Tag Archives: jimmy McIlroy

Credit is due where credit’s due!

Fairness, loyalty & dedication are three characteristics which I admire. Below are some stories where folk have not been due credit for their shows of fairness, loyalty & dedication. One is my old friend KP who in my mind should have been new year’s honours listed for the part he played in keeping Macaronis going. Then the great footballer of my youth Jimmy McIlroy who gave his fairness, loyalty & dedication to the small town I was schooled in ‘up th’North’. Examples of men who gave all to a cause yet then the cause didn’t rightly honour them. This continues my beef about our not telling people we know how we admire them as a matter of course. It’s too risky we feel, we don’t like to commit. If you feel it inside, your head, your body etcetera, just let them know, “I appreciate you/this/what you done etc”. You’ll feel a buzz when you do it and they will know you feel good about their efforts.

ken perry when younger kp when younger

I had been preparing an obituary for my old friend KP. On approaching a national newspaper which he had read every day to run it they seemed very interested to do so but when they asked one of his line managers at the firm he spent all his working life at who told them he was ‘only an engineer’ and that his name on a patent was merely for ‘an aerial’ they said they no longer had time for him. That’s their decision and they must make them but I find it rather sad that the word of someone who he had probably had to tolerate throughout his working life had now even in his memory scotched a due memorial. I believe the paper got it wrong as they misread the signs although they have been given a bum steer.

However praise be to The Guardian who have published an online obituary  http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/sep/03/ken-perry .It’s already had 105 ‘shares’ by 2pm friday. Bless.

I informed the paper that KP was very instrumental in developing Over The Horizon Radar (OTHR) and when they contact his ‘superior’ to gain an ‘expert witness’ statement the man said KP did not invent OTHR, that was done by the Americans & Russians in the 50’s, according to him, but I had never said KP ‘invented’ OTHR, just that with his input, knowledge and management some big advances were made and that he was instrumental in gaining a massive contract with the Australians to install the system in Jindalee. His managers (senior, sic) did not credit him during his work life although they kept him on for 7 years after he retired aged 65 and this ungracious chap seems to want to continue their lack of grace-full recognition. However, there are many at his company who say he saved it from earlier extinction with the Jindalee contract and it has been said that some of the 600 employees who were sent out to Australia, who by the way now say they invented OTHR, became considerably well moneyed. KP did not. http://www.dsto.defence.gov.au/innovation/jindalee-operational-radar-network

jimi maket2 sm

Jim McIlroy was brought over to Burnley as a youth in the 1950s and became possibly their greatest player of the modern era. I am certain George Best would have seen him play for Ireland in Belfast on some of the 55 times he represented his country and Best must have been influenced by Jimmy’s style of play.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_McIlroy Jimmy had affiliated with not just the football club but with the town of Burnley itself on his arrival. He never left the town even when sold down the river to Stoke in 1963 he continued living at Burnley and commuted to Stoke. Stoke was a strange place for a man courted by the big Italian and Spanish clubs (Barca) who refused the lure of big money for the meagre pittance at Burnley because he loved the drizzly cotton mill town so much, he still lives there now in his declining years.


Nearly 50 years after he left in a bombshell revelation that the club had transferred him to a team in a lower division the club honoured him by naming a stand after him. I want them to further honour him by erecting a statue in his honour and I have created a maquette for one for them. (this image is in ‘my burnli’ folder mi pics)Jim remained totally faithful to the club despite Bob Lord’s despicable actions. Lord as far as I am concerned ruined Burnley F.C. when he turned the TV cameras away when Burnley were a top club in the early 1960s in the misguided belief that TV would keep fans away from the ground, in fact quite the opposite was true. http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/11545047.Clarets_legend_Jimmy_McIlroy_is_the_toast_of_Burnley/?ref=mr

