Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2011
Date and Place of Birth
23rd March 1920 - Oakengates, Shropshire
died 1st December 1986
Transfers to and from Burnley
from West Ham United - October 1946
to Bradford City - October 1954
First and Last Burnley Games
Luton Town (h) - 9th November 1946
Everton (h) - 4th September 1954
West Ham United
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
Burnley had made a very good start to the 1946/47 season, the first after the resumption of league football following the end of World War II.
By the beginning of November we were top of the league and it is often said that is the time to strengthen your squad and that's something manager Cliff Britton did with the capture of West Ham wing half Reg Attwell.
The Shropshire born Attwell had featured for Burnley during the previous season in the Football League North, having played fifteen games. He'd made a big impression on the supporters and more importantly on Britton who noted that he was not a regular in the West Ham side.
Like many players of that era, Attwell had lost much of his career to the war and was aged 26 when Britton brought him to Turf Moor, and it was probably the best signing he made whilst manager of Burnley.
Harold Spencer and Harold Rudman had both worn the number 4 shirt that season, but for the home game against Luton it was handed to Attwell for his debut and for the very first time we lined up with a half back line of Attwell, Brown, Bray - a threesome that was to become as synonymous with Burnley as the Halley, Boyle & Watson partnership of the years either side of the First World War.
Attwell had played for West Ham before the war, although he made just one appearance, and he'd appeared in their side less than a handful of times in the early stages of the 1946/47 season. But he was to play a big part in helping Burnley to promotion and establishing the club in the First Division.
From the day he arrived he was a regular in the side at right half, alongside captain and future manager Alan Brown and club stalwart George Bray. Whilst Bray was the more defensive wing half, Attwell was the one with the silky skills. He was a great passer of the ball and was the player of the time who was considered to add the class to an already very good side.
During his first season at Burnley he played a major role as we won promotion and made our first ever Wembley appearance in the 1947 FA Cup Final against Charlton.
Such was his form then, and in the next two seasons, that he was called up to play for the Football League against the Scottish League in 1949 at Ibrox. The Football League won the game 3-0 but sadly for Reg it proved to be his only representative honour although Burnley fans of the time were amazed he was never called up for England.
As he passed the age of 30 he did lose his place for a while with the emergence of Jimmy Adamson but got his place back on the left hand side as Bray headed towards retirement. But in late 1952 he caused an upset when he failed to show for a home game against Arsenal.
A big family man, he'd returned hope to his home town to attend his father's funeral and opted to remain to look after his mother who had fallen ill. He failed to inform the then manager Frank Hill and although he got back into the side for much of the remainder of the season his time in the first team was coming to an end.
By the start of the 1953/54 season there was a new threat from Bobby Seith. He was nothing like the regular he'd been previously but still played almost half of the league games, and that despite having reached his 34th birthday, some age for a player in the top flight then.
He played just once in the following season, that a home game against Everton in September 1954. Soon afterwards he was transferred to Bradford City who were playing in the Football League Third Division North.
Throughout that 1954/55 season he was a regular but was released at the end of the season. After playing the following season with Darwen he finally decided it was time to hang up his boots.
I read once that Attwell played in front of his 'adoring' fans and that's how he was always talked about when I was growing up. My dad was a massive fan of his and others I've spoken to since, who had the good fortune to see him play, have said great things about him.
He had problems after the end of his playing career as he struggled to look after his family. Reg for many years lived close to Turf Moor and remained in Burnley for the rest of his life.
He sadly passed away at the age of 66 on 1st December 1986.