Adamson was born on 4th April 1929 in Ashington. He played for his local club
while working as a miner. He joined Burnley in 1946 and signed professional forms
in January 1947, but hisplaying career was interupted by National Service and he
served in the RAF. Burnley were well served by Reg Attwell and Adamson found it
hard to break into the first team but when Attwell was injured he made his
Burnley debut in February 1951 at the age of almost twenty-two. He finally
established himself as a regular in the strong Burnley side. He made four hundred
and twenty-six League appearances and scored seventeen goals for the Turf Moor
team, who were his only club. He Captained the side for many years and led them
to the Football League Championship in the 1959-60 season, to a losing 1962 FA
Cup Final and in Europe. He was elected Footballer of the Year in 1962 but his
sole representative honour was one England 'B' cap, in a 2-2 draw with Scotland
'B' at Easter Road on 11th March 1953, although he did also represent the Football
League once, at Bloomfield Road Blackpool on 12th October 1960 in a 5-2 win over
the Irish League. Adamson was a classy player, not blessed with great pace, but a
great reader of the game with a good touch and a top passer of the ball. He was
also a versatile player and dependent on who else was in the side could play
equally well at right-half or centre-half although he will always be remembered
by fans who saw him as a right-half in the number four shirt. He played his last
game for Burnley in February 1964. He was already recognised as a top coach and
was Walter Winterbottom's assistant in the 1962 World Cup in Chile and was
offered the England Manager's job before Alf Ramsey but turned it down. He
preferred to stay in the back room staff at Burnley and worked alongside Manager
Harry Potts for a number of years before succeeding him as Manager in February
1970. At the end of that 1969-70 season he announced that Burnley would be the
‘Team of the Seventies’ but they were promptly relegated after twenty-four years
at the top level. This made him unpopular with the Turf Moor fans but he survived
and two years later they were back and playing the best football seen at Burnley
since the Championship. They stormed to promotion with only four defeats all
season and in the following season came within a point of Europe and reached the
FA Cup Semi-Final. Their football was a joy to watch and the following season,
despite having to sell both Martin Dobson and Geoff Nulty, they did even better
and were in second place in March until a series of injuries cut short their
Championship bid. Always short of money Burnley sold their best players and were
relegated in 1976, but Bob Lord had already sacked Adamson before that became a
reality. After a short period out of work in May 1976, he was offered and
accepted the Manager’s position at Sparta Rotterdam although he later decided
against the move and never reached Holland. In November 1976 he was made Manager
of Sunderland, but was unable to prevent them from being relegated from the
First Division. He left Sunderland in November 1978, to take over at Leeds
United after Jock Stein had resigned. He built on a steady start already made
by Leeds and took them to fifth spot in his first season and a place in the
League Cup Semi-Finals where they narrowly fell to Southampton. It was a false
dawn as Adamson sold talented players such as leading goalscorer John Hawley,
Scottish InternationalFull-back Frank Gray and the charismatic and influential
England International playmaker Tony Currie. His own signings Alan Curtis for
£370,00 from Swansea, Brian Greenhoff for £360,000 from Manchester United,
Derek Parlane for £200,000 from Rangers and Alex Sabella for £400,000 from
Sheffield United, all failed to gel and after initial promise the Leeds fans
voted with their feet as the gates tumbled and crowd demonsatrations ensued.
Although Leeds had managed an eleventh spot in his first full season of 1979-80,
the fans felt they deserved better. Adamson tried to carry on but in September
1980 he bowed to the inevitable and resigned as Leeds only won one of their
first five League games and languishing in bottom spot as well as being knocked
out of the League Cup at the first hurdle by Aston Villa. After Leeds he
retired from the game and returned to live in Burnley with his wife May, but he
left the game altogether. Turf Moor remembered him and the Jimmy Adamson Suite
was opened in his honour. He died on 8th November 2011 at the age of eighty-two.
Tributes and Obituaries
Jimmy Adamson obituary: Captain, coach and manager of Burnley in the 1960s and 70s: Brian Glanville, Guardian: Wednesday 9 November 2011
In 1962, the footballer Jimmy Adamson, who has died at the age of 82, had his finest individual season as a player. He was voted English Footballer of the Year, captained Burnley to an FA Cup final they lost to Spurs, and was selected for the
England squad that Walter Winterbottom took to Chile for that summer's World Cup finals.