I am pleased to say someone high up in BFC has emailed me and asked me to send some photos and other details about my proposed sculpture to him. He added that they have already named a stand after Jimmy Mac, but really, that’s only the cost of the paint job to sign-write his name on a stand that would have gone up already. Nearly every club in the top divisions has had one, two or more scuptures erected to past heroes. Arguably there are few players bigger than Jimmy at Burnley, except maybe Tommy Boyle in the 1921 team which went the longest run at top division level of games without defeat, a record which stood over 80 years until Arsene’s Invincibles!

on a sadder note when I contacted ‘Clarets Mad’ to see if I may muster some support for the idea they got back and told me there’s at least 30 players who deserve some form of commemoration. So, I guess I should shut ma trap whilst I still can. Maybe I should make ma sculpture of my hero in my back garden, like the one of my dad who ran football teams and gave the cricket league a cup when we couldn’t afford cheese to go in our bread! Good old Big Jack Taff.

taf side view

Maybe because the program was an advert for the forthcoming Tate Pop Art show Sooke didn’t mention R B Kitaj, one of my top 10 artists of the 20th century whose skills far outweighed those of his more famous younger contemporary Hockney whom he influenced a great deal. http://biography.yourdictionary.com/david-hockney

“It is a widely held belief among those in the art world that…Jacob Kramer in Leeds viewing an Alan Davie exhibition in Wakefield in 1958 pushed Hockney towards the type of work that is considered avant-garde. Alan Davie went on to hold a considerable influence over Hockney dramatically represented by a series of ‘abstract expressionist’ canvases that Hockney produced during his first year at the Royal College of the Arts. That year, 1959, another individual that held considerable influence over the work produced by Hockney was American artist R. B. Kitaj. Kitaj’s work was of commonplace scenes as well as contemporary people and events. While Kitaj’s work discreetly affected the British Pop Art movement, it profoundly affected Hockney. Hockney’s keen awareness of the times around him is directly attributed, in many critics’ opinions, to Kitaj.” Encyclopedia World Boigraphy.

http://032c.com/2013/r-b-kitaj-and-david-hockney-collage-of-a-lifelong-friendship/  “Ron was a great influence on me, far more than anything else; not just stylistically – he was a great influence stylistically on a lot of people, and certainly on me – but in his seriousness too.” Hockney in 032c Issue #24 — Summer 2013 Page 176 – 185.

Talking of deals Kitaj had quite a raw deal from the media, so much so that a war broke out between him and the press- http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/feb/10/rb-kitaj-obsessions-tate-war Nevertheless Kitaj kept a foothold in his adopted London until his death. http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/kitaj

Burnley were once a truly great team!

So today my home town team, knowing of their imminent relegation from the top division in football to division 2 which is euphemistically named ‘The Championship’, secured a scintillating 0-0 draw with Stoke. But Burnley were once a truly great team! No not the first time I ever saw them when as a ten years old boy I watched

60team handdrawn(c) pete kennedy 2015

the best Burnley team to represent the town in modern day football emerge from the Turf Moor tunnel as Champions in 1960 when they beat Man City in the final game of the season

62 victory coach(c) pete kennedy 2015

to prevent Wolves winning their third 1st division title in 3 years and almost won the coveted Double two years later.

Bly 1961 leeg won

No, it was the team back in 1921, (some of which had survived the First World War just before which they had beaten Liverpool in the FA Cup Final), that went on THE LONGEST RUN IN THE TOP DIVISION WITHOUT DEFEAT FOR 80 YEARS. A feat only overhauled recently by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, but they still have more than 70 years to run before they equal Burnley’s record of 80 years unequalled! But few people have mentioned the fact that Burnley not only did that phenomenal run, in a time when they would have not had the luxury travel that the modern players have, they were more likely to turn up in a charabanc (that’s an obsolete term for a ‘motor coach’ the likes of which super ceded the horse and cart). The team that stopped their run? Manchester City. Then Burnley went on to beat them a couple of games later. THAT WAS A TRULY GREAT SIDE. They did not however receive the accolades showered upon their recent copy cats The Arsenal, all the press could muster was ‘Burnley Beaten At Last’!

