Blast from the Past- FA Youth Cup Final 1968
In the light of the superb success of our Youth Team in the FA Youth Cup this season it is fitting we now recall the FA Youth Cup Final 1968 when we last won the competition.
Clarets fans will now all surely be aware that the Burnley youth team superbly led by Terry Pashley have reached the FA Youth Cup Final this season and now face a juicy two leg clash against local rivals, Blackburn Rovers. The first leg will be played at Ewood Park on Thursday, March 22nd (kick-off 7pm) before the two teams meet again for the second leg at Turf Moor six days later on Wednesday, March 28th (kick-off 7pm).
Vital Burnley recently reviewed our progress in the FA Youth Cup and you can read this article by clicking this link: That Was The Young Guns Week That Was...
Needless to say our 3-1 victory against Fulham at Craven Cottage in the quarter final booked our place in the semis for the first time since 1968! Yes, 1968 and of course that year we went on to win the competition after beating Coventry City over two legs. The 1960`s of course was Burnley`s era and they had a renowned youth development policy with many youngsters making the grade and playing for the first team. It is perhaps somewhat surprising therefore that it took eight years of that decade before the youth team actually had some success of their own and won the FA Youth Cup! The first team by then were also looking a little jaded after their early successes in that decade. The 1959-60 First Division Champions and 1961-62 runners up, not to mention 1962 FA Cup Finalists were by 1968 on a steady decline and that season they finished a disappointing 14th with the dreaded 'R` word being mentioned for the first time in many a season. Thankfully relegation would be staved off for a few season`s yet but at least 1968 also offered something else for Clarets fans to cheer about at the end of a long, frustrating season.
The Burnley youth team had been making great strides in the FA Youth Cup. After a first round bye, they thumped highly-regarded Yorkshire Amateurs 7-0 to ensure a third round tie against Manchester City youth at Maine Road. Steve Kindon(pictured above)would make his youth cup debut in that game and we all know what success he would have at the club in the following years. He certainly impressed in the youth clash too scoring a brace against City and giving the opportunity for the local paper, the Burnley Express to write:
'As for his speed, there is only one word for it...phenomenal! He bounds along with huge powerful strides, eating up ground like a kangaroo, at an astonishing rate.
From that moment on, the former rugby player would henceforth be known as 'Skippy` and the rest they say is history!
Having got the better of City it was time to beat their Manchester rivals, United in the next round. The game at Old Trafford was goalless but we beat the Red Devils 2-1 at Turf Moor in the replay to set-up a quarter-final clash against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Another victory followed and now we were in the semi-finals and drawn against Everton over two legs. We came away from Goodison Park with a goalless draw and having done most of the hard work then defeated the Toffees 3-2 at Turf Moor to reach the final.
The final too against Coventry City would be a two leg affair with the first leg played at Highfield Road. Burnley lost for the first time in the competition going down 2-1 to the Sky Blues. They would now have to attain their dream by beating Coventry on home soil and try to win on aggregate.
The youth team that day coached by future first team manager, Joe Brown lined- up as follows:
Gerry McEvoy, Peter Jones, Mick Docherty, Wilf Wrigley, Eddie Cliff, Eric Probert, Alan West, David Hartley, Willie Brown, Dave Thomas, Steve Kindon
Sub. George Coppock
You only have to look at the team to note the stars of the future that would make their mark for the club at first team level. Some like Mick Docherty who captained the youth team, Dave Thomas and of course Steve Kindon would become legends at the club. Alan West, Eddie Cliff and the late Eric Probert would also feature strongly in future Burnley first teams.
It would be the lesser known, David Hartley though who woud be the hero at Turf Moor that Friday night against the Sky Blues. He was actually injured for the first leg but scored a brace in the second leg on a very muddy Turf Moor to secure a 2-0 victory for the Clarets and therefore a 3-2 aggregate win. Burnley would therefore lift the FA Youth Cup trophy for the first time in their history but they have not achieved the feat since, not even reaching the final. The closest they came was during the 1970s when they lost twice in the semi-finals to first Cardiff in the 1970-71 season and then Aston Villa in 1977-78.
So now for the first time in 34 years they have the chance to reach a FA Youth Cup final again and what a great achievement that would be especially since it would mean knocking out Rovers to set up a two-leg final against either Chelsea or Manchester United. Come on you Clarets!