The harrowing story of a great sporting legend who ended his days in a mental institution should be compulsory reading for today's millionaire footballers / Dave Thomas column

Dare I say it?  Christmas is approaching.

By Dave Thomas
Monday, 29th November 2021, 12:30 pm
Author and football expert and Clarets fan Dave Thomas has come up with a comprehensive list of books that would make a great Christmas present
Author and football expert and Clarets fan Dave Thomas has come up with a comprehensive list of books that would make a great Christmas present

Any of these would be a great present for the Burnley person in your life.

Supposing you wanted to start or add to a collection that covers all the Burnley years, here’s what you could go for. And for information about the availability and where to get ANY Burnley books feel free to email Dave Thomas at [email protected] or on twitter follow @Rodleydave

Mike Smith 1914 FA Cup ‘The Road to Glory.’ This is a book of long ago, and Mike is the expert at dogged and time-consuming research into this distant era. This is Burnley, town and club over 100 years ago and makes fascinating reading.

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Mike Smith, ‘Tommy Boyle Broken Hero’: a harrowing story of a sporting legend who died in a mental institution.

From glory to personal problems in an unforgiving age set in a bleak and poverty- filled Burnley. This (and the Roger Eli book) should be compulsory reading for today’s millionaire footballers.

Harry Potts (Margaret Potts and Dave Thomas): written in two voices, Margaret’s personal stories supplemented by the narrative provided by the main author: immensely detailed, thanks to Margaret’s phenomenal memory from her early years, marriage to Harry, and his good and bad years with Bob Lord and Jimmy Adamson.

Tim Quelch: You’ve Never Had It So Good, a very detailed and immensely readable story of the

wonderful 1959/60 title win.

Jimmy McIlroy, Prince of Inside Forwards (with Dave Thomas), large format sumptuously illustrated story of Jimmy McIlroy, from his boyhood to his own 1960 book and then takes us up to the award of Freeman of the Borough.

Jimmy Adamson, The Man Who Said No to England (Dave Thomas): from his early tough, pit days in Ashington, through the Burnley years, turning down the England job, Sunderland and finally his difficult time at Leeds United.

The story of one of Burnley’s greatest ever players, but an enigmatic man who suffered harrowing personal tragedies.

Stan ‘The Man’ Ternent with Tony Livesey: Stan had taken Burnley to promotion into the Championship. This book appeared a couple of years later and flew off the shelves. A book filled with entertaining, laugh-out-loud, outrageous, brutally honest stories that I defy anyone not to read in one sitting.

Brian Jensen ‘Beast’: I love the way it’s written. The fly-on-the-wall approach by the two Danish authors is refreshing and provides immediacy and frankness. There’s a brief insight into the effects of Owen Coyle’s departure. Blink and you could miss it but a real eye-opener if you find it.

Who Says Football Doesn’t Do Fairy Tales? (Dave Thomas): None of us will forget the marvellous 2013/14 and promotion. This book is a celebration of that with several in-depth features on Sean Dyche and his leadership.

No Nay Never Volume Two: Dave Thomas scoured other books for Burnley features and put them all together in this substantial anthology to provide in-depth chapters on different events and people in BFC history. They are a sort of who’s who of the best of Burnley writing from top sports authors to top journalists that give insights into, and knowledge of, Burnley’s rich past from Bob Lord to the Orient game; from the John Bond season to Jimmy Hogan.

Bob Lord of Burnley. (Dave Thomas and Mike Smith) The biography of football’s most controversial chairman. Blunt, opiniated, pugnacious and intolerant, how he built the club and then nearly destroyed it.

Not Such a Bad Life: Burnley, Gazza, Wrighty, Waddle and Me. Paul Weller and Dave Thomas. A story of mind over matter as a courageous player battled against and overcame Colitis and Crohns disease. How a player overcame all the obstacles that this illness placed in his way.

Champions How Burnley Won Promotion in 2015/16, Dave Thomas. The story of a wonderful season laced with anecdotes of past history and players, of travels to away games, of Sean Dyche’s management and the run of 23 unbeaten games.

Thanks For the Memories, Roger Eli and Dave Thomas. Roger Eli tells his story, a story of injuries and

what might have been, but featuring the season that made him a cult hero and legend.