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Burnley’s players returned for pre-season training ahead of the 1972/73 season and there was some good news for Burnley fans, who just two days earlier had heard that John Angus had retired, with the capture of another former England full back in Keith Newton who had arrived from Everton.

Mr Bob Lord welcomes the players back for pre-season training

Everton had paid £90,000 for him when he joined them from Blackburn Rovers, his first club, but he made only 47 league appearances for the Toffees and had asked to be put on the transfer list after a fall out with manager Harry Catterick following the signing of Falkirk full back John McLaughlin. He had been capped 27 times by England and was in the 1970 World Cup squad that went out in the quarter finals against West Germany. That game had proved to be his last for his country and things had then turned sour for him at Goodison Park.

Brian Flynn receives his award from the chairman

There was disquiet among some Burnley fans, not enamoured at all with the idea of having an ex-Blackburn player in the team, but the capture of Newton, even at the age of 31, looked to be a very astute piece of business to me. He was a rare full back in that he could play equally well either on the right or the left. He’d played in that World Cup defeat on the right but had featured mainly on the left for Everton. Keith himself said, on arriving at Burnley, that he felt his best position was at right back. Manager Jimmy Adamson was delighted to have signed him, and said: “I think it is going to be a good signing for us. He will figure highly in our plans for next season and he will be a great asset.”

Also joining up with Burnley for the first time was midfielder Kevin Kennerley. The 18-year-old had been released by Arsenal without having reached the first team and Adamson felt he was one for the future and had signed him to play, initially, in the reserves.

The players reported back, as always, to Gawthorpe and Adamson was in bullish mood, predicting a much better season for Burnley and believing, given a bit of luck, that we could be challenging at the top of the table in our second season after relegation. “I’m optimistic,” he said. “Given the breaks I think we can be one of the contenders. We were apprehensive last year but now we know what to expect. We also feel better equipped than last year. We got the right blend when we won the last six matches of last season and now I only hope we can maintain that success. But we must get more consistency. There were occasions last year when, because of the youthfulness of the side, things went wrong and we could not get hold of the game. Now the players are a bit more experienced, more mature. I shall be looking for regular consistent performances from them.”

A feature of the first day of pre-season training was the appearance of chairman Mr Bob Lord who would always be there to greet the players. This year he had an additional task to carry out, that of presenting an award to one of our younger players. During the summer, a Burnley under-19 team had featured in, and won, a five nations youth tournament at Sunderland, beating the hosts in the final at Roker Park. The competition organisers had voted the smallest player involved, Burnley’s 5ft 3ins midfielder Brian Flynn, as the player of the final and Mr Lord was delighted to present the award on their behalf. “He’s a good little ‘un,” said the chairman as Flynn received the award from him.

The players on their first pre-season run

Then, it was off on the first day run as the players started preparations for the new season. The first game was Carlisle at Turf Moor but there were pre-season games first, at Swansea and Newport as well as taking part in the prestigious Watney Cup.

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