Image conscious in Burnley


Picture this: a simple request to the Burnley FC press office: can we please use your photo of Jimmy Adamson, who managed both our clubs, to accompany a great Q&A with the man who runs Clarets Mad? Missing open goals may be the Turf Moor press office’s forte, as Colin Randall reports …

Now Salut! Sunderland would never dream of accusing Burnley of being a Nazi-occupied town just because the BNP gets the odd vote there, odd being the operative word.

But we do get the impression they’re just a little image conscious. Alastair Campbell – arguably a Salut! Sunderland protege*, Fleet Street’s best-known bagpipes player, Tony Blair’s bruising press secretary, probably Burnley’s best known supporter – shows symptoms.

Good read, said Alaistair, after seeing what Tony Scholes, editor of Clarets Mad, had contributed in his terrific answers to the Salut! Sunderland questionnaire ahead of the big game. “But change the picture!!!”

Picture? Oh, this one:


I loved it, as it happens. But it wouldn’t have been my first choice.

Tony, for ever to be admired for the speed with which he agreed to answer our questions, was the obvious subject. But he warned us early on that he “doesn’t do photos” (is he even older than the codgers behind Salut! Sunderland?).

Next stop was Burnley FC. The club site has a lovely piece that marked the 80th birthday of Jimmy Adamson, closely associated with both clubs. Could we perhaps reproduce the photo? We put the question to D Bentley and S Meakin, listed as the relevant contacts in the club’s press office.

If I am to be honest, given my dealings with football club press offices, I expected a mean-spirited but reasonably courteous brush off. I did not receive a reply, and must assume that this rank lack of courtesy at least represented the mean-spirited brush off.

So we turned tio Flickr and Google photos, finding at the latter Andreas Andrews’s evocative terrace image. No apologies, Alastair, since it’s a bloody good picture. But here’s your early invitation: do the Q&A AND choose the photo when we meet again at the Stadium of Light …


* Centuries ago, I was The Daily Telegraph’s reporter covering the West Country. Alastair was working on a local paper in Cornwall. Local papers traditionally pay appalling wages and Alastair, anxious to eat (and to advance in his career), supplied occasional stories or help with stories for the national press. And I arranged his money – undoubtedly a pittance by comparison with what he got from the Mirror or Sun lads – so maybe that made me his paymaster. We’ve met a couple of times since those days, and – despite the bad press he tends to get – I have always liked the man. I had hoped the result from Turf Moor would leave him feeling miserable, but hadn’t bargained on so meek a Sunderland surrender in the second half of a game that was there to win.

5 thoughts on “Image conscious in Burnley”

  1. I’d argue that the link works. Alastair didn’t expand but presumably felt the black and white picture of a terrace street gave a wrong or unfortunate impression of Burnley, ie created the wrong image. Reasonable inhabitants of Burnley would think BNP inroads into the town’s political life also gave a wrong or unfortunate impression, ie created the wrong image.

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