The Road to Wembley - A Clarets Mad History Special

Last updated : 03 January 2002 By Andy Robinson
Apart from reaching the semi-finals in 1974 and the quarter-finals in 1983 we've had to settle for a couple of good wins in the early rounds to keep us going.

It wasn't always like this though as the Clarets were to prove exactly 40 years ago.

As the clock ticked over into New Years Day 1962 Burnley stood proudly 2 points clear at the top of league Division One, having 2 games in hand on most of their rivals.

Snow lay on the ground in Burnley then just as it does now 40 years later but what else was happening at the time?

Harold McMillan was the Prime Minister and John F Kennedy was President of the United States.

A little known pop group called the Beatles were just starting to get noticed though New Years Day itself saw Decca become the latest record company to turn them down. Danny Williams was at Number One in the charts with the haunting melody of Moon River.

If you were at the movies the chances are that you would be watching films like The Guns of Navarone, Breakfast at Tiffany's or the Disney classic 101 Dalmations.

For those in and around Burnley though with an interest that expanded not far beyond the few acres of land on the left hand side of the road out to Yorkshire, more important business was afoot.

The Clarets were to put their league hopes behind them for a week and embark on ‘The Road to Wembley'.

At this time it would be no exaggeration to say that Burnley were one of the best teams in England, if not the best as their league position indicated, but Wembley had eluded them. They had reached the quarter-finals in 1959 and 1960, going one better in 1961 before eventually being beaten 3-0 by Tottenham Hotspur in a game played only 3 days after we were knocked out of the European Cup in Hamburg.

It was, without doubt, an exciting time to be a Claret but what would happen to their Wembley dreams in 1962?

Click HERE to start reading about the Clarets FA Cup progress of 40 years ago when Third Division Queens Park Rangers were the visitors to Turf Moor in the 3rd Round.