Alastair Campbell reflects on Jimmy McIlroy's 'extraordinary elegance'

Alastair Campbell
Alastair Campbell
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Jimmy McIlroy was a man who possessed an extraordinary elegance, on and off the pitch, according to journalist and political aide Alastair Campbell.


The prominent Clarets fan and former Downing Street press secretary, spoke to the Burnley Express about his memories of the club legend, which have spanned most of his life.

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“I was only four years-old when I first saw Jimmy play for Burnley so I obviously can’t recall too much of it. However, I got to know him well in later years.

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“He’s been such a big part, not only of the football club but also of the town over his lifetime. It was obvious that Jimmy had an absolute passion for football but also the Burnley community.

“I remember sitting with him at a fund-raising dinner some years ago, and it just came through how much love he had for the town. Whenever I spoke to him I got the impression that his life had been changed by Burnley and he felt rooted there and that’s why he settled in the town.

“There’s something very special about Burnley and he wanted to give something back for the affection he received from Burnley folk. Jimmy possessed an extraordinary elegance, on the pitch and off it. He was very charismatic and spoke with a soft, lovely lilt.

"After he retired from playing Jimmy worked for several years on the Burnley Express and was a wonderful writer. He just had such a close connection to Burnley and its people.

“He is not only part of the club’s history, but of the town’s.”