A point at Hillsborough as winter arrives
After the previous week’s fantastic home win against Wolves it was back on the road again for Burnley in 1959 and we faced a difficult game against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in a week when we saw a drastic change in the weather.
The hot, dry spell of late summer was still very much a talking point. A committee of enquiry had been set up by the town council to probe the reasons for the water shortage with Councillor Desmond Parkinson expressing hopes that the meetings would be held in public with the press present. Even in mid-November, at the beginning of this week, there were traces of that glorious summer still lingering with flowers blooming in the gardens, but on Friday the 13th, as Burnley supporters were making their final plans for Hillsborough, it all changed with shivers, snow and slush. Despite the sudden drop in temperatures and heavy snow falls we’d been fortunate. Nelson and Colne were both hit harder than Burnley whilst we’d certainly got away with the worst compared to some parts of Yorkshire. Even so, many telephone lines were down although the change of weather wasn’t going to prevent the game going ahead on the Saturday.
The headline news was that of the town’s home helps who had been left angered by their employers, Burnley Corporation Health Committee. They had, through their union representative Mrs M Sharpe, asked for a five day week with no Saturday morning work. The Corporation had retaliated and told the part time staff that they would be sacked if they didn’t go full time, and with half of the part time staff unable to do so it meant there could be job losses. Mrs Sharpe hit out. “This is a vicious act and it is being done simply out of pique because we have asked for the national agreement to be implemented,” she said.
This came just days after the town’s new MP, Mr Dan Jones, made is maiden speech in the House of Commons and said that Burnley people were unable to sleep at night because of worries over their jobs at the mills. But there was some good news with new jobs in Worsthorne where Taylor & Hartley (Textiles) Ltd. were set to start manufacturing the new ‘Shackleton’ fridge and kitchen gear at Gorple Mill. It was estimated that between 40 and 50 new jobs would be created and where possible would go to local men and women on a 50/50 basis with women predominating in the assembly department.
Two children as well as an ex-Claret had figured in court during the week. For one of those children, a four year old boy, it was his mum in front of the magistrates after an NSPCC inspector had been called to a Burnley house. He reported that he had found the mother under the influence of drink. There was smashed glass and crockery on the floor as a result of her throwing things at her estranged husband and he also confirmed that he found 78 empty gin, whisky or sherry bottles. The court concluded that the mother might have a drink problem. The boy was taken into care but arrangements were being made for him to live with his father and his father’s sister.
Meanwhile a fifteen year old boy was in the money and found himself answerable for his spending spree. He was found throwing away £150 in £5 notes, all of which had been stolen. He was in court for stealing £266 from his parents home and £500 in total. He’d spent £100 of it in three days at Blackpool (mainly on the pleasure beach) and had also handed some of it out to children in a cinema queue. He didn’t help himself in court. Asked whether he had anything to say, he replied: “No, sir,” and gave the same answer when asked if he had anything to tell the court about his future behaviour. He’d already been remanded for three weeks and he was detained for a further three weeks in a remand home.
The saddest court case of the week saw former Burnley wing half Reg Attwell tried for handling stolen goods. The court were told that Attwell had received no training for employment other than football and was currently unemployed. He pleaded guilty to receiving 105 sacks (value £8 2s 6d) knowing them to have been stolen. He was fined £20 for the offence and ordered to pay £2 2s advocate’s fee. Mr L. McNamee (presiding) told Attwell: “We think you are weak rather than wicked and because of that we are prepared to give you another chance and not send you to prison.”
As people looked to get healthier there were two choices of bread now available in town. Families were told they would thrive on Turog bread. There’s nothing quite so good they said. However if you wanted to be fitter you should choose Veget bread and drink Ferguzade glucose drinks.
It had been another good week for Burnley players with call ups for their countries. The England selectors had named John Connelly in the team to play Northern Ireland where he would have Jimmy McIlroy in opposition. Alex Elder had also been called up as a reserve for the Irish team. They were set to be joined for duty by a fourth Turf Moor colleague. It was the Lancashire FA’s turn to supply the Wembley ball boys and Burnley were asked to nominate a youngster. Charlie Govan, the 16 year old inside forward from the B team was the lucky candidate. Govan was one of two Northern Irish boys on the ground staff. The Scotland selectors had been at Turf Moor for the big win over Wolves. They overlooked Bobby Seith but Adam Blacklaw was called upon for their Under-23 game against Wales at Wrexham.
