VIP launch for book celebrating Burnley's Bob Lord known as football's 'most controversial chairman'

Mike Smith (left) and Dave Thomas authors of a new book about controversial Burnley Football Club chairman  Bob Lord at the VIP launch
Mike Smith (left) and Dave Thomas authors of a new book about controversial Burnley Football Club chairman Bob Lord at the VIP launch
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Former Clarets players and directors were among 70 invited guests who attended the launch party for a new book about one of the greatest figures in football history.

'Bob Lord of Burnley- the biography of football's most controversial chairman' was launched at a VIP event held at Turf Moor yesterday.

Anne Clough, Muriel Sutcliffe and Anne Abbott at the Bob Lord book launch with a cardboard cutout of the man himself in the background

Anne Clough, Muriel Sutcliffe and Anne Abbott at the Bob Lord book launch with a cardboard cutout of the man himself in the background

Several former employees also went along for the launch and shared many memories and stories of Lord and photographer Ian Bannister was on hand to capture them on film.

Hosted by authors Dave Thomas and Mike Smith, guests included the Mayor and Mayoress of Pendle Councillors Ken Hartley and Jayne Mills and BBC presenter Tony Livesey, a Burnley fan who hails from the town.

Also on the guest list was Trevor Meredith the winger who scored the winning goal at Maine Road in 1960 to win the title for Burnley that year.

Dave and Mike set out to produce an account of Bob Lord that was objective, fair and balanced and in this they have been successful with a comprehensive account of his life and times and all his pronouncements.

Former team  mates Jim Thomson (left) and Colin Waldron at the book launch

Former team mates Jim Thomson (left) and Colin Waldron at the book launch

Dave said: "There is a certain image of Bob Lord. He was a very blunt man.

"But what came across in the writing and talking to people was a softer side and that many of his employees spoke highly of him.

"He is certainly one of the great characters of the town, not just the football club."

Known for being belligerent, argumentative, blunt, autocratic and often cruel, this new book gets to the heart of what made Bob Lord, who was the chairman of Burnley Football Club, the man he was.

Some of the guests at the Bob Lord book launch with a cardboard cutout of the man himself taking centre stage

Some of the guests at the Bob Lord book launch with a cardboard cutout of the man himself taking centre stage

Born in 1908 Lord was the son of a barber who started his own company as a butcher at the age of 19 and grew the business to eventually own 14 shops.

An avid follower of Burnley FC, Lord became a board member and eventually chairman in 1955. The early years of his chairmanship were the most successful in the club’s history.

Following the appointment of Harry Potts as manager in 1958, Burnley were league champions in 1960, and reached the FA Cup Final in 1962. The development of Gawthorpe training ground made Burnley the envy of all the other clubs.

Both Dave and Mike are experts in the field of books on Burnley Football Club. This is Dave’s 20th book and one that he has always wanted to write.

Tony Livesey (left) and Barry Kilby at the Bob Lord book launch

Tony Livesey (left) and Barry Kilby at the Bob Lord book launch

A retired headteacher and lifelong Claret, Dave has written acclaimed biographies on Jimmy Adamson and Harry Potts.

Mike is a retired lecturer from the University of Manchester and has written two books that specialise in the early days of Burnley Football Club.

The star of the book launch was Mike's life-size cut out figure of Lord that greeted guests as they came in and it featured in many of the pictures that people took.

A celebration of Bob Lord's life will be held at Turf Moor on Friday, October 25th. An evening of music, food and reminiscing with former players gifted local artists Bill Bowden and Peter Chippendale have each produced a painting that will be auctioned on the night.

The evening will be hosted by the inimitable Jeff Brown and BBC newscaster Christian Fraser, who is from the town and a Burnley supporter. Proceeds will go towards to the club community café and foodbank.

Tickets for this event are available from Dave on 0113 2555350 at £10 per head.

Copies of Bob Lord of Burnley are available from the club shop and Colne High Street bookshop, or signed copies from the authors by contacting Dave at beehivethomas@aol.com