Ginger Pele returns to the Turf

Last updated : 19 February 2002 By Tony Scholes

Billy Ingham is tonight's guest at the second time of asking. He was due to make the half time draw when the match was first scheduled to be played on New Year's Day. Burnley and Bradford City were his only league clubs.

Billy was in the youth team at Burnley in the 1970/71 season when they came so close to emulating the achievements of three years earlier. They fell at the semi-final hurdle against Cardiff City but by the end of the following season he had won himself a place in the first team.

Having made a couple of substitute appearances at home he made his full debut in the North East at Roker Park against Sunderland. Having been 1-0 down in the game the Clarets came storming back and goals from Martin Dobson, Frank Casper and Eric Probert looked to have given us a convincing 3-1 win as we controlled the game with just five minutes left. It was not to be though as Sunderland came back to score three times in that last five minutes to beat us 4-3 and wreck Billy's debut.

There were six games left and Billy retained his place in the side and all six were won. The following season he spent much of it on the bench as the sub, there was only one substitute then, as we stormed to the Second Division title. He made eleven starts and seven sub appearances and played in a variety of positions.

In the following three seasons he made 79 league appearances in the First Division and although he was at times in and out of the starting eleven he had become a very popular player with the fans.

It was St. George's Day 1977 when Billy received the nickname that Burnley fans still use to this day. It was a home game against Chelsea and he scored the only goal of the game with a stunning strike. It was a magnificent goal and one, it was suggested, Pele would have been proud of. From that day on Billy Ingham was known as Ginger Pele.

After making 211 league appearances he was sold to Bradford City, then in Division Four, in August 1980 for £30,000. He had played in just eight league games for the Clarets in the previous season.

He became just as popular at Valley Parade during his two years there and helped then win promotion in his second season. He missed the last few games with injury and was released at the end of the season and that signalled the end of his league career at just 29.

Four years later Brian Miller did try to persuade him to make a comeback as the Clarets struggled to raise a team at the beginning of the 1986/87 season but he turned down the offer. He lives locally and works for the local bus company and can occasionally be seen at Turf Moor supporting the Clarets, still with that North East accent.