'Have Boots Will Travel` by Colin Waldron
Al the Prof after rummaging around in his attic came across one of those old seventies football albums with an interesting article in there by Colin Waldron. We thought the 50 somethings might be interested in this nostalgic article from one of our stalwart centre halves of the 1970s.
About Colin Waldron-by TMP
Colin Waldron was a legend for the Clarets and surely one of the best centre halves to have put on the Claret & Blue shirt, certainly in my lifetime.
Although born in Bristol he was an adopted Lancastrian and spoke with the accent having spent most of his informative years in Oldham not to mention starting his football apprenticeship with Bury before moving down to the capital to play for Chelsea.
In October 1967, Burnley paid Chelsea a record fee of £30,000 to bring the 19-year old defender back up north to Turf Moor. In those days we were in the top flight, a different world to today and rather amusing to now contemplate what chance there would be now of signing a player from Chelsea today for a record fee!! Drogba anybody?
This was certainly going to be an astute signing by manager Harry Potts though. In his debut away to Southampton on the 28th October 1967 Waldron played at right back, was then tried at left back before finally settling down and becoming our regular centre half.
He impressed so much that by the time of the 1968/9 season, he was captain of the side. Injury though kept him out of the side for a time and he lost the captaincy, becoming the forgotten man of Burnley FC until Jimmy Adamson replaced Harry Potts as manager. In 1970/71 though the 'Team of the Seventies` were relegated to the second division for the first time since 1947 but it was Colin Waldron who would be instrumental in securing promotion back to the top flight as Champions two seasons later.
On the last day of the 1972/73 season we needed a point against Preston at Deepdale to be promoted as Champions. Waldron thumped in a shot to score just after the start of the second half to secure the point in a game that finished 1-1.
Our next game would be at Maine Road in the Charity Shield against Manchester City and Colin was once again the hero scoring a memorable goal in a 1-0 victory that secured yet another trophy.
Waldron had built up a great understanding with Jim Thomson in the centre of defence and that was to continue in our first season back in the top flight. This was a remarkable season in which we promised so much and came away with nothing but pride.
We were to finish 6th in the League, just one point away from a place in Europe and we also reached the FA Cup Semi-Final losing 2-0 to Newcastle at Hillsborough. The same team also beat us in the Texaco Cup Final.
In the 1974/5 season, Waldron regained the captaincy after Martin Dobson was transferred to Everton and for a long time before injuries wrecked our chances, it looked like we might be in with a chance of the League title. We reached 2nd place before falling away in the second half of the season to finish in 10th spot.
The next season was to be a disaster, this was to be Waldron`s last season too for the Clarets. The club had sacked Jimmy Adamson and no player had played more for the gaffer than Colin Waldron. We were relegated and have not returned to the top flight since. It was clear Waldron had to go because of his support for the sacked manager (Thanks Bob!) and so he was released at the end of the season signing for Manchester United joining his former Chelsea manager, Tommy Docherty.
He was to be re-united with Jimmy Adamson though when our former gaffer now at Roker Park signed him for Sunderland.
Waldron was to finish his playing days in the US although did return briefly to play for Rochdale.
We will now let Al take up the story...
Hello, I`m Alan and I am probably best known for running various Clarets websites, starting with 'The Unofficial Burnley FC Website` followed by 'Turfmoor.co.uk` then taking the reins at the 'Official Burnley FC website and setting up Clarets Mad, and finally Uptheclarets.com…
I managed to set up some very funny fancy dress events along the way, the best was probably Derby away dressed as Santa`s in the FA Cup, also did Arabs to Coventry and Vikings to Wrexham.
I don`t run any websites now, but wish to contribute items of interest to 'Vital Burnley` for your enjoyment. I hope you enjoy my input.
I`m single, live in Preston and have three children living in Burnley with their mum and continue to support my team, which will be for now and ever Burnley FC…
About the Article
I first came across this article after buying one of those old Football Albums of the 1970s in a Car Boot sale. It gives an interesting insight into one of our best loved Clarets players of the 1970s and in his own words and will certainly be of interest to Clarets fans of that era.
I first used the article on my old website, Uptheclarets.com, a site which is now no longer available. The book I forgot about and stuck up the attic. Rummaging up there the other day, I came across the book again and thought the article by Colin Waldron would be of interest to a new audience so here it is in full. Enjoy!
'Have Boots will Travel' by Colin Waldron
'Although I was born in Bristol, I moved to Oldham when I was just one year old. So it was pretty natural for me to go to a Lancashire club, to Bury when I signed as a youngster for my first club.
I was a typical football schoolboy, not interested in what the teacher was saying, though I did go to a grammar school, but all I was interested in was playing football.
One of my proudest moments was when my team reached the quarter final of the Lancashire Cup, a very important competition for youngsters in the area. We also won the Oldham Athletic Cup, another great day to remember.
I played centre forward in those days. I got my first break when I had a trial with Bury in the days when Bob Stokoe was manager. I was only sixteen and soon I was signing apprentice forms and playing in their youth team. Shortly after my seventeenth birthday, I got into the reserves and it was here I suffered my first terrible loss of confidence. This team played in the Central League, which is a pretty tough league, in which many experienced older pro`s still played, and played hard. So naturally I found myself taking a lot of stick.
