Now it’s goodbye Frank Teasdale
Monday was last day of the Transfer Window and we watched in anticipation; Tuesday was away at Sheffield Wednesday and Saturday home to Hull City. These are the weeks when it’s great to be a football fan with barely time to think. It’s all a much-needed antidote to Call-me-Dave’s European posturing, Trump’s trumpeting and the world’s glum news.
9 p.m. Sunday saw us all optimistic that Alex Pritchard was on his way, generally agreed to be a good signing; the local Hacks tweeting various positive stuff. Any deals for James Tarkowski or Alan Judge had faded into inconspicuousness. It seemed reasonable to assume that if promotion really was a serious target that Burnley might pay a serious price for any player they really wanted. But if two of them were Tarkowski and Judge, those deals had vanished into obscurity.
With £10million+ being spent at Gawthorpe and more millions being spent on new office blocks and retail come ticketing blocks, clearly these were the big priorities. But with the money to come from the Ings tribunal, it seemed reasonable to think that the jar on the mantelpiece still had a fair bit in it to make available.
10 p.m. Sunday night came the word that any Pritchard deal had been scuppered by West Brom and instead of a medical at Burnley on Monday; he’d be having one at the Hawthorns. You could hear the groans on all the messageboards as with just one day to go, yet again it looked like another window when clear targets would be missed.
The messages from the club during the month were as ever the same: they wouldn’t pay over the odds, missed deals wouldn’t be for the lack of trying, these things were like a jigsaw puzzle with so many pieces to fit together and any one of them missing would scupper the move, they were last minute so often because of the way the chain of people, players and clubs had to be completed, but so much could go wrong at the last minute.
But wait: 10 30 p.m. later still on Sunday night, Stuart James of the Guardian tweeted that Tarkowski was due at Burnley for a medical after a £3million fee agreed. The story grew a little; somebody knew a waiter at a local hotel and had spotted him there. Meanwhile other people were asking do we really need anybody as we are playing so well.
Monday a.m. and the SKY info bar says that Tarkowski is having a medical at Turf Moor. Twitter sources say we are still in for the Northampton goalkeeper Adam Smith.
Chris Boden tweets that it looks like Tarkowski is the only possible business for Burnley today; another tweet suggests that one fan has had his picture taken with him outside the club shop. Just one small problem there, the club shop has been demolished. Perhaps they mean the temporary shop.
Monday 11 a.m. depart for Wetherby, switch off SKY Sports News wondering if when we get back what news there will be. Car nearly blown off road but we battle on.
Monday 11.am: return from Wetherby and switch on SKY Sports news. There is no news.
Nobody has posted a picture on twitter of Tarkowski outside any club shop. But the newest story was that Middlesbrough and Burnley were battling to sign Graham Dorrans from Norwich City. Just at the minute when I’m wondering what’s happening with Tarkowski; Don Goodman is on the SKY sofa discussing the move and says what a good move it will be for both player and Burnley if it is concluded. Jim White is in the building we are told by one of the totties with a large chest. It seems to be a pre-requisite of all these SKY cuties that they have large chests.
Monday 4 25 p.m. just seen him coming out of Padiham Medical Centre said David Hartley on FB, adding ‘honest’ minutes later.
How long does a medical take, people are asking? Just as I type, up it comes on SKY: James Tarkowski completes medical ahead of move to Burnley. We watch a couple of Frasiers; you can only watch SKY Sports News for so long. Burnley officially announced the signing and within minutes, sadly, the news of the death of former chairman, Frank Teasdale.
Frank Teasdale became chairman when the club was hundreds of thousands in debt and losing thousands more every week. The supply of talent had dried up, any decent players had been sold, the reserve team disbanded, and the scouting system and youth teams had to be pruned. He shepherded the club through the leanest years in its history and at the time received few if any thanks, in fact receiving constant abuse for problems that fans laid at his door. Things were financially dire during his tenancy until Jimmy Mullen with what was essentially Frank Casper’s team, at last got the club out of the old Fourth Division. You can argue that this was the beginning of the long road back to where we are today.
Before that though there was the traumatic Orient game in ’87 to sit through and who knows what went through his mind in the hours before the game kicked off. The club at that point was penniless but that awful day acted as a catalyst and woke up the town that then realised their club had almost exited the league. Astonishingly, Frank was at Wembley a year later for a Cup Final, Sherpa not FA of course, but a wonderful day out all the same for the club.
Roger Eli in ‘Thanks for the Memories,’ tells a nice story about him. After the success of ‘91/92, the team and Frank went to Bermuda to the Sonesta Beach Hotel. Frank had been through the torture of the Orient game and all the aggro and abuse hurled at him towards the end of Frank Casper’s reign, especially the Scarborough game. After York City, he had 10 days of enjoyment.
‘What a time we had in Bermuda. We took to going out with another group there on the motor bikes they’d hired. For one trip I had to nip up to my room to get some money. Up in the lift I went, still wearing my black helmet with the visor pulled down. Going out on a motor bike was a strict no-no for a footballer back then. If I remember right it was in the contract and a sackable offence. Then Teasdale got in. Bloody hell I thought, what if he knows who I am? I kept quiet, turned my head away, kept the visor down and let Mike Conroy do the talking. He won’t know who I am, I convinced myself. Up the lift went to my floor and out I got confident he didn’t know who I was. Hell, I’ve got away with it I thought.’
