Leeholme, Bishop Auckland, County Durham born goalkeeper Mick Burns began his football career with Chilton Colliery Recreation Athletic in 1926 and signed for First Division Newcastle United for £100 in September 1927, making his Football League debut against Blackburn Rovers the following month. He made 10 appearances during his debut season as understudy to Willie Wilson, but the following season he made 30 appearances during Newcastle’s campaign, his most in a single season during nine seasons at St James’ Park, taking over from Wilson in early November and keeping the gloves until the season end,
However the arrival of Albert McInroy again relegated Burns to an auxiliary role, and although he was not selected for Newcastle’s 1932 FA Cup Final triumph, he did play as they lost to Everton in the FA Charity Shield match at St James’ Park in October that year, Dixie Dean netting four goals past him. After 108 appearances for The Toon he was sold to Preston North End for £400 in July 1936, where he was understudy to Harry Holdcroft, but with Holdcroft injured Burns played in their FA Cup semi final win over West Bromwich Albion at Highbury and in the 1937 FA Cup Final, which they lost 3-1 to Sunderland at Wembley, although Holdcroft returned to the gloves a year later as Preston won the 1938 Final.
After 16 appearances for Preston he joined newly elected Ipswich Town in May 1938 and was an ever present in their first League season of 1938-39, the final season before the outbreak of the Second World War forced the 1939-40 League season to be abandoned after 3 matches. Burns returned to Portman Road after the War and missed only one match in the first post war season, and despite losing his place in 1948 he persevered to win back the gloves in 1950, when he missed only 3 matches in the 1950-51 season. He played his last match of 174 for Ipswich in the Third Division (South) on 6th October 1951 – he is still among the oldest players ever to have appeared in the Football League having been 121 days past his 43rd birthday when he bowed out.
NB although published while at Ipswich Town, the image appears to show Burns playing for Preston in the 1937 FA Cup Final at Wembley.