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Burnley mourns death of Tommy Cummings

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Burnley Football Club is mourning the death of former captain and club stalwart Tommy Cummings, who passed away peacefully on Sunday, aged 80.

Tommy, who made 479 appearances for the Clarets - and stands fifth in the all-time list of Football League appearances (434 appearances) - was a valued m ember of the 1959/60 First Division championship winning side.

He will also be fondly remembered as the goalscorer of one of the finest goals ever seen at Turf Moor, against Newcastle United in January 1952 - a memorable solo effort and crashing shot from distance following a charging run upfield. Tommy later modestly explained it by saying "I just had nobody to pass to!"

Sunderland-born Tommy, whose first club was Hilton Colliery Juniors, had trials with Blackpool and Tottenham before pledging his future to Burnley and continuing his apprenticeship as a mining engineer. He made his Burnley debut in December 1948 at Maine Road, after a year progressing through the youth and reserve ranks.

By 1950, he was acknowledged as one of the fastest defenders in the English game and by October of that year he was on the verge of the full England side, being selected as reserve for the game against Ireland in Belfast.

Tommy modestly assumed the Burnley captaincy in 1951 and his consistent performances kept him in the eye of the International selectors.

Alas, he never quite made the full England side, but he did earn three England 'B' caps, the first in Edinburgh against Scotland 'B' in 1953, playing alongside another legendary former skipper Jimmy Adamson and fellow Claret Bill Holden.

An injury sustained in the opening game of the 1956-57 campaign sidelined him for much of the next two seasons, following a cartilage operation.

But he was back in contention by 1958, alongside an emerging Brian Miller in the Clarets side that would soon make history.

Although Cummings missed a sizeable part of the championship season of 1959-60, by it's conclusion he was back in his favoured number five shirt and playing his part in the magnificent victory at Manchester City in May 1960 that finally brought the famous trophy to Turf Moor.

After two more seasons in the First Division, including an FA Cup Final appearance in 1962, Cummings played his last game for Burnley in a 2-2 draw at Bolton in August 1962, nearly 24 years after his league debut.

Tommy, who succeeded Jimmy Hill as Chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association in December 1961, holding the office until March 1963, later took charge as player/manager at Mansfield Town, leading the Stags to promotion from Division Four.

He also managed Aston Villa, eventually making way for Tommy Docherty in November 1968 before returning to Burnley to put down roots in his adopted town in the licensing trade.

Tommy leaves behind devoted wife Joy, daughter Lesley, son Bobby, grand-daughter Lucy and great-grandson Bradley.
The club flag at Turf Moor will fly at half mast for a period of time in memory of one of the club's greatest ever servants