Adamson, who also acted as assistant coach, was not selected to play in the tournament – indeed, he never won a senior England cap – and was disgusted when a fellow player sat on his suitcase on arriving at the team's base and announced: "I'm
homesick already." It was a dismal portent for a team who never really clicked into gear, though they did reach the quarter-finals, losing 3-1 to Brazil, the competition's eventual winners.
That year, too, Adamson was offered the opportunity of succeeding Winterbottom, but turned the job down, feeling that he lacked experience. The position went instead to Alf Ramsey, who went on to make England winners of the 1966 World Cup.
Adamson played on for his beloved Burnley for two further seasons before retiring in 1964.
Though 1962 was a landmark year for Adamson, he will be best remembered as the ever-present captain of the Burnley team which won the League Championship in the 1959-60 season. This was a tremendous achievement for a small, unfashionable
club that lived on its wits, the generosity of its pork butcher chairman, Bob Lord, and the skill of its scouts and coaches.
Competing in the European Cup the following season, Burnley were not disgraced. They eliminated Reims, twice previously beaten finalists against the mighty Real Madrid, and looked set for the semi-finals after defeating Hamburg 3-1 in the first leg
at Turf Moor. But having reached the semi-finals of both the League and FA Cups, Burnley paid the penalty for their success, being obliged to play five matches in 14 days before the return leg in Hamburg. They went down, and out, 4-1 – to give an
aggregate of 5-4 – with Uwe Seeler, Hamburg and West Germany's prolific centre-forward, scoring twice.
Adamson was born in Ashington, the Northumberland colliery town that was famous for producing footballers, notably Jackie Milburn and the Charlton brothers, Jackie and Bobby. After a short time down the pit, Adamson went from East Chevington
Juniors to join the Burnley groundstaff, and signed his professional contract as a 17-year-old in 1947. It was not until February 1951 that he made his debut, apppearing 14 times as a right-half, the position where he spent most of his playing career.
Never a spectacular player, he was however a consummate wing-half, winning the ball with firm tackles, using it economically, competing strongly in the air. He seldom missed a game but seldom scored either, netting just 17 goals in 486 games over
As a Burnley player, Adamson's closest friend and companion was the gifted Northern Ireland inside-right, the ebullient Jimmy McIlroy. They complemented one another perfectly both on and off the field, Adamson's dry humour a foil for McIlroy's
After retiring, Adamson stayed on with Burnley as a successful coach under Harry Potts as manager. He polished and promoted raw talent, much of which had been scouted by the club in his native north-east. "We don't get the first-class players,"
Adamson would say, "we get the second-class players," but the quality of Burnley's coaching ensured that many of them became stars.
In 1970, he succeeded Potts as manager. The club were relegated at the end of his first full season in charge, but he got them promoted back to the top flight in 1973, and left three years later.
Perhaps he should have stayed. After only a month in charge of Sparta Rotterdam and two years at Sunderland, in 1978 he accepted the challenge to manage Leeds United, a kind of Sargasso Sea for the managers trying to follow in the giant
footsteps of Don Revie, who had built such a formidable team in the 1960s and early 70s.
At Leeds, Adamson seemed to lose his touch. Always at his best out on the training field, he was said to become increasingly and untypically remote, and he left, after considerable vocal encouragement from Leeds fans, in 1980.
Given his distinguished playing and coaching career, it was a surprise that Adamson spent the rest of his life in Burnley without any further involvement in the professional game. He was predeceased by his wife, May, and his daughters, Julie and Jayne.
He is survived by three granddaughters and two grandsons.
• James Adamson, footballer and manager, born 4 April 1929; died 8 November 2011
• This article was amended on 9 November 2011. The original said that Adamson helped run a son's newsagent's shop after his football career had ended. This has been corrected.
