Following his recent departure from Turf Moor, Tom Mackie speaks to me regarding his rise from work experience boy to retail manager.
After 12 years of dedication to his home-town club, the man behind bad beat bob pants and Dyche masks has sadly left as a result of the restructuring of the ticket office and club shop operations.
Tom, 29, started working at the home of Burnley Football Club aged 15 during two weeks work experience but officially started as a sales assistant in 2001. He rose through the ranks working in the club shop to become the man responsible for buying and deciding what type of stock the Club sold.
Claret & Blue builders hats, Burnley meerkats and more recently Claret onesies were all down to him.
Tom said: “We have sold products from gnomes and rubber ducks to onesies in the last year which was one of the fastest selling products at Christmas.”
I’ve known Tommy, as he’s affectionately known to his mates, for quite a few years now but I got to know him closely during the now famous Burnley to Britannia walk where he, his twin brother Toby, Dan Black, Phil Simpson & Andrew Greaves attempted and succeeded at walking to the first game in the Premier League away at Stoke City and in the process raised around £4000 for Pendleside Hospice.
“The walk was the brain child of Andrew and Phil. It was a great experience and one I will never forget.”
“I remember Greaves making our support driver go everywhere for things for him like caps, boots, sunscreen & ice.”
I can vouch for these comments because I was the support vehicle driver.
“The funniest moment was in Tesco on the second morning when a sock fell out of his shorts on to his trainers much to the dismay of the checkout girl and laughter from us. Let’s just say he had been using it to combat a ‘chaffing’ issue.”
He added: “Many people gave generously and not just Burnley fans. We even got money from the Stoke City players.”
I asked him what his favourite piece of club merchandise was.
“I would say the 1959/60 shirt we did in the premier league season was a favourite with many fans and also doing new retro shirts like the 1991/92 season for the One Night In York DVD.”
I also had the pleasure of being involved in the production of the One Night In York DVD that was an update of the old VHS of the 4th Division Championship winning season in 1992. Tom was the inspiration and the driving force behind it.
He was also one of the men behind the 100 years of Claret & Blue exhibition and the April Fool that had Jay Rodriguez modelling the “new” home strip made out of wool.
“The exhibition idea was mine, Anthony Fairclough’s, [director of commercial affairs] and Adam Riding’s [head of graphic design]. I loved trying to track down all the shirts and I must thank the fans that gave up theirs for this project. It was a great experience to be involved with.”
“I think the April fool idea came from Adam and Anthony along with Ray Simpson [club historian] who helped give advice and a write up on each season shirt for the booklet.”
After more than a decade in the same place of work it must be difficult for him to finally say goodbye.
“I made a lot of great friends at the Club and I hope to stay in contact with.”
He also got married last year and he and his wife are expecting their first child in September so it really is all things new in his life.
“It’s a place I will never forget especially because I met my wife there so it will always have a special piece of my heart. Our baby is due to be born in mid-September and I honestly can’t wait to be a dad.”
“On a personal note I would like to thank everyone who sent me emails, tweets and messages wishing me well on my new role.”
I wish him and his new family all the best for the future.