Thomas Blundell Burnett was the secretary of the original Southport FC from their establishment in 1881 until their demise in the summer of 1886, and captain of the side that took to the field against Bootle ‘second’ in the first association game ever played, on 12th November 1881. We believe that it is most likely that after heavy defeats as a Rugby club, the encouragement to change to Association Football from Rugby may have come from the former Welsh International goalkeeper who lived in Southport (99 Railway Street). It’s interesting to note that whilst an international goalkeeper only a few years earlier, he actually played outfield in Southport’s first association game, leaving the keeping role to the popular Squire Platt.
After the merger with Southport Wanderers he was temporarily replaced as secretary by W Kay (of the Wanderers) before being reinstated upon the creation of the newly formed Southport Central in 1888.
Burnett was also a playing member and secretary of Southport Cricket Club.
On 5th March 1877 He won his one and only international football cap, playing as Goalkeeper for Wales in their first ever home international match, losing 2-0 to Scotland.
In 1883 he penned a letter to the Manchester Courier and General Lancashire Advertiser stating the clubs intentions to hold one match a season where the gate money would be paid to the infirmary, requesting that other clubs followed suit. It is believes that this directly led to the establishment of the Southport Charity Cup. This was a significant development for Football in the town. with the exception of the English and Lancashire Cups, these were the only competitive fixtures on offer.
A resident of the Grange, Gores Lane, Freshfield, he passed away on 22nd October 1918 at the Cottage Hospital in Buxton aged 66. He and wife Jemima are buried together in the grounds of St Peter’s church in the parish of Formby.