Jimmy Adamson, former Burnley captain and manager, dies aged 82
Jimmy Adamson: Footballer and manager who led Burnley to their greatest successes
• Defender made 486 appearances for Clarets in one-club career • Adamson captained side to 1959-60 league title.
The former Burnley captain and manager Jimmy Adamson has died at the age of 82, the Lancashire club have announced. Adamson made 486 appearances for the Clarets in a playing career spanning 17 years, placing him sixth on the club's
all-time list. He will be best remembered as the ever-present captain in Burnley's 1960 league championship-winning team. "Burnley football club is sad to confirm the passing of a true club legend in Jimmy Adamson," said a statement on
www.burnleyfootballclub.com. "Ashington-born Adamson gave three decades of magnificent service to the Clarets."
Recruited from youth football in Northumberland, Adamson joined Burnley's groundstaff before signing a first professional contract with the Clarets in 1947, aged 17. However, he did not make his senior debut until 1951.
Despite finishing on the losing side in the 1962 FA Cup Final, Adamson was named footballer of the year and, at the age of 33, was included in England's World Cup squad for the tournament in Chile that summer.
Although he never won a senior international cap, Adamson acted as Walter Winterbottom's assistant during the competition and was offered the role of England manager, only to turn it down because he felt he lacked experience, leaving Alf Ramsey
to take the reigns of the national team.
Following his retirement in 1964, Adamson managed Burnley to promotion from the Second Division in 1973 and Leeds to qualification for the 1979-80 Uefa Cup, while he also enjoyed a spell in charge of Sunderland.
Ivan Ponting: Thursday 10 November 2011
It is a question which can never be answered, but it is a compelling one in any examination of Jimmy Adamson's life and work. Would England have won the World Cup in 1966 if the unobtrusive but authoritative North-easterner had accepted the
invitation to become manager of the national team? After he rejected the opportunity, the job of replacing Walter Winterbottom went to Alf Ramsey instead, and the result was the most glorious triumph in the history of the English game.
Footballer of the Year in 1962, Adamson was respected for his inspired long-term captaincy of Burnley and was establishing a reputation as an enterprising coach. But he had no experience of management, and it was debatable whether he
possessed the ruthless drive and determination of Ramsey, who had lifted humble Ipswich Town from the old Third Division South to become unlikely League champions.
Still fit and ambitious as a 33-year-old who had just missed leading the Clarets to the League and FA Cup double, Adamson was not ready to lay aside his boots. In addition, he pondered the wisdom of cutting his managerial teeth on such an onerous
post – and he might not have been impressed by the cavalier manner in which his predecessor had been treated by interfering FA officials and committee members.
Having travelled to the 1962 World Cup finals in Chile as coach and assistant to Winterbottom – he was expected to play, too, though that didn't happen and he retired without a cap – he had seen the media pressure faced by the manager. The job
was hardly given added lustre by handsome material rewards, Winterbottom having been paid around £40 per week.
Hailing from Ashington in Northumberland, the same pit village as Bobby and Jackie Charlton, Adamson was the sixth son of a miner and toiled below ground as a teenager. Spotted by a Burnley scout in a kickabout, Adamson enlisted in October 1946
and turned professional three months later. Tall and composed, he had been a school centre-half, but soon the Burnley coaches converted him into an inside-forward.
But it was not until a second positional switch, to wing-half, following his return from National Service in the RAF, that he began to realise his potential, making his First Division debut in 1951. Though he was unassuming, there was an unyielding
strength and lively intelligence about Adamson which marked him out as a natural leader, and soon he was captaining the Clarets, who were moulded into a solidly efficient side by manager Allan Brown.
Adamson returned to centre-half, and also featured at left-half before reverting to right-half towards the end of the memorable 1959-60 campaign when small-town Burnley were battling for the League title with champions Wolverhampton, and
Now managed by Harry Potts, the Clarets had developed into a terrific side, industrious and well-drilled and dusted with flair, notably in the shape of the Irish playmaker Jimmy McIlroy, England winger John Connelly and the cultured Adamson.
Unfashionable Burnley lifted the crown by a single point on the final day thanks to a stout rearguard action which secured victory at Manchester City.
