Clarets’ favourite Jimmy McIlroy is to receive his MBE before thousands of adoring fans at Turf Moor.
Burnley’s legend has chosen to receive his New Year Honour at the Turf on the opening day of the season instead of meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
“I love the Burnley fans and they have been so good to me I’d like to share this honour with them,” he said.
Instead of travelling to London to see Her Majesty, the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire will perform the honour at Turf Moor on Saturday, August 6th – the day after the Clarets’ board discuss a proposal to make “Jimmy Mac” president of the club.
Jimmy and his family will be guests of Burnley FC when the Clarets kick off the season against Watford. The formal ceremony performed by Padiham-born Lord Shuttleworth, a Burnley fan and the Queen’s representative in the county, will take place before kick-off.
Jimmy, who will be 80 in October, was made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for services to football and charity, two years after receiving the Freedom of the Borough of Burnley.
The proposal for the Clarets’ favourite to become club president has been put forward by Clarets fan Harry Brooks who believes it will have popular support.
Club chief executive Paul Fletcher confirmed an approach had been made to chairman Barry Kilby and the board and said it will be raised at their next meeting.
Club president is an honorary title given at the club’s discretion and in his approach to the board Mr Brooks says: “This appointment would have warm and widespread popular support. He is a uniquely respected figure in the town and among the supporters. What better way could there be to fill the vacant and purely honorary office of president.”
He went on: “To honour Jim in the way Bolton did the late Nat Lofthouse, North End Sir Tom Finney and Blackpool Jimmy Armfield would be a final and fitting accolade, following the Freedom of the Borough, the recent testimonial and his MBE.
“When Jim came to Burnley as a teenager all those years ago he lived in digs in Stoney Street, Towneley, only a stone’s throw from a much grander residence occupied by club president J.N. Grimshaw, a major figure in town and boss of Massey’s Burnley Brewery. It would be a lovely touch if that fresh-faced Irish kid, now approaching his 80th birthday, came to occupy the same office as that local aristocrat.”