Then came the first big blow of my career. I had been having trouble with my knee for a couple of months, and eventually the trouble was diagnosed and I went into hospital, I wondered if I would ever play again. However, I got back and my first game was as centre half, just to fill in a gap as the reserve centre forward half hadn`t turned up. I didn`t like playing in this position. I wanted to be a forward and up front scoring goals. But I was persuaded partly by the chairman and by Bert Head, who had taken over as manager, to stay in this position in the 'A` team and when the reserve centre half was sold a few weeks later, I took over his position and even had a couple of trips away with the first team as twelfth man. I also went away on holiday to Majorca with the first team that year and that`s one of my happiest memories, too.
Shortly after my nineteenth birthday, at the start of the 1966/67 season, Les Shannon took over as manager when Bert Head moved to Crystal Palace. For about the first twelve games I was back in the reserves again. I made my league debut at Blackburn, but more important still was the home match the following Friday against Bolton, marking no less a player than Wyn Davies, in front of 21,000. My performance kept me in the first team for the next twenty or so games, but Bury were in grave danger of relegation and just before the end of the season I had yet another change of manager when Les Shannon left. I remember we had two vital games, against Wolves (away) and Ipswich Town (home). We lost them both! Naturally, the lads were dejected and I shared their disappointment, even though I had only been substitute. The second game had been on a Friday night, and the directors insisted that all the players in for training the next day. As I had not actually played the night before, I didn`t think this instruction included me so I did not turn up. Imagine my surprise then when on the Monday morning I got a telegram saying I was suspended for fourteen days.
My reaction was to slap in a request for a transfer. I was in a very troubled state of mind as I went off on holiday to Spain for six weeks to try and sort myself out. But they say time is a great healer, so everyone kept telling me, and when I got back towards the end of June I felt a bit better.
There was a nice surprise waiting for me, too. I heard Liverpool were interested in me and soon I was meeting the great Bill Shankly.
I believe in thinking things over and after seeing Mr Shankly in the morning, I said I want to sleep on it but he came round not once, but twice again to see me that evening to try and persuade me to make a decision.
Next morning I was whisked over to Manchester Airport to meet Tommy Docherty of Chelsea. I took to the 'Doc` immediately, I suppose because for the first time I wasn`t frightened to death. He offered me his terms, first team football, as against the reserves with Liverpool. So, after careful thought again, I signed for Chelsea. Naturally, Bill Shankly wasn`t pleased when I told him, but I did write to him later, thanking him that a person of such importance in football should have taken an interest in me. I meant it, too.
I then had two weeks` holiday left before I had to report to Chelsea for pre-season training. I had heard such terrible tales about the Doc`s training methods that I spent those fourteen days getting myself really fit before travelling to London.
I got myself some nice digs in Barnes, just south of the River Thames, but I confess I was a bit homesick. The Doc, of course, threw me in at the deep end, and I quickly found myself playing alongside players like Osgood and Tambling, who had been just faces I saw on the television screen. Every time I opened the programme and found my name printed on the centre page, I could hardly believe it was really me.
Feeling a bit homesick and very inexperienced, I suffered my second crisis of confidence. Although I knew the Doc believed in me, I found myself losing form and I got a lot of 'stick` from the Chelsea crowd. So I was dropped. Being dropped by Tommy Docherty is unlike being dropped by any other manager.
He asked me if I wanted to see him and in his office afterwards he built up my confidence so much, insisting that I would play for England at least in two years, that I thoroughly enjoyed my next two games sitting on the bench!
My play started to improve and just as I was about to make my come back, the Doc got the sack from Chelsea and Ron Stuart took over temporarily in his place.
I had the feeling Ron never wanted to sign me in the first place and I was dropped again from the first team. This upset me and started me thinking I`d like to get right away from the club and make a fresh start somewhere else. Then, after our game against Leicester Reserves, I was told Harry Potts and Jimmy Adamson were interested in me. I couldn`t understand this, as I had been playing badly, but cautious as always after meeting them, I asked for Sunday to think things over. On Monday, I still could not make up my mind and I was allowed to go home to Oldham, with the promise I would let them know on Tuesday.
It`s funny, but it seems to pay to hesitate, because on Monday afternoon, I heard another club were interested in me. This time it was Birmingham City and although they were a Second Division club at the time, I was still interested in what they had to say. However in the end, I settled for Burnley.
It took me about four days flat to settle down, whereas it had taken me weeks at Chelsea. A lot of this was due to the great bunch of lads at the club. They`re a young crowd and a lot of Mickey-taking goes on in the dressing room, and I quickly found myself enjoying life once again. And, of course, I was only a few miles from my home in Oldham.
Home has always been important to me. Football parents are funny, they do not understand the intricacies of professional football, but they love the game and they are very proud of me. And I will always listen to what they have to say. I have got a young brother Alan, eighteen, who is an apprentice at Bolton Wanderers, so we are a real football family.
Here at Burnley I think at last I have found my feet. People said to me before I came here that Burnley is not what you might call a spectacular club and sometimes we don`t get huge gates. But Burnley is a town of only 80,000 people and it`s a mystery they can support a First Division club.
All the money I make from football is going into a new venture with my old friend Colin Bell. We were at Bury together. Colin and I have opened a new restaurant and coffee lounge at Whitefield, between Bury and Manchester. We are both pretty well known in the area, so we hope to draw the customers.
Then we hope to keep them with the quality of the food and service! I got permission from the club before I started. Naturally they were a bit worried, but wished me all the best.
I have been well advised by a friend in Manchester and I think it`s sensible for a young player to invest his money in a sound venture. So we are forging ahead"