It was a phenomenal achievement, and few played a more integral part than the captain. Operating as a deep-lying midfield anchorman, he was adept at reading the game, winning the ball and using it perceptively. Though he was not a shouter of the
odds he was an effective motivator and a shrewd tactician. In 1960-61 he led Burnley proudly into the European Cup, where they beat Reims of France before bowing outto Hamburg. In 1961-62 they went close to winning the double, finishing as First
Division runners-up to Ipswich Town and losing to Spurs at Wembley.
After making his decision not to take charge of England, Adamson played for two more seasons before becoming club coach in 1964 and manager in 1970. He talked enthusiastically about Burnley becoming "the team of the '70s" with such gifted
young performers as Dave Thomas and Leighton James, but they were relegated. The board retained faith in him and were repaid with the Second Division title in 1972-73, and sixth place in the top flight in 1973-74.
Sadly, the cash constraints which haunt most clubs of Burnley's size dictated the sale of their star player Martin Dobson and other promising rookies, and Adamson departed, disillusioned, in January 1976. There followed a fleeting spell in charge of
Sparta Rotterdam before he replaced Bobby Stokoe as manager of a lacklustre Sunderland team in November 1976. He could not prevent relegation but began a reconstruction programme which resulted in a decent sixth-place Second-Division
showing in 1977-78.
Next, to the surprise of some, he was handed the reins of mighty Leeds United, seeking a steady hand following the rapid arrival and departure of Jock Stein. Adamson led his new charges into Europe but then came a limp Uefa Cup exit in 1979-80.
Fans were disgruntled at the sale of favourites such as Tony Currie and Frank Gray, and the team became ordinary. Attendances dropped, and in October 1980 he bowed to popular demand by resigning. Though still only 51, Jimmy Adamson never
returned to the professional game. It was an exit as poignant as it was premature.
James Adamson, footballer and manager: born Ashington, Northumberland 4 April 1929; married May (deceased; two daughters, deceased); died 8 November 2011.
Jimmy Adamson: 1929-2011: Posted on: Mon 28 Nov 2011:
Burnley Football Club is sad to confirm the passing of a true club legend in Jimmy Adamson. Adamson, a former manager and captain of the club at the peak of its powers, has died at the age of 82.
Ashington-born Adamson gave three decades of magnificent service to the Clarets and is honoured at Turf Moor by a suite bearing his name, which was opened earlier this year.
Recruited from East Chevington Juniors in Northumberland, Adamson joined Burnley's groundstaff before signing his first professional contract with the Clarets at the age of 17 in January, 1947.
After playing in the junior and reserve teams, he made his first-team debut as a 21-year-old in February, 1951.
From then on, Adamson became a fixture at right-half, and occasionally centre-half, in the Burnley team which was being moulded by Alan Brown and then Harry Potts to become the best in England.
Adamson was an ever-present and captain of the team that reached its pinnacle as League Champions in 1960 and then two years later finished as runners up and losers in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
One of the greats
Personal consolation came in the shape of his selection as the 1961/62 Footballer of the Year and, at the age of 33, Adamson was included in England's squad for the 1962 World Cup in Chile alongside Burnley team-mate John Connelly.
Although he didn't win an England cap, Adamson acted as assistant manager to Walter Winterbottom for that tournament and after the resignation of Winterbottom, was offered the position of England manager.
Adamson felt he lacked the experience to fill the role, with Alf Ramsey taking the job instead, and the Burnley man played on at Turf Moor until his final game in February, 1964 - his 486 appearances ranking him sixth in Burnley's all-time list of
After hanging up his boots and ending the chapter of his career as one of Burnley's finest ever players, Adamson joined the Turf Moor coaching staff and in 1970 completed the succession when he replaced Potts as manager.
He was to spend six years in charge and after suffering an early relegation, his 'Team of the Seventies' returned to the top flight in 1973 as Second Division champions.
In early 1976, Adamson left Burnley and had spells as manager of Sunderland and Leeds United, guiding the Yorkshire club to a place in the Uefa Cup in 1979.
Adamson settled back in Burnley in retirement and after a spell away from Turf Moor, made an emotional return to the club in January when the Jimmy Adamson Suite was opened in his honour.
