|Full name||James McIlroy|
|Date of birth||25 October 1931|
|Place of birth||Lambeg, County Antrim, Northern Ireland|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Playing position||Forward/Attacking Midfielder|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
James McIlroy MBE (born 25 October 1931) is a former Northern Irish footballer who played for Glentoran, Burnley, Stoke City and Oldham Athletic. He is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of Burnley, having played 497 matches for the "Clarets" and scoring 131 goals.
McIlroy was born in Lambeg, County Antrim and he was introduced to football at an early age as his father, Harry played for Lisburn Distillery and his uncle, Willie played for Portadown. After leaving school McIlroy played for Glentoran before joining Burnley in March 1950 for £7,000. He soon cemented his reputation as one of the finest scheming inside forwards since World War II. He was dubbed as the 'Brain' of Burnley and was a very composed passer of the ball only releasing it when he was sure of finding a team mate. His neat footwork made him a crowd favourite at Turf Moor and indeed for the Northern Ireland national team where he made 55 caps. He helped Burnley win the First Division in 1959–60 and reach the FA Cup Final in 1962, losing 3–1 to Tottenham Hotspur. After 497 matches for the "Clarets" scoring 131 goals, McIlory was allowed to leave for Stoke City for a cut price £25,000, which came as a shock to the Burnley fans who branded chairman Bob Lord 'insane'.
McIlroy joined Tony Waddington's Stoke who at the time had a collection of experienced veterans with the likes of Stanley Matthews, Dennis Viollet, Jackie Mudie and Don Ratcliffe. He arrived at Stoke with the side top of the table but his debut for Stoke was a disaster as Stoke crashed to a 6–0 defeat at Norwich City. Regardless Stoke continued their push for promotion and with McIlroy's intelligent passing featuring heavily they claimed the Second Division title in 1962–63. He scored 12 goals in 1963–64 as Stoke established themselves in the top tier, he also played in the 1964 League Cup Final as Stoke lost 4–3 Leicester City. His final match for the "Potters" was against Burnley on 27 December 1965 leaving to become manager of Oldham Athletic.
In January 1966 he moved into management after being recruited by new Oldham Athletic chairman Ken Bates. With Oldham struggling at the foot of the Third Division, Oldham paid Stoke £5,000 so that they could resister McIlroy as a player again. He signed several former Stoke City team-mates, including Bill Asprey, Alan Philpott, George Kinnell and Keith Bebbington. However McIlroy did not cope well with the pressure of management and resigned after losing 4–0 against Luton Town on the opening day of the 1968–69 season. He returned to Stoke City for a short while as assistant to Waddington before moving to Bolton Wanderers as coach and assistant to Nat Lofthouse. McIlroy had an 18-day spell in charge after Lofthouse's departure but resigned after just two matches on principle after being told by the board to sell players.
He retired to the Burnley area and is still a regular attender of Burnley home matches. He was given Freedom of the Borough in December 2008 and was given a testimonial match by Burnley in 2009.
McIlroy was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to football and to charity, and arranged to receive the honour at Burnley's Turf Moor ground rather than at Buckingham Palace.
In April 2015, the feature-length documentary Spirit of '58 was screened as part of the Belfast Film Festival. It featured Jimmy McIlroy prominently alongside the other surviving players (Billy Bingham, Peter McParland, Billy Simpson and Harry Gregg) as it told the story of Northern Ireland's journey throughout the 1950s under the managership of Peter Doherty, culminating in the 1958 World Cup.
Jimmy McIlroy Stand
Burnley's stadium, Turf Moor, has a stand named in McIlroy's honour. The stadium's eastern stand was rebuilt in the late 1990s after the Beehole End was demolished and was named the "Jimmy McIlroy Stand".
|Club||Season||Division||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other[A]||Total|
|Stoke City||1962–63||Second Division||18||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||18||6|
|Oldham Athletic||1965–66||Third Division||12||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||12||0|
|Oldham Athletic||1 January 1966||1 August 1968||122||46||26||50||37.70|
|Bolton Wanderers||1 November 1970||19 November 1970||2||0||0||2||0.00|
Scores and results list Northern Ireland's goal tally first.
|1||6 October 1956||Belfast, Northern Ireland||England||1–1||1957 British Home Championship|
|2||1 May 1957||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Portugal||3–0||1958 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|3||6 November 1957||London, UK||England||3–2||1958 British Home Championship|
|4||15 January 1958||Belfast, Northern Ireland||Italy||2–1||1958 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|5||15 October 1958||Madrid, Spain||Spain||2–6||Friendly match|
|6||5 November 1958||Glasgow, Scotland||Scotland||2–2||1959 British Home Championship|
|7||22 April 1959||Wrexham, Wales||Wales||4–1||1959 British Home Championship|
|8||3 May 1961||Athens, Greece||Greece||1–2||1962 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|9||10 May 1961||West Berlin, Germany||West Germany||1–2||1962 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|10||22 November 1961||London, UK||England||1–1||1962 British Home Championship|
- Stoke City
- Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN 0-9524151-0-0.
- Stoke City 101 Golden Greats. Desert Islands Books. 2002. ISBN 1-874287554.
- "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 19.
- BBC News
- BBC News
- Jimmy McIlroy profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)