Sunday, May 2, 2010

2 May 1960 - The Clarets Claim The Crown

On 2 May 1960, Burnley defeated Manchester City, 1-2, at Maine Road on the last day of the season. The win vaulted the Clarets from third place to first, securing their second League title.

Burnley has a storied history in English football. The club started initially as a rugby club before switching to association football in 1882, then became one of the founding Football League members in 1888. They spent the next two decades moving between the top two divisions, then settled comfortably into the top flight for a period starting in 1913. They claimed their first major honor in 1915, winning the FA Cup, and finished fourth in the table before World War I stopped League play.

When play resumed in 1919, Burnley picked up where they had left off, finishing second that season. The next season, they won their first League title thanks to a record-setting run of 30 unbeaten matches. Despite a third place finish in 1921-22, the Clarets started a steady decline that resulted in their relegation in 1930. They returned to the First Division in 1947, finishing third that season behind Arsenal and Manchester United, then strung together a series of mid-table finishes, including a couple of years where they finished sixth, before their title-winning 1959-60 campaign.

That year, they consistently challenged for the title, but spent most of the season behind Wolverhampton and Tottenham, which is where they were on the final day. Wolves were in first on 54 points, with Spurs and Burnley both one point behind (Spurs were in second thanks to a better goal average), but Burnley still had a game in hand. By beating City on the final day, Burnley jumped the teams in front of them to steal the title.

Burnley remained in the top flight until 1971 and has since moved among the top three divisions. They are currently playing in the top flight once more, having earned promotion to the Premier League in 2009, but have struggled this season and are sitting in the relegation zone once again.

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