Some wise words from Claret stars past and present inspired Blessed Trinity’s Year Seven football team to be crowned Lancashire champions.
The youngsters had a question and answer session with Burnley keeper Tom Heaton and Wembley 1962 goalscorer Jimmy Robson before their trip to St Bede’s High School to play in the Lancashire finals.
And they were inspired to beat Montgomery 7-1 and then came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Morecambe.
In the final game they trailed 2-1 but the game finished 2-2 against Lytham St Anne’s to be crowned county champions.
Earlier the students had asked Tom and Jimmy everything from nutrition to their loudest team-mate.
“We used to have steaks before every game but I had a really bad game after one so it was honey and toast after that for me,” said Jimmy, who also won the First Division title with Burnley in 1960.
Show a good attitude and work hard, whatever the situation or environment. If you do that, the sky’s your limitBurnley FC goalkeeper Tom Heaton
“We wouldn’t have steaks now before a game!” said Tom. “It is all about nutrition and eating the right foods. It’s about restricting the sweets and fast foods.”
Heaton said the best player he had played with was Cristiano Ronaldo when he was at Manchester United.
“I grew up at Old Trafford from 11 to 24 and Cristiano was not only an incredibly talented footballer but, what they didn’t see, was how hard he worked. He had talent and ability but, to be at the top of his game, he trained extra hard and went home and worked in the gym to make sure he became the top player he is.”
Meanwhile Jimmy admitted the biggest hurdle he had to overcome in his football career was replacing Clarets hero Jimmy McIlroy in games.
“When he was on international duty, I was about 17 and came in for him – it was hard as we were different players and Jimmy was extremely skilful and a good player. I was more rough and ready.”
Tom said that George Boyd, Danny Ings and Michael Keane were the three he didn’t always fancy facing in training.
“Everyone saw the power of Boydy’s left foot strike against Manchester City and he can be difficult to stop in training, Ingsy is a great finisher and Michael Keane can crack the ball really well.
“The loudest in the dressing room is definitely goalkeeper Gilksy (Matt Gilks).”
The advice for both of them for future footballers was well-received by the youngsters.
“Show a good attitude and work hard, whatever the situation or environment. If you do that, the sky’s your limit,” said Tom.
Jimmy’s advice was: “It’s what you do next that’s important. If you miss a sitter, don’t dwell on it, move on to the next chance.”