It was a glorious, sunny day and I ended up sitting on the old Longside looking around and thinking this could be the last League game the club ever have.
The feelings of foreboding that season had not come overnight but the danger was very real that if they did go down, they might never have come back.
I had been there as a kid from 1970 to 1975, gone, come back for two years between 1978 and 1980 and then gone and come back again in 1986, so the place was in me and we were all worried even if we tried not to show it.
By the afternoon, it was clear crowds were enormous and the police were struggling to get everyone in. Official figures say that there were over 15,000 there. I reckon there was nearly double that.
The Longside alone held 16,000 and that day I reckon 30,000 were crammed in.
James Leighton was part of the Burnley side that survived on the final day back in 1987
James Leighton played 54 times for Wales
We were under no illusions either given the attendance that season had averaged under 3,000. We knew most of them were there to be able to say ‘I saw Burnley’s last game in the League’.
Whatever their motivation, they couldn’t get them all in and as a result we kicked off quarter of an hour late which proved crucial.
Just into the second half we went 2-0 up, Ian Britton heading home to add to Neil Grewcock’s first half opener, and the clock was ticking. Twenty to, quarter to five and then ten to came and we were still playing.
It was the crowd who gave us the result from the other game – it didn’t come through the tannoy or anything – and we knew Lincoln had lost 2-0 to Swansea. There was about eight minutes left in our game when Orient scored.
Amazingly George Courtney was the referee for the game. Think about it: a world class referee put in charge of a bottom of the table division four match? In fact our last two home games were refereed by Keith Hackett and George.
Top 10 greatest FA Cup upsets of all-time
Fri, January 8, 2016
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
Express Sport takes a look at the top 10 FA Cup upsets of all-time
1 of 10
Non-league Sutton United had reason to celebrate in 1989 when they eliminated top flight Coventry in the third round thanks to goals from Tony Hains and Matthew Hanlan
You could ask what were they doing refereeing fourth division games and I have my suspicions given we were one of the founding members of the Football League.
However, with nerves fraying and the minutes ticking down, there was a goal kick at our end, it went up and there were a couple of headers and it went off for a throw in their half.
I turned to George Courtney and said: ‘How long to go because you see that lot up there [pointing to the Longside], they are coming on in a minute or two George and if the score stays the same they will be in a good mood’.
If Orient score though, I had added, and we go down, they are coming on all the same and they might not be. I remember he looked at me with the whistle in is lips and the next thing we know he’s blown. I reckon it was half a minute early but it got the game over.
Back in the dressing room everyone was just drained. Some of the younger lads went out, some just went to their locals. I just went home. It wasn’t a day of celebration for me it was just a day of relief.
You felt for Lincoln but 12 months later we were stepping out at Wembley against Wolves in the Sherpa Vans Trophy and the revival had started. When you look at where Burnley are today it’s amazing given how close we came to the end.