After the relegation in 1982-83, John Jackson and his board decided to break Burnley's long tradition and hire an "Outsider", Burnley who since 1958 had only five managers, including Frank Casper who was caretaker manager, and whom Bond replaced, they were Harry Potts, Jimmy Adamson, Joe Brown and Brian Miller legends one and all!
John Jackson, a board member since 1976, took the unprecedented step to hire "Outsider" Bond, then proclaimed that this was a "extremely bold and ambitious approach", and didn't just expect promotion, he wanted the championship.
John Bond arrived at Burnley five months after leaving his former side Manchester City who were deep in relegation trouble in the First Division. His appointment in June 1983 was not what the Claret faithful had wanted, I Myself could not comprehend why club stalwart Martin Dobson wasn't given the post? why we broke the tradition what had served Burnley so well for decades?
As managers go, John Bond had all the credentials, a fantastic right back for West Ham United who's academy was as fruitful as our own, playing in a side that housed world cup winners Moore, Peters and Hurst. As a manager he won championships with both Bournemouth and Norwich before leading unfancied Canaries to the League Cup final in 1976, he became one of the most wanted managers in the first Division when Manchester City hired him in 1980, and with an FA Cup final and respectability in the league, all was well, until 1982-83 where with Manchester City at the bottom of the first division , Bond walked out ! Resigned taking John Benson with him, Benson who had followed Bond since his Norwich days when he was Bonds youth team coach.
The season ahead looked bright, we were back in the third division, but had a fantastic team, a team of youth and experience, and a team of home grown players Steven, Overson, Phelan, Dixon, Wharton, Laws, with the older heads Stevenson, Hamilton, Taylor and Dobson we had a good enough team to go straight back up, the bookies even made Burnley Favorites to win the League.
But Bonds way was quick and decisive, out went Laws for £50k, Trevor Steven for a club record received fee of £350k, Stevenson free, Wharton free, Dixon Free, and he stripped Martin Dobson of the captaincy!
In came Tommy Hutchinson who was made team captain, Gerry Gow, Kevin Reeves, Roger Hansbury, Dennis Tueart, and later in the season Steve Daley all players who have followed Bond from team to team.
But it could have all been so different, Kevin Reeves was unlucky, a career ending injury mid season, when Burnley placed comfortably in 6th place, with Reeves having played 27(1) games in all competitions scoring 15 goals, while strike partner Hamilton had plundered 13 League goals, "If" must be the biggest word in football, If Reeves hadn't got injured? if Hamilton's goals hadn't dried up? "If" we could have been celebrating Bond instead of morning him as we all do.
The last12 games of the season saw Burnley pick up just 6 points out of a possible 36 ! relegation form ! But one absentee from 5 of the remaining six games was Bond? John Bond decided that his time would be better spent scouting teams and players instead of managing his/our team. Burnley finished the season in 12th place, poor return considering we were favourites to win the league.
Bond who was not the fans choice as manager , will go down as the man who almost killed this great club.
1983 - 1984 Division Three