry Potts| Dave Thomas

It was an age ago when the Harry Potts book was written but Margaret Potts is someone who I still remember so well.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 12:30 pm
Happy memories. Harry Potts is on this celebration bus as it toured Burnley after the club won the 1959/60 Division One title trophy.
Happy memories. Harry Potts is on this celebration bus as it toured Burnley after the club won the 1959/60 Division One title trophy.

I’d go on a Friday morning and there she’d inevitably be, in the garden, working away on pots and flower beds.

Despite being in her 70s she was sprightly and energetic and, the thing that I always remember, is her wearing one of Harry’s old jackets while she was working. It was, of course, a few sizes too big but somehow, it always looked just right.

Her garden was her pride and joy, along with the countless memories of Harry and the boxloads of cuttings, letters, photographs and all the bits and pieces that she had saved over all the years of his career.

Author Dave Thomas writes this week about how Burnley player Harry Potts was devastated by his treatment at the hands of Bob Lord (left)

Potts made his Burnley first-team debut on August 31st, 1946. He wore the number 10 shirt and played in all but two of Burnley's 42 games in Division Two that season, becoming the club's leading goalscorer with 15 goals.

Large framed pictures lined the walls of the hallway and even the garage was filled with odds and ends that all dated back to Harry’s time.

What a memory Margaret had; it was pin sharp, so much so that it was an effort to bring the book to a close as the publisher’s deadline loomed, as she kept on and on remembering more and more.

She was a wonderful letter writer. Not only did we talk and talk every Friday but inbetween the visits she would send me letters. I still have all of them, saved in a ring binder, some of them 14 pages long and much of the writing incorporated into the book ‘Margaret’s Story.’

The way that Harry was disposed of by Bob Lord, and then the way that Jimmy Adamson treated him, always hurt her. The large settlement was no consolation. For so many years the three had been inseparable, intertwined, forming a part of Burnley’s football history that brought joy and triumph.

When Lord eventually brought Harry back in the later 70s, she was less than enthusiastic. She remembered how he had been so devastated when he had once been discarded like an old settee.

Of all the many stories and moments in her life that she talked about, one remains in my mind because of the mystery it suggested. And that was the mystery of how and why Lord and Adamson eventually fell out.

She was walking along the lane near her home one day and a car stopped. It was Lord’s car and he began to talk to her about how he missed Harry so much and how he regretted having treated him so badly.

Margaret always felt he was about to really open up about his innermost feelings and his deteriorating relationship with Adamson. But then another walker came along and began to chat, and Lord’s confessions stopped before they had really properly started.

She always said that embryonic conversation with him stayed with her and she always wondered what Lord was about to tell her.

After months of work, finishing that book left a big gap for both of us. Occasionally I’ll look at the collection of her letters I have.

A priceless memento of a memorable year working with her.