When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Tributes to Clarets legend Harry Thomson
2:00pm Saturday 16th March 2013 in Burnley
TRIBUTES have been paid to Burnley FC’s ‘God in a Green Jersey’, Harry Thomson, who has died following a short illness.
Thomson, 72, who played 141 times for the Clarets, died peacefully on Thursday evening.
The Edinburgh-born goalkeeper will forever be remembered as the ‘God in a Green Jersey’ following his heroics in the fiery 1967 European Fairs Cup tie away to Naples, which itself was dubbed The Battle of Naples.
Thomson arrived at Turf Moor in 1959 but due to the sheer consistency of Championship-winning goalkeeper at the time Adam Blacklaw, he spent five years in the shadow of the fellow Scot.
He eventually made his First Division debut in 1965 and within a year he was first choice at Turf Moor.
And it was during the club’s foray into Europe in the 1966/67 season that he enjoyed his finest hour.
He played in Burnley’s eight-match European Fairs Cup campaign, and through a sequence of acrobatic saves, kept Napoli at bay in Italy in the third round, as the Clarets defended a 3-0 first leg lead.
The amazing performance included a penalty save from Napoli international captain Jose Altafini.
Former team mate Willie Irvine paid tribute and said: “There’s not many men around as fine as Harry.
“As a player he wasn’t the biggest or tallest but he made up for it in determination and bravery.
“He liked a few pints and a bet like many players of that time but was a truly grand fellow.
“I didn’t play in Naples as I had broken my leg at the time but his performance and the headlines it created were the toast of the dressing room for many months afterwards.”
The following year, Thomson represented Scotland in a friendly match against Israel in Tel Aviv.
He left Turf Moor in 1969, joining Blackpool and helping the Seasiders’ to promotion, before ending his career at Barrow.
Thomson leaves wife Alice, son Scott, daughter Sarah and four grandchildren, Stuart, Michael, Mollie and Izzie.
A spokesman for the club said: “Burnley Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the death of former goalkeeper Harry Thomson.
“The flag at Turf Moor will fly at half mast for a period in respect of his memory.”