Adamson leaves five grandchildren Jennie, Katie, Sarah, James and Sam.
Jimmy Adamson: an Obituary by Andrew Greaves: 9th November 2011
Andrew Greaves of the Lancashire Telegraph and the newest member of the BFPA, has written a wonderful article on Jimmy Adamson who sadly passed away yesterday morning.
The word legend is too often bandied about these days.
But, at around 10am this morning (8th November 2011), Burnley Football Club lost one of its bona fide legends. Former captain and manager Jimmy Adamson, the last Burnley skipper to lift the Football League Championship, died at the age of 82.
Born in Northumberland, Jimmy was discovered playing in his native Ashington and joined Burnley 's groundstaff before signing a first professional contract with the Clarets in 1947, aged 17. However, he did not make his senior debut until 1951.
Establishing himself in the team after an appearance against Bolton Wanderers in February of that year, Adamson made himself a mainstay of the Burnley line-up for the next decade and more. An elegant player who was comfortable anyway across
the backline, Adamson was the kind of player younger fans can only dream of seeing these days. He was an ever-present as Burnley won the 1959-60 Football League Championship and captained the side to the 1962 FA Cup final which they lost
against Tottenham Hotspur. Despite being cup runner up in 1962, he was named Footballer of the Year, pipping his Burnley teammate Jimmy McIlroy. In a one-club career spanning 17 years, Jimmy went on to play 486 games for Burnley and is often
hailed as the greatest player never to play for England. Following his retirement in 1964, he joined the coaching staff at Turf Moor and succeeded the great Harry Potts in 1970. He had previously coached the England team at the 1962 World Cup in
Chile and was the Football Association's preferred choice of manager ahead of Alf Ramsey but declined the offer, thinking he was too inexperienced. His self-proclaimed "Team of the Seventies" didn’t quite live up to their billing and were relegated to
the Second Division in his first full season. Jimmy led the Clarets to promotion in 1973, winning the Second Division title before a run to the FA Cup semi-finals and to win a point of a European place. He left Turf Moor in 1976 and went onto to have an
ill-fated spell in Holland with Sparta Rotterdam before stints at Sunderland and Leeds United, who he lead into the UEFA Cup. Jimmy retired in October 1980 and moved back to Burnley. He returned to Turf Moor for the first time in many years in
January as the club opened the Jimmy Adamson Suite in the Jimmy McIlroy Stand. Joined by his family, Jimmy was treated to one of the most heartfelt and emotional rounds of applause as he stepped out into the stand. Those old enough to have seen
the great man play will cherish those memories for ever. Those too young to have done will live with the regret for just as long.
Burnley Former Players Association
Former manager of Leeds United Jimmy Adamson dies at 82: Rob Preece: Wednesday 09 November 2011
A former Leeds United manager, who turned down the England job because he felt he lacked experience, has died aged 82.
Jimmy Adamson was offered the chance to take charge of the nation’s football team after Walter Winterbottom resigned following England’s elimination from the 1962 World Cup. But he was still a player then and rejected the offer, allowing Sir Alf
Ramsey to take the country to glory when England hosted the competition four years later. Adamson made 486 appearances for Burnley and captained the club in every game of its League Championship-winning season in 1959-60. In 1962 he was
named Footballer of the Year and played in the FA Cup final, which Burnley lost 3-1 to Tottenham Hotspur. The Lancashire club, nicknamed the Clarets, paid tribute to Adamson on its website, saying: “Adamson, a former manager and captain of the
club at the peak of its powers, has died at the age of 82.
“Ashington-born Adamson gave three decades of magnificent service to the Clarets.”
Recruited from youth football in Northumberland, Adamson joined Burnley’s ground staff before signing a first professional contract with the Clarets in 1947, aged 17. He made his senior debut in 1951. Although he never won an international cap,
Adamson was included in the 1962 World Cup squad. He retired as a player in 1964, but went on to manage Burnley. He was in charge of Leeds from October 1978 until October 1980 and also managed Sunderland. During his time at Leeds, the
club won 31 matches and qualified for the UEFA Cup in 1979.
