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The 2019/20 season tickets went on sale months ago. There are the likes of early bird prices and direct debits now, but sixty years ago, ahead of the 1959/60 season, they didn’t go on sale until one week before the first league game of the season. With the public practice match between the Clarets and the Whites ready to take place on the Saturday afternoon just seven days before the big kick off, the club announced that season tickets would go on sale at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday 15th August.

coe whites homeThere were no computerised sales and there was no ticket office. Supporters were advised to buy them from the secretary’s office just inside the main door of the Brunshaw Road stand until 12:30 p.m. after which they would be on sale at Mrs Blakey’s house across the road from 2:00 p.m. Mrs Blakey, whose son Peter worked at Burnley Football Club and later became the physiotherapist at Manchester City during the Mercer/Allison reign of the late 60s, had a pile of season ticket books on her sideboard and you just knocked on the door, paid her your money and got your book. At busy times she would open her sash window and use the window sill as a counter as queues formed.

Now the Clarets v Whites was generally the only public match played by Burnley ahead of a season. There were no pre-season tours as such and no big friendlies announced, not even to raise money for the cash needy such as we did for Bury and Accrington Stanley a few years ago. This was Clarets v Whites; the Clarets were the first team and the Whites were the reserves.

Transfer news wasn’t quite what it was then either. Transfer windows were unheard of and the signing of players from other clubs at Burnley was a very rare event. There had, however, been some news that we might be interested in signing John Kelly who played for Third Lanark in Scotland. Ahead of the game, manager Harry Potts spoke of the link and said: “We heard that Kelly was going to live in Manchester and so I asked Third Lanark if we could give him a trial. Their manager said that he did not object, but he would have to see his directors before permission could be given. Since then I have heard nothing.”

The purpose of the practice match was, according to the Burnley Express, to give supporters an opportunity of watching the boys and infusing into them, if they need it, an enthusiasm for the forthcoming season. On this occasion the reserves, even when including substitutes, which were still six years away in competitive football, had no answer to the first team who were easy winners. It was only 2-1 at half time. Tommy Cummings and Ray Pointer raced the first team into the lead before Ian Towers pulled one back before half time. The second half saw another three goals, this time all to the first team. John Connelly hit two and Jimmy Robson completed the scoring.

The supporters, some clutching their new season ticket books, were delighted with the performance of the first team and there were hopes that we could at least do as well as in the previous season, when we had finished seventh, if not even better.

There were seven days to the opening day game at Leeds but there was one more game to play before then. We had arranged to play a friendly against Glentoran in Belfast on the following Monday. This game was part of the deal that had seen reserve team left-back, teenager Alex Elder, sign for Burnley earlier in the year.

The teams for the public practice were;

Clarets: Blacklaw, Angus, Cummings, Seith, Miller, Adamson, Connelly, McIlroy, Pointer, Robson, Pilkington.

Whites: Furnell (Dicken), Marshall, Elder, Cockburn (Weir), Talbut, Joyce, Meredith, White, Lochhead (Rawson), Fenton (McAuley), Towers (Lenton).

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