Mike Burton

Photo:Mike Burton

Mike Burton

By Gary Little

Michael Alan "Mike" Burton,born 18 December 1945 in Maidenhead won a reputation as an uncompromising prop forward for Gloucester, England and the British Lions. The tight-head prop, forming one of the most formidable partnerships with Phil Blakeway that has ever packed down at Kingsholm

Mike was one of a number of players to be nurtured by local club Longlevens. He made his debut in the Gloucester front row at the age of 18 on the 14th of November 1964. He went on to make 360 appearances before retiring in 1978.

Mike was captain of Gloucester in 1975 but he also played 40 times at provincial level for Gloucestershire in the county championship winning it four times. He played in the clubs cup winning teams in the John Player Cup at Twickenham in 1972 against Moseley and in 1978 against Leicester.

He toured South Africa with an undefeated England side in 1972 and was a member of the test team that defeated the Springboks on Ellis Park 18-9. England took him on the tours of New Zealand in 1973 and Australia in 1975 where he became the first Englishman to be sent off at international level.

In the second test against Australia ("The Battle of Brisbane") Burton was sensationally sent off after just three minutes by local Queensland referee Bob Burnett for a late tackle on the Australian winger Doug Osborne. In 1974 Burton toured South Africa again this time as a member of Willie John McBride's invincible British Lions team. He won a total of seventeen England caps and represented the famous invitational club The Barbarians on eight occasions.

His autobiogaphy Never Stay Down tells of a tough upbringing in post war Britain and his single minded determination to succeed.

After retiring from rugby he became a successful businessman and kept a close relationship with the club living within the area with his wife Patricia (married 1967).

This page was added by Gary Little on 26/06/2009.
Comments about this page

I can remember the pre-season training during Mike's year as captain. A coach arrived outside the ground and some of us thought it was an 'away trip'. Little did we know, Mike had us running up and down Robinswood Hill for a couple of hours before telling us the bus had already returned and "the club is about 5 miles that way". If your bike went missing from the Matson area one summer's evening in 1974, this might have something to do with it. Always a laugh when Mike was in charge!

By Martyn Hargreaves
On 02/01/2011

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