The 1959/60 season stands out as a remarkable period in the storied history of Burnley Football Club. Under the astute guidance of their new manager, Harry Potts, Burnley began to carve a niche for themselves, building on solid performances from previous seasons.
Key players like the dynamic Northern Irish midfielder, Jimmy McIlroy, were instrumental in the team's early successes. With a blistering start of seven wins in the first 10 matches, Burnley was swiftly marked as a championship contender. However, a history of failing to capitalize on their advantageous position loomed over the team.
But adversity began to knock when McIlroy, the chief playmaker, faced injury troubles. After a brief return against Arsenal in December, he had to miss the hectic Christmas fixtures, a pivotal point in any season. However, Burnley showcased its depth as Ian Lawson, McIlroy's replacement, rose to the occasion during the Boxing Day fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford, sealing a 2-1 victory.
McIlroy's subsequent return against United was ill-fated as the Red Devils dominated a not-fully-fit McIlroy and the Clarets with a 4-1 victory. The team's journey in the FA Cup was a roller coaster. From a close shave against Lincoln to comeback heroics against Bradford City, Burnley showcased resilience, even though their FA Cup dream was eventually halted by Blackburn Rovers.
The league, however, was a different story. With teams like Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) and Tottenham Hotspur in the title chase, Burnley had its work cut out. Key fixtures, including a splendid 2-0 home victory against Spurs and a crushing 6-1 defeat at the hands of Wolves, kept fans on the edge of their seats. Yet, the pendulum of fortune swung in Burnley's favor when Spurs handed Wolves a surprising defeat.
As the climax of the season approached, Burnley found themselves in a nail-biting situation. Wolves sat at the top, a point ahead but with all their games played. Burnley, with a game in hand against Manchester City, knew what needed to be done. On a tension-filled day at Maine Road, watched by nearly 66,000 spectators, Burnley secured a 2-1 victory, propelling them to league glory.
This victory crowned Burnley as the League Champions for the second time in their history. The 1959/60 season would remain etched in the annals of Burnley's legacy, a testament to resilience, teamwork, and the indomitable spirit of a team that refused to back down.