The Sound of Football: Burnley (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Burnley

Nickname: The Clarets

Ground: Turf Moor

Stadium Capacity: 21,940

Song: Tom Hark

Being a Burnley fan is special because the best-supported side in England isn’t Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea; it’s Burnley. Burnley holds the record for the highest attendance ratio of people attending a match mapped against the town population. This is either a remarkable show of dedication or a clear lack of adequate public transport at the weekend.

Burnley was one of the 12 founder members of the Football League and is one of only three English league clubs to have been champions of all four professional league divisions, along with Wolves and Preston. More infamously, Burnley’s the reason why clubs who finish bottom of the league are relegated automatically.

In 1897 clubs took part in playoff games to decide who was promoted from the second to the first division. By the time it got to the last match of the series, both Burnley and Stoke City needed a draw to ensure they would both be promoted.

Perhaps not surprisingly, both clubs were due to play each other in the last game of the season. You will also not be surprised to hear that the match ended 0 – 0 and became known as ‘The Match Without A Shot At Goal’. Both teams were promoted, and the Football League immediately withdrew the Test Match series in favour of automatic promotion and relegation.

While the Royal Family usually keeps their sporting affiliations to themselves (however, see Arsenal and Aston Villa for the Royals suspected affiliations); one family member has admitted publicly that he’s a Burnley fan. Prince Charles declared his love of the town and club at a ceremony for the British Asian Trust:

A consortium of my charities, including the British Asian Trust, has been working in Burnley. Hence, some of you asked this evening whether I support a British football club and I said ‘yes – Burnley’. And people have responded ‘Burnley? Oh yes, because Burnley has been through some very challenging times and I’m trying to find ways of helping to regenerate and raise aspirations and self-esteem in that part of the world.”

It’s only fitting that Prince Charles supports Burnley: every time Burnley scores, you’ll hear ‘Tom Hark’ by Elias and His Zig Zag Jive Flutes. The song was partly based on a 1927 melody which sang about dancing with a girl who had danced with the Prince of Wales. And the current Prince of Wales is… Prince Charles.

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