John Haworth, who was the secretary/manager of Burnley Football Club during the club’s first golden age either side of the First World War, has been honoured with a granite headstone.
Haworth, who was born in Accrington in 1876, was appointed at Turf Moor in the summer of 1910, following the death of his predecessor, Spen Whittaker. Burnley were then a mediocre Second Division side playing in green shirts but following Haworth’s appointment his first task was to change the club’s shirts to claret and blue, inspired by Aston Villa, Football League Champions in 1910.
Whether the shirts were inspirational or not is a matter of conjecture, but Burnley were promoted back to the top flight in 1913, then won the FA Cup for the first and only time so far, in 1914. The Clarets overcame Liverpool 1-0 at the Crystal Palace Grounds on the very first occasion that the reigning monarch attended professional football’s most prestigious fixture. His Majesty King George V presented the famous old trophy to the Burnley captain, Tommy Boyle, and handed specially-inscribed winners’ medals to the skipper and all his team mates.
After the Football League began again after the Great War, the Clarets finished as runners-up in Division One in 1920, then followed that by clinching the First Division Championship for the first time in 1921. During that epic 1920-21 campaign Burnley set a Football League record of 30 matches without defeat on their way to the League title. That record, in one season in the top flight of English football, was not surpassed for more than 80 years, until the Arsenal Invincibles went a complete Premier League season unbeaten in 2003-04.
Burnley went on to finish the 1921-22 season in third place in Division One but by now the really great days were at end, at least for the time being. John Haworth had been at the heart of the Clarets’ success story but, sadly, still in office at Turf Moor, he died in 1924, aged just 48. He was laid to rest in his home town of Accrington.
Now, exactly 100 years after the Clarets’ historic FA Cup win in 1914, Burnley Football Club has paid tribute to one of the club’s true legends by providing a granite headstone. Burnley FC Supporters’ Groups expressed a wish to pay their own tribute and have made a contribution to the funding.
More than 20 members of John Haworth’s extended family attended a dedication ceremony at the graveside on Sunday morning, conducted by long-standing Clarets’ supporter the Reverend David Wiseman. They included Haworth’s grandchildren Audrey Mears and Derek Haworth, together with a number of great grandchildren and most of the family members had travelled a considerable distance to attend.
Burnley FC Director Mr Bary Kilby said: “At Burnley Football Club we are very proud of our heritage and we thought it very fitting, at a time of celebration for the club, to provide a permanent memorial to a club legend who brought a huge amount of success to the Clarets all those years ago.”