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St. George’s Day 1960 proved, in the end, to be a good day for Burnley. Despite a late equaliser giving Blackpool a point against us, the top two, Wolves and Tottenham met, with leaders Wolves going down to defeat at Molineux.

The few days after Easter had brought sun to the town with three days of cloudless skies. With the children still on school holiday they were flocking to the town’s attractions. Some enjoyed a breathtaking ride on the swing boats at Pendle Gardens but the biggest attraction of them all was once again the paddling pool in Thompson Park, always one of the most popular places in Burnley for children in good weather.

>With recollections of the water problems in 1959 it was good news to hear that all the town’s reservoirs were now full, and with water so plentiful again it wasn’t a disaster when a 12″ water main supplying a large part of town burst for the third time in three months. Residents in Lane Head were advised to store up sufficient reserve of water for 24 hours to allow the repair to be carried out and acting water manager Mr S. T. Greenwood, who had replaced the retired Jack Shepherd, said: “As it is not wasting a terrific amount of water we decided to give consumers a chance to draw off reserves before moving in with our repair unit.” The repair went to plan and within hours those Lane Head residents had their full water supply restored.

Well done to Mr & Mrs Hargreaves of Cliviger who, despite both being in their 80s, had plucked up the courage to go on their first flights to visit their son Clifford in Canada. Clifford had done well for himself since leaving these shores at the age of 23 in 1926 but had never forgotten his parents and had written to them every week. Given a clean bill of health by the doctor the Cliviger couple were looking forward to seeing not only their son Clifford, but for the first time their grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The damaged train

Burnley Grammar School’s new premises were just a few months old but already there had been vandalism with a number of instances of damage to property. Because of this letters were sent to all parents, attached to the boys’ school reports, requesting them ‘to exercise due diligence over their children with an indication of the serious consequences attached to any pupil being found responsible for causing deliberate damage, and which might lead to suspension from school’. The letter was sent from headmaster Mr D. Hewitt after being authorised by the Director of Education Mr R. O. Beeston who said: “There have been several instances of minor damages for which there appears to be no excuse.” I shudder to think what Messrs Hewitt and Beeston would think sixty years on if they were here to visit school premises now.

That wasn’t the only act of vandalism to be reported during the week, but the other brought together the police forces of Preston, Blackburn and Burnley as all hell broke loose on a return train from the coast. The late train home from Blackpool was seriously damaged when hundreds of teenagers and under-25s made the first class accommodation coaches look like cattle wagons. The train was a 10-carriage corridor special excursion and apart from the damage the communication cord was pulled so many times that the train was over 2 hours 25 minutes late arriving at Burnley Central.

One eye-witness said it was the most shocking train journey he had ever undertaken. “I have see cattle wagons, and these coaches were worse,” he said. “Compartment doors were fastened, blinds drawn and lights turned out. People were being sick all over the place, and the damage caused was fantastic.” It was said between 70 and 80 percent of the passengers were under the age of 25 with the others older and more respectable. Altogether 30 windows were broken and about 100 electric lamps and 30 lamp shades smashed as well as wash basins and lavatory seats being ripped off and fire extinguishers thrown away. Today the police would be stepping up security for Burnley’s game at Blackpool, but in 1960 this trouble was totally unconnected to the football.

The Keirby Hotel, still a few days from opening, was used to accommodate boys who had played in the ‘Public and Grammar Schools’ international between England and Scotland at Turf Moor. The England boys, who shared rooms, enjoyed the experience of staying in the luxury hotel after somewhat fortunately beating Scotland 2-1 in front of a crowd of 3,354. With the Keirby set to open it was time to say goodbye to Sion Baptist Church in Chapel Street. The church was about to hold its final service before demolition for the new ring road and roundabout by the new hotel.

Arthur Bradley, who worked the markets, believed his livelihood was over when he lost his driving licence. He was fined £40 and disqualified from driving after pleading guilty to driving a car while under the influence of drink to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle. He was fined a further £20 for dangerous driving, had his licence endorsed and was ordered to pay costs of £3 13s 6d. He was ordered to pay at £1 per week. Mr Bradley needed his car to move items from Accrington market to the market at Burnley and said in court: “I don’t take a lot of drink. I was out the other night with two friends. I felt alright when I came out but it was afterwards. I was trying to get home in my own way. I can’t remember anything really. I have no recollection of what happened. Sometimes I can’t say no when I meet a friend. I don’t know why I can’t say no. It won’t happen again. I live on my own.”

In the local cricket, on the second week of the season, Burnley earned a second draw but Lowerhouse, winners a week earlier, were beaten. Burnley totalled 177 against Bacup with Bob Entwistle, who went on to play for Lancashire, top scoring with 40. In reply Bacup scored 117 for 8 wickets and Burnley professional Dattu Phadkar followed up a scored of 32 by taking 7 wickets for 56 runs. Lowerhouse could only score 103 with Tom Pepper getting 27 not out, the highest scorer. East Lancs were seven wickets down when they passed that total. Jim Minhas took 6 wickets for 37 in the East Lancs innings.

Ahead of Burnley’s visit to Blackpool, the club confirmed details for the tour to New York. The party of 25, of whom 16 would be players, would leave the borough on 18th May for an overnight stay in London before moving on to Southampton where they would board SS America for New York. The first match would be played on 28th May, five days after arrival, against Munich. On 2nd June they would play Kilmarnock before travelling to Canada to play a friendly. They would then return to New York to play Glenavon on 11th June, then New York Americans on 15th and finally Nice on 19th June.

Before that there were four remaining league games with three of them away from Turf Moor. Burnley travelled without injured goalkeeper Adam Blacklaw and that gave Clitheroe born Jim Furnell his first team debut. That seaside place called Blackpool, famous for fresh air and fun, nearly became memorable in the minds of visitors from Burnley as the resort with the football team which stopped the Turf Moor favourites from winning the league championship.

Trevor Meredith scores Burnley’s goal

Burnley had two precious points within their grasp five minutes from time when Blackpool scored the equaliser, thus confounding their own critics who had begun to leave the ground in despair, and giving those of Burnley plenty of opportunity to wonder if their team were really aware that they could take the championship cup to North East Lancashire for the first time in 39 years.

Burnley forced a dozen corners in the first half alone, an indication of their raiding in which Brian Pilkington and Trevor Meredith were prominent. The latter took the forward honours for the match, never giving up, always challenging, even if dispossessed. His fighting spirit should have been an inspiration, for his persistency and enthusiasm retrieved patchy attacks and revived raids which were on the point of breakdown. It was he who shot Burnley into the lead following a Pilkington corner. A drive was blocked and MEREDITH, seeking the ball in the centre, found it and crashed it past Tony Waiters.

However, despite the rejoicings and congratulations, this was no prelude to a celebration party. Burnley’s lead remained slender, too slight for comfort as Blackpool demonstrated that they were far from willing to slacken their efforts. And Burnley were not allowed to escape with two points. Mandy Hill turned outside Alex Elder and sent over the far post where Ray CHARNLEY rