top of page


On this day in 1976, Jimmy Adamson was appointed manager of Sunderland AFC. He was in charge of 88 games for the Lads during his time on Wearside.

Before he went into management he used to play football professionally as a midfielder, with his first pro team being Burnley, whom he joined in 1947. Prior to that he was playing non league football whilst working as a miner in Ashington.

Despite joining The Clarets in 47’, he would have to wait four years to make his debut in 51’ as he completed national service with the Royal Air Force during that time. At Burnley he became a key figure, winning the Football League Division One trophy and captaining the side to the 1962 FA Cup final, which they lost to Tottenham. In 1962 he was also named the Footballer of the year.

Adamson retired in 1964, with over 400 games played for Burnley. Upon retiring he joined the Burnley coaching staff, with experience coaching England in the 1962 World Cup. He was reportedly the FA’s number one choice for the England job ahead of Alf Ramsey but he declined the offer.

He eventually worked his way up until he became the Burnley gaffer, where he stayed for six years. Burnley were relegated in his first full campaign in charge, and then again six months after his departure as he left in January 1961 and they went down the following May.

Before coming to Wearside he accepted the job at Sparta Rotterdam in the Netherlands, but ended up deciding against the opportunity and never actually reached Holland. During his time in charge of us he suffered another relegation as we bowed out of the First Division.

He took charge of 88 games for us and had a losing record, winning 29, drawing 28 and losing the other 31. He never got us promoted back to the First Division and in 1978 he resigned and joined Leeds United.

With Leeds he got them to fifth in his first season, and the Semi Final of the FA Cup too. Things were finally starting to look bright in his managerial career until he sold some of Leeds’ best players, and his replacements didn't live up to expectations. He ended up reaching eleventh in his first full campaign in charge and Leeds fans weren’t happy. The beginning of the next season would spell the end of Jimmy Adamson’s football involvement, a poor start saw his side bottom after five games whilst getting knocked out of the FA Cup to arch rivals Aston Villa and he was let go.

Burnley named one of their hospitality suites after Adamson. At Turf Moor they have the Jimmy Adamson suite. A nice touch for the Clarets legend. Unfortunately though, his managerial career didn’t live up to his playing career.