The club also reported that the Lancashire Senior Cup tie against Manchester City had been brought forward from Tuesday to Monday next week because of a possibility of the Wolverhampton Wanderers v Red Star Belgrade match being televised.
After that 4-1 win over Wolves a week earlier it was no surprise that Harry Potts was able to name an unchanged team on Thursday morning. That win against the Wanderers of Wolverhampton had done more to rouse enthusiasm among the Burnley customers that enquiries showed there would be one of the best followings for years at the Wednesday headquarters. Sheffield Wednesday had conceded only four goals at Hillsborough all season.
Those who watched Burnley make it five will not be surprised by the home record. In addition to having Ron Springett, the current England goalkeeper, as last line of resistance, and a very fine player, they command a defence who seem to have become so obsessed with their remarkable record as to adopt the motto, “They shall not pass.” Indeed, certain members appear to have added a subtitle, “Let them try at their peril”. The result was that the match proved to be one of the toughest engagements the Turf Moor team have had this season, and their point in a 1-1 draw was hard earned compensation for all the knocks and bruises.
The referee was inclined to take a lenient view of some of the tackling and obstructionist work of both defences, with Wednesday the greater culprits in the do or die engagement which developed after a shock start in which both goals were scored in the first fourteen minutes.
A friendly black dog introduced some early comedy by making a beeline from one corner of the pitch to the other to investigate a touchline tussle while the crowd started a whistle chorus. When referee Mr Leafe approached it the dog showed every sign of appreciation, wagging its white tipped tail, and then when a policeman approached it sat up and begged before being taken into custody.
Immediately the game restarted after this unexpected diversion the ball was swung over to Derek Wilkinson who chipped it back into the centre and a header from Keith ELLIS went in off the underside of the crossbar. This after three minutes. But a Brian Pilkington / Jimmy McIlroy move had Don Megson flustered on the Wednesday six yard line and when he failed to kill the centre Jimmy ROBSON nipped in and shot past the helpless Springett for an equaliser which brought joy to Burnley’s big following.
Burnley found it tough against the uncompromising Wednesday and were hindered by damage to Connelly in a hard, rushing tackle by Megson. McIlroy too, was subjected to an unrewarded tackle from Johnny Fantham with a hefty charge into the back which no doubt shook the Irishman down to his scheming feet and put a dampener on him for the rest of the afternoon. It was Fantham too, who gave a most un-opera like charge at Blacklaw who, leaping to a whizzing drive over the goal, swung on the crossbar like a circus turn, charitably lifting his feet as the Sheffield forward crashed into the net.
The game proved to be a real tussle. Corners were forced, three in succession to Burnley, then two more before Wednesday engaged in a furious attack. McIlroy engaged in a few time wasting cameos with Norman Curtis, Brian Pilkington and Tom McAnearney and then in a final last second bid for the winner, Ellis ever the trier, collided with Blacklaw, who again saved the situation and this time crashed and lay while the final whistle sounded.
The draw saw us slip one place to sixth in the table but it was very close. Blackburn were above us now on goal average, Spurs, who were top but were beaten by bottom of the league Luton, and Wolves had a point more whilst Preston and new leaders West Ham were two points ahead. There was no change at the bottom with Birmingham and Luton still in the relegation positions.
The teams were;
Sheffield Wednesday: Ron Springett, Norman Curtis, Don Megson, Tom McAnearney, Peter Swan, Tony Kay, Derek Wilkinson, Gerry Young, Keith Ellis, Johnny Fantham, Alan Finney.
Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Alex Elder, Bobby Seith, Brian Miller, Jimmy Adamson, John Connelly, Jimmy McIlroy, Ray Pointer, Jimmy Robson, Brian Pilkington.
Referee: Mr R. J. Leafe (Nottingham).
Attendance: 19, 283.
The reserves were back to winning ways after a spirited display against Aston Villa gave us a 3-0 win at Turf Moor. Andy Lochhead scored twice in the first twenty minutes to put Burnley in command and Ian Towers completed the scoring in the second half.
First Division Results
14th November 1959
Arsenal 1 West Ham 3
Blackburn 3 West Brom 2
Blackpool 2 Newcastle 0
Bolton 1 Manchester United 1
Everton 4 Birmingham 0
Fulham 1 Preston 2
Luton 1 Tottenham 0
Manchester City 1 Chelsea 1
Nottingham Forest 1 Leicester 0
Sheffield Wednesday 1 Burnley 1
Wolves 4 Leeds 2