Burnley fans pay final respects to Jimmy Adamson
By Tyrone Marshall, Lancashire Telegraph:15th November 2011
A galaxy of great names from Burnley's past turned out to say farewell to legendary Clarets skipper Jimmy Adamson this afternoon. Jimmy McIlroy, Leighton James and Martin Dobson were just three of the stars who gathered at Burnley
Crematorium. But it’s a sign of the esteem in which Jimmy was held that all-time great Sir Bobby Charlton and Leeds United legend Eddie Gray also wanted to make the journey for someone who was respected across the football world. Earlier,
rapturous applause broke out from lines of supporters along Harry Potts Way as the funeral cortege set off. Around 200 fans, many wearing their claret and blue scarves, bowed their heads in respect as the man who captained Burnley to the league
title. As well as fans, young and old, club officials, including chairman Barry Kilby, came onto the pavement to say goodbye to the only Claret to ever win the Footballer of the Year award. Jimmy, who played 486 games for Burnley and spent 29 years at
the club between 1947 and 1976, died last Tuesday at the age of 82. The service was a private affair, attended by friends and family, including his five grandchildren, Jenny, Katie, Sarah, James and Sam. His former players including current chief
executive Paul Fletcher, Stan Ternent, Colin Waldron, Peter Noble and Leeds United’s Eddie Gray also attended the service. In total around 70 people attended the service, which lasted around an hour. The first hymn sung was Jerusalem, before the
Rev Roger Parker, of St Catherine’s Church, led the tributes to Jimmy. He said: “We come here today to say thank you to almighty God for someone who was literally a legend in their own lifetime. “We also come to say thank you to God for someone
who was a private man and a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. “Jimmy was somebody who enriched countless lives.” Martin Dobson and Paul Fletcher then paid tribute to their former manager. Mr Dobson, who was appointed captain
when Jimmy took over as manager in 1970, said: “Jimmy was one of Burnley’s greatest ever servants, he instilled in us what it meant to play for Burnley. “It is a pity I can’t thank him one more time for everything he did for me, but I am sure he is already
organising a five-a-side game up there.” Mr Fletcher, who was Jimmy’s record signing when he arrived from Bolton in 1971, said: “I visited Jimmy on Christmas Eve in 1976 and have visited him every Christmas Eve for the past 35 years and we would
talk about the same things every year. “Over the years he became quite bitter about Burnley, he didn’t seem to realise the supporters held him in such high esteem. “I am forever grateful to Jimmy, he was a wonderful manager and a wonderful man, and
I hope his grandchildren realise what a significant part he played in the history of this town. “For me he is in the top five people who have made a difference to this town.” Fans echoed the feelings of the former Clarets greats by calling Jimmy a 'true
legend'. Phil Gibson, 29, said: “I wanted to come to pay my last respects to a true legend. I never saw him play but you hear stories about how great he was and what a great man he was.” Tony Dickinson, 61, said: “It is a shame it took him so long to
get back to the club after he left, but he realised that day how much he was loved here.” John Withington, who painted his face and head in the Claret colours with the text 1929-2011 in honour of Jimmy, said: “Everybody at Burnley loves him, he was a
magnificent servant to the club. He will never be forgotten.” Roy Holtom, 65, said: “He was the most wonderful footballer that this club has ever known. “You can’t overestimate the influence he had on Burnley. "The term legend is bandied aboud too often
these days, but Jimmy Adamson is definitely a Burnley legend. “He was a magnificent man and it is a privilege to be able to pay respects to somebody who did so much for this club.” Sheila Rogers, 67, said: “He was the best centre-back we have
ever had and one of the best players we have ever had. “Not only that but he was also a gentleman.” Gordon Rogers, 69, said: “He was a great servant and a great ambassador for Burnley, that is why is so many people turned up to say one final
goodbye. “It was a shame he never really came back for so many years. I don’t think he ever wanted to leave Burnley, his heart was here.” As mourners left the crematorium the Geordie folk song Blaydon Races played out, considered the unofficial
anthem of Jimmy’s beloved Tyneside and an iconic football chant. A fitting way to say goodbye to a man who will never be forgotten at Turf Moor.