A Good Friday against Leicester
Back in the 1959/60 season clubs still played three games in four days over Easter and Burnley got underway with a 1-0 Good Friday home win against Leicester City courtesy of a John Connelly goal.
There had already been one big sporting occasion in town, and what a success it had proved to be despite shocking weather. A Burnley marathon had been organised by Burnley Youth Council, headed by Mr Alan Billington, and no less than 97 young people took part in atrocious conditions. The marathon took runners across moorland and hill country from Burnley to Todmorden and Bacup before returning to Burnley. Throughout the race the weather didn’t relent as rain laden gale force winds swept across. Despite this no fewer than 55 completed the 23 mile course and there were congratulations for winner 17-year-old Brian Gildert a member of Sandygate Youth Club. He completed the course in a remarkable 2 hours, 53 minutes, 55 seconds. Brian enjoyed his sandwiches at the end of the race.
Mr Billington said of the event: “It will have silenced all the knockers of youth to see these gallant youngsters, soaked to the skin, limping through blisters and aching limbs, continuously refusing to give in and accept a lift in the transport provided for any emergency. The Beatniks and all the various sets can have their midnight parties when they are bored, but the majority of Burnley youth have found the real way of overcoming boredom by pitting themselves against odds such as these they encountered.”
There was more Easter fun for more youngsters too when twenty boys from Barden school, took a holiday in the heart of the Ardennes, accompanied by teachers Mr Turner and Mr Hall. For the boys it was a first ever trip abroad and they visited both Brussels and Luxembourg before enjoying a walking tour of the hill country of the Ardennes.
The row between the town’s MP and the President of the local Conservative party continued to brew. If you recall, Alderman Brooks of the Conservatives had told Dan Jones to keep his nose out of local issues. Jones retaliated and told Brooks that he intended to devote himself entirely to the people of Burnley. He said Brooks and his party should try to keep political discussion away from the level of the gutter.
Poor Mrs Edna Duffy. She had been summoned to court for not sending her daughter to school. A school attendant had previously visited her home where Mrs Duffy told him quite clearly: “She just refuses to go.” In court Mrs Duffy confirmed: “We have taken her to school many times. We have even put her on the bus but she gets off in the town centre. We have trailed all over Burnley looking for her on a number of occasions.” Mr G. Parkinson, presiding, asked: “Where is she now?” “She is at home, she will not go to school,” said Mrs Duffy who was fined 10 shillings by the magistrates.
Former Burnley player Jack Butterfield, whose career was brought to a premature end in the early 50s by injury, was presented with a wrist watch when he left his position of sports organiser for Lucas to take up a position with Massey’s Brewery.
The first Easter game, before Leicester’s visit to Turf Moor, was between the married men and the single men of the Knights of St. Columba (KSC). It was a fixture with a difference with players of both teams wearing bowler hats and carrying umbrellas. Both teams, it was said, had plenty of fun.
With Bobby Seith no longer considered available to manager Mr Harry Potts, he named what was Burnley’s strongest team with Tommy Cummings now restored at centre-half, flanked by Jimmy Adamson (right-half) and Brian Miller (left-half). Leicester came to Turf Moor with a fine away record with just one defeat in their last ten away fixtures. That included victories against such opposition as Wolves and Tottenham, but in this rugged encounter they never looked like adding Burnley to their list of successes, even though the margin of their defeat was narrow.
Burnley were on top for long spells and should have won by a greater margin. The defence was in good form and the forwards, playing at times with inspiration, deserved more success than John Connelly’s eighth-minute goal. Several good chances were frittered away by that one move too many and by unsteadiness in front of goal.
Burnley’s swift moving forward line often worried the visiting defenders who, towards the close, were tackling in sheer desperation whilst the most inspired man in the Leicester defence was centre half Tony Knapp, who was kept busy by a roving Jimmy McIlroy and Ray Pointer who was however, in rather subdued mood, only showing brief spasms of his lightening thrusts.
The only goal came from one of the best moves of the game. An inter-passing bout between Brian Pilkington and Jimmy Robson resulted in a short ball to CONNELLY who had intelligently moved into the centre, and the England winger cracked in a shot just out of the reach of Gordon Banks’s groping fingers. It was Connelly’s 20tthleague goal of the season.
When Leicester did attack Tommy Cummings was a power in the Burnley defence, receiving excellent support from John Angus and Adam Blacklaw. The goalkeeper made spectacular saves from an attacking line which chose more often than not to shoot from well outside the penalty box.
The game ended on an amusing note for the crowd, if not for Connelly, when the outside-right, in a desperate bid to increase Burnley’s lead, was lying injured. Referee McCoy did not see his prostrate figure in the Leicester penalty area, nor did he appear to hear the shouts and whistles of the crowd as play veered towards the Burnley goal. A young lady supporter (undoubtedly a fan of the injured outside-right) could not suppress her anxiety for the winger and climbed the boundary wall and ran to him, only to be shooed back to her place in the stand. The final whistle went seconds later with Connelly receiving attention as he was assisted off the field.
The teams were;
Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Alex Elder, Jimmy Adamson, Tommy Cummings, Brian Miller, John Connelly, Jimmy McIlroy, Ray Pointer, Jimmy Robson, Brian Pilkington.
Leicester: Gordon Banks, Len Chalmers, Willie Cunningham, Frank McLintock, Tony Knapp, Colin Appleton, Tommy McDonald, Albert Cheesebrough, Ken Leek, James Walsh, Gordon Wills.
Referee: Mr M. McCoy (Doncaster).
It was almost as you were at the top. Tottenham also won whilst Wolves, not in action on Good Friday, had won earlier in the week. We had gone back up to third however after Newcastle held Sheffield Wednesday to a draw. Luton climbed off the bottom of the table with a win against Blackburn, who were now down as far as 15th in the table. Even so, it was still looking as though Luton and Leeds were the most likely candidates for relegation. They were both two points behind Birmingham with worse goal averages, and Luton had played two games more.
Burnley would be at home again a day later against struggling Luton, who we hoped would not be revitalised after their surprise win against Blackburn, and we would then complete the Easter fixtures with the return against Leicester.
First Division Results
11th April 1960
Wolves 5 West Ham 0
15th April 1960
Arsenal 2 Fulham 0
Blackburn 0 Luton 2
Burnley 1 Leicester 0
Chelsea 1 Tottenham 3
Everton 4 Blackpool 0
Manchester City 1 Bolton 0
Newcastle 3 Sheffield Wednesday 3
West Ham 2 Manchester United 1