‘Be careful on that bike Roger,’ said Frank with a grin. If it was a film it would have been one of those sublime comedy moments.
‘He was an entertaining chap when he was relaxed. But I found out how stubborn he could be in the boardroom one summer when I was in a contract dispute that involved the PFA. There were definitely two Frank Teasdales; the hard-faced one who sat behind the desk, and the smiley-faced one in social settings when there was a bit of a laugh to be had.’
From the brink of non-league football in ’87 to the club that Burnley FC is today: a club that has experienced two spells in the Premier League, is now embarking on a £10million+ programme at Gawthorpe, is investing hugely in infrastructure, has a massively active Community Department, can spend £6million on a striker, and then a reported £3million on a centre-half; Frank Teasdale contributed to all this by keeping things going, despite the sit down demonstrations, the chants and mockery, all based on fans’ perceptions and frustrations that the club was going nowhere.
And yet: we owe Frank Teasdale a huge debt of thanks for keeping a sinking ship afloat and then when it was merely drifting, trying, with very little money, to give it some direction. His thumbprint was firmly on two key springboards, the promotion at York, and the promotion at Scunthorpe. It was Frank that appointed Stan Ternent, an appointment that was vindicated when Stan then went on to take the club to the championship.
He had so many tales to tell, by the bar he would chat away, but there were so many big questions to ask him; alas we will never know the answers that only he would have known. Sadly, he was always reticent about being interviewed and that was a pity. His was a good story filled with drama.
Sean D meanwhile had been thinking about footie boots. During any game you can sit and stare in wonderment at the garish colours that players wear today a million miles away from what we wore as kids years ago. When ah were a lad and barely a teenager my first pair were thick, stiff, brown, ankle high monsters with studs that were nailed in. It was like wearing clogs. No amount of dubbin, spit or polish would soften those things. I was 15 when I got something that vaguely resembled something comfortable but even then, boots were like Model T Ford cars, you could have any colour as long as it was black. But they at least had aluminium screw-in studs that went clip-clop went you went down Ferney Lee Road to the park.
So: Sean D was musing about boots the other day and in the boot room there was one wall where all the boots were black (staff) and one wall that looked like a rainbow (players). He says he began work in the Dunlop Factory in Kettering and his first pair were factory rejects that his mother got for 3 quid. He always cleaned his boots meticulously even taking the laces out to wash them. He said there wasn’t much else to do in Kettering. The ones he really wanted were £44, 1978 World Cup Adidas boots but at that price, that was the end of that. He coated the studs with Vaseline. As a player the only freebies he ever got were a few bits and bobs when Chesterfield got to the FA Cup semi-finals; his boots from that game are somewhere in his garage.
And so to Sheffield, the ground where you can take a bloody big drum in that gives everyone a migraine and bang it all night, but not a Tupperware box for your sandwiches, these have to go in your pocket. Not that it was our sandwich box but a chum came across and urged me to write that at Sheffield, for some bizarre reason Tupperware is banned and the stewards took his away. Fortunately, we’d eaten our sarnies in the car. We then pondered all night on the dangers of Tupperware. We wondered if the stewards have Tupperware detectors under their yellow coats. Perhaps they should erect big warning signs THIS IS A TUPPERWATE FREE ZONE. In truth we were bemused, let’s be honest if you’re going to throw something at somebody; what possible harm can Tupperware do? I can well remember the Tupperware parties my mother used to throw and none ever ended in a riot.
Both managers were satisfied with the point each at Sheffield. Before the game both sets of supporters would probably have taken the point. But as it progressed, both sets of supporters probably felt that the game was there to be won if either side had stepped up a gear. Burnley certainly didn’t with Sean D adding to the consensus that in the final third this was a night when it was more fumble than rumble and more bore than roar.
Burnley scored very early and then totally controlled the first half; if Arfield had kept his shot down from Boyd’s cross instead of skying it over the bar, and the score had gone to 2-0, you’d have been hard pushed to think Burnley could possibly lose this game. A Vokes header that was going in was scrambled away somehow by the keeper.
Instead the game remained 1-0 so that when Sheffield scored early in the second half and then more or less controlled the second half until very late on when Burnley rallied a little, it was their supporters who saw the game was there for the taking. And indeed it was had they upped their game a little as Burnley became more and more sluggish during the first 30 minutes of the half.
Things changed a little when the ineffective Boyd was taken off and Taylor came on with the latter providing decent crosses, one of them so perfect that it evaded the Wednesday keeper, plopped invitingly at Vokes’ feet by the far post as if guided by sensors, screamed (as we did) to be slotted home, but somehow Vokes’ feet seemed mesmerised and the chance was gone. Quite how he missed it we need replays to work out. We stood or sat heads in hands quite incredulous, quite disbelieving that it was still 1-1. Then in the very final minute the ball fell to Hennings. He shot straight at Westwood. Again we groaned.
A point then is better than nowt I suppose and how miserable we would have been driving home had we lost, on a night that got colder and damper by the minute. To my delight there was still one bacon sandwich in the box (Tupperware for the use of) in the car which Mr T let me have, for it really belonged to her. We sped home reasonably happy with the point but still picturing the cross from Taylor, as accurate as a guided missile, and wondering what Vokes’ feet were thinking about.Share this page :