1921 leeg champs for 80 yrs

 In fact tward the end of this 2014-15 season they got a new moniker ‘Burnleynil’.

Burnley have never been a fashionable club a fact that was exacerbated by a certain chairman known as the meanest dinosaur & butcher in town whose policy of turning the media away, particularly TV, in Burnley’s 1960’s revival to the top did massive and irreversible damage  which persists to this day. And he was responsible for halving the club’s gates overnight by selling off the great Jim McIlroy!

jim dribl sm

To whom? To Stoke who were in the second division then and Jimmy helped bring them into the top division.

jim stoke swervs


One massive example of prohibition going wildly counter to the intent of the prohibitor is my home town football club, Burnley and the reprehensible policy of the then chairman Bob Lord, who was also a big noise on the national FA. He thought that if he banned the TV cameras from Turf Moor more folk would visit the ground to see live matches on match days. He was wrong. At the time Burnley were one of the top two clubs with Spurs, a fact that remained the case for several years in the early 60’s Burnley were bigger than Man U and Liverpool then! Look what happened. TV cameras do the opposite to what Lord thought, they publicize a club and folk flock to see them. Lord, in another of his marvellous decisions, sold local hero Jimmy McIlroy, to lowly second division at that time Stoke and Burnley faded away after . Burnley dropped to the foot of Division 4 and nearly shot out of the league altogether whilst close rivals Man U & The Bill Shankly LiverPool went on to be European Champs.

Burnley’s gates never ever recovered and fancy that, their average gate is about 14,000. Compare that with Sunderland or Newcastle at c. 50K and you see what minnows the valiant representatives of Burnley town are. The sharks of the Prem certainly devoured them despite their taking down the likes of Man City and stealing a point at Stamford Bridge.(2014-15)

phil brwn on dyche statuePhil Brown at Southend said that they are talking statues for Sean Dyche!

I have believed long time that there should be one of Jimmy McIlroy at Burnley. This is an open letter to fans of Jim McIlroy, Burnley boys and all the rest, and Stan Bowles who said in his autobio that his hero was Jimmy Mac! Many others, least myself because true greats must have seen him play, including Georgie Best because as a football fanatic in his youth he must have been taken to see Northern Ireland play in Belfast and Jimmy was the star of that team along with his friend, also arch rival at Spurs, Danny Blanchflower. In 1950 my dad named me after an Irish player who he admired, Peter Doherty. Doherty went on to manage the Irish side which Jim played in that got to the quarter final of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden then got kicked off the park by guess who? Germany.

 jimi mac scores fer NI sm

Once you saw Jimmy play you had to be influenced! In the mid 1950s he scored a hat trick against Busby’s Manchester United. Why he never was called by Busby to play for Man. U I don’t know but it was probably because in those days the players had less say on their destiny and the chairman could dictate where they went, that’s why Jim ended up in Stoke. He never flit from his beloved Burnley and commuted to Stoke daily! The butcher had already got rid of one of the best players Bobby Seith in the champion-making team because Seith probably told the old fart what he thought of him, Seith went on to win the Scottish Championship with a Dundee team, that is no accident, good players win games.

jimac in sundae times

Did you know that back in 1962 Jimmy was an icon, no not just in football, on the front cover of the first ever Sunday Times Mag! A photo of Jimmy is there in the centre with Jean Shrimpton posing a la Jim all around him. Not a lot of people know that. His movement was almost balletic and someone at the Times mag saw it and asked for the model to go into poses which reflect Jimmy. I think I prefer her beauty but his poise. His poise was genuine, hers was posed.

jimi maket2 sm(c) pete kennedy 2015

I have offered to do a sculpture of the best player Burnley had since the great 1920’s team, Tommy Boyle and all them lot. They have indicated an interest but that were a year ago and am getting on in years and soon I’ll be too very old to do it. So, come on you Clarets, give me the go-ahead and I shall get the sculpture ready for your next return to the top league again!

 jimi 3 from above sm(c) pete kennedy 2015

It seems there will be no shortage of money this year at Burnley. See report from Ajax and look forward to return to top flight and thrashing Van Gaal’s lot! According to this report Burnley get loads o money for tv appearances, not to mention the parachute monies.

