Skip to main content

Jack Burnett

One of the leading “backs” of his generation, Jack Burnett won a plethora of honours, in what turned out to be a tragically short footballing career…

Name: John Burnett (Burnette on birth certificate)
Born: 13 October 1871*, Belfast
Died: 26 November 1952 (aged 81)
Position: Half-Back

Representative Honours: Ireland: 5 Full Caps (1894-1895); Irish League: 6 Caps (1894-1896)
Cub Honours: (with Distillery) Irish Cup Winner 1893/94; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1892/93; Belfast Charities Cup Runner-Up 1892/93; (with Glentoran) Irish Cup Runner-Up 1895/96.

Club Career:
FA Cup
* all competitive games

Jack Burnett was born, and lived his entire life, in the Grosvenor Road area of Belfast. Perhaps unsurprisingly he first came to the fore with Distillery in the early 1890s, helping them to three major finals, and two successes. In 1894 he set-up two goals, including a late winner, in a 3-2 Irish Cup Final Replay victory over Linfield.

That same season he won the first of five international caps, in a 4-1 defeat by Wales in Swansea, Distillery team-mate Olphie Stanfield scoring Ireland’s consolation. A week later however, Burnison starred in a 2-2 draw with England at Solitude. The team were “chaired” off the pitch in celebration of the feat – it was the first time Ireland had avoided defeat in 13 matches with England!

Burnett left Distillery for Glentoran in the summer of 1894, adding a further two caps to his total while at the Oval – England avenging their previous embarrassment with a 9-0 win, and Wales being held to a 2-2 draw at Solitude. The following season Burnett captained the Irish League, leading them to a 2-2 draw against the Football League in Stoke, and a 3-2 defeat by the Scottish League in Glasgow. That season the Irish League also played a club side for the first time, losing out 5-1 to Liverpool at Anfield.

The 1895/96 season also saw Burnett appear in another Irish Cup Final, finishing on the end of a 3-1 defeat to his old club, Distillery. During the same campaign he also scored his only senior goal in Glens colours, the opener in a 4-1 City Cup win over Cliftonville.

Jack Burnett suffered a “serious accident” which ended his career in 1896, and Glentoran held off-field testimonial events for his benefit during the 1896/97 season.

Ireland Cap Details:
24-02-1894 Wales... A L 1-4 BC
03-03-1894 England. H D 2-2 BC
31-03-1894 Scotland H L 1-2 BC
09-03-1895 England. A L 0-9 BC
16-03-1895 Wales... H D 2-2 BC

Summary: 5/0. Won 0, Drew 2, Lost 3.

* Previously date of birth thought to be 18 July 1871 in Ballymena.