Colin Blant

By Tony Scholes
Last updated : 16 June 2013

Date and Place of Birth

7th October 1946 - RAWTENSTALL

 

Transfers to and from Burnley

amateur then pro - August 1964

to PORTSMOUTH - April 1970 (£5,000)

 

First and Last Burnley Games

SHREWSBURY TOWN (a) - 2nd September 1966

 

COVENTRY CITY (h) - 15th November 1969

 

Other Clubs

----------------------------------------

PORTSMOUTH, ROCHDALE, DARLINGTON,

GRIMSBY TOWN, WORKINGTON

 

 

Burnley Career Stats

 

Season League   FA Cup   League Cup   Others   Total  
                     
  apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls
1966/67 10 4 - - 1 - - - 11 4
1967/68 5(3) - - - - - - - 5(3) -
1968/69 30(4) 3 2 1 6 1 - - 38(4) 5
1969/70 1 - - - - - - - 1 -
                     
Total 46(7) 7 2 1 7 1 - - 55(7) 9

 

Profile by Tony Scholes

 

Colin Blant played in just over fifty league games for Burnley. He was a regular in the team in only one season and yet he's a player that has been remembered fondly by Burnley supporters ever since despite it now being well over forty years since he left Turf Moor.

He was almost a player with two Burnley careers. The first was as a centre forward who, in fairness, never really looked equipped for First Division football, and that was followed by a run in the team at centre half during which time he became popular with the Burnley fans of the time.

The Rawtenstall born Blant arrived at Burnley as a teenager from Rossendale United, initially as an amateur before signing a professional contract ahead of the 1964/65 season at a time when he was just 17.

He moved up through the junior teams and during his second season at Burnley he became a regular in the reserve team, but better was to come in 1966/67 when he finally took the step up into the first team.

His debut came in the League Cup at Shrewsbury in September 1966 but it was an injury to Northern Ireland international that gave him his first chance in the league. Willie broke his leg in an FA Cup replay at Everton and in the next league game Les Latcham was tried at centre forward.

A week later, with Manchester United the visitors, Blant was handed the number nine shirt. We drew the game 1-1 with Gordon Harris scoring from the penalty spot but we didn't have to wait long for Blant to record his first goals.

One week later, with the team having returned from a Fairs Cup win against Napoli in Italy, Blant scored both goals in a 2-0 win at Blackpool and followed that up a week later with our goal in a 2-1 home defeat against Chelsea.

He played ten of the last fifteen league games of that season and added one more goal, our last of the season in a 1-1 home draw against Everton.

It was certainly not an introduction to a regular place in the team. Irvine was fit again by the start of the next season and to add competition we'd splashed out in the transfer market for the first time in eight years with the capture of Frank Casper from Rotherham.

That meant limited appearances during the next season but this was the season when his career changed. Playing regularly in the reserves he was tried in the centre of defence and even won a place, for three games, in the first team in his new position.

The best was still to come and that was the 1968/69 season when he established himself as the first choice centre half alongside Colin Waldron who had been signed from Chelsea early in the previous season.

When manager Harry Potts gave some of the younger players a chance after some poor results they went on a run of eight consecutive wins, a club record. Blant played in all those games and even managed to score a couple of goals during the run.

Playing in attack he was always a bit of a timid player but it was as if there had been some personality change when he switched to defence and he quickly earned himself a reputation as a hard man.

In one particular game against Liverpool at Anfield, played on Boxing Day, he was targeted by the Kop because of some of his, shall we say, industrial challenging for the ball. The home fans didn't like it and let him know.

Just a few weeks later we booked ourselves a return there in the FA Cup. Concerned that he might suffer in the same way again, coach Jimmy Adamson issued a warning to the Liverpool supporters. "The louder you boo Colin Blant the better he plays," he said. We lost that cup tie, controversially, the Kop cheered Blant's every kick and he had a poor game.

Once he'd won his place that season he never relinquished it but, somewhat surprisingly, his first team career at Burnley was all but over. He played only one first team game in the 1969/70 season as Adamson eventually wrestled control from Potts, and at the end of that season, knowing his chances of playing further were slight, he decided to move on and signed for Portsmouth.

Right back Fred Smith moved there at the same time and with Ray Pointer also playing his football for Pompey it proved to be a good a move and Blant enjoyed two good seasons at Fratton Park before deciding to head back to Lancashire and to Rochdale.

He'd been a virtual regular first team player and some years later, speaking in an interview with the local press in Portsmouth he described his decision to leave as regrettable and the worst decision he made in his career.

There was still mileage in the tank. He played over 50 games for Rochdale and then signed for Darlington where he appeared almost a century of times and there were to be two more clubs in what proved to be his last season in 1976/77.

He started that season with Grimsby but quickly moved on to Workington. It was the last season of league football for both club and player.

Workington had been elected to the league in 1951, replacing New Brighton. In 1976/77 they won only four games all season and ended the season at the bottom of the league. They applied for re-election along with Halifax, Hartlepool and Southport but were unsuccessful and were replaced by Wimbledon.

Faced with non-league football, Workington released Blant at the end of the season and he retired from the game, returning home to the Rossendale Valley where he initially became a newsagent.

He was back at Turf Moor in December 2011 for our home game against Portsmouth, a game won 1-0 by the second team he played for.

I don't think too many will recall his first team appearances at centre forward too much but supporters, and a few injured opponents, will certainly remember him for the season he was our first choice central defender.

Burnley Match Reports

Premier League Sat 21st September 14:00

Burnley 2 - 0 Norwich City

Last game - Match Centre


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