2015 bly won the money!

This article and the drawings and sculptures shown in it are copyright (c) Pete Kennedy 17.5.2015

PK is forever grateful for the joy of seeing Jimmy McIlroy grace the field at Turf Moor, a true great alongside Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Duncan Edwards, Kenny Dalglish, Stevie Gerrard and Jackie Milburn.

By the way Kenny Dalglish should receive a knighthood! (PK 2018)

New article out and new bid in.

Earlier this week I received a copy of The Blue Notebook with my new article in it. It is so nice to have an article accepted for such a wonderful publication, thank you Sarah and your team of referees. And good to be in such good company too:

Vol 8 No 2, April 2014

Essays and reviews: Alison Gibbons: Tension, Style, and the Modern Psyche,

A Stylistic Analysis of Philip Zimmermann’s ‘High Tension’; Jeremy Dixon: Aliens, Sunset, and Radioactivity: visiting three artists’ books in Philadelphia; Ciara Healy: And the night was kind. ‘Ruskin’s Ponds’ book works by John Woodman; Pete Kennedy: Lucy Lippard’s Activism and Artists’ Books Activate Me; John McDowall: Some artists’ books and literature; Mat Osmond: The Mingled Measure, Interpreting and Adapting S. T. Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. You too can obtain a copy by going to


I also got a copy of Vol1 for which Guy Bigland (UK) has designed a brilliant textwork cover, badge and sticker for this issue. The badge comes in a little tiny bag which rustles as you turn pages.

Time they had my sculpture of Jim McIlroy at Burnley FC!

jim slides sm kb

image of my design for a sculpture for Burnley FC

Also, talking about referees,  this week I am putting in another pitch to do a sculpture of Jim McIlroy, my childhood hero who played for Burnley and Ireland. I only hope my pitch lights up the directors there like his skills used to light up the pitch for me and my mates in the early sixties. He was good at sliding for the ball and springing up again. Also upright, perfectly balanced, ball at his feet, sizing up the defender swerving, dodging, where the ball seems like it’s on a piece of elastic pinned to his boot front then flicking the ball in the opposite direction to that expected before skipping over the frustrated lunge.’ I believe he wer an inspiration for a young kid called Georgie who went on to play a few games for Man U. & Ireland.


Talking about Burnley, I am in contact with the central library there trying to trace some copies of the Burnley Express from around 1916, or maybe it wer a summing up copy at the end of WW1? I saw it in 1969 when in the reference library, it commemorated the lads who the town lost in that stupid war, there wer no room fer any other news. I wish to use the info for a book along with some stuff about Ted Walker’s  dad who survived it and a poem about it written by my girl when she wer about 14.

I am also exhibiting a couple of tings in Tindalls of Colchester this coming Thorsday; a painting of one of my invented characters, Bedmonster, so called cos he’ll steal the brass nobs from the bed as you sleep



And a bronze cast of my Lorryhead sculpture.

My blart is short and positive this week, surprised?

Well, err indoors got me a little book of daily advices which told me not to involve by talking about bad news, so I won’t. Except for there where I just mentioned it, oops, nobody’s perfec.

And finally am working up a major piece, a version of my Venus at the stairs image, 1m X1.5m! Wondering whether to enter it for a big exhibition in Londres? What do you tink?



This is just the initial starting point but it gives an idea of the content & composition. I am also tinking of entering some print too. Maybe I can do better than ‘Doubtful’ this time. Oh, by the way, the bad news, all artin this blart rhymes wit part, did you ever hear the one about the king and queen wat went up th’ill and parted? did you ever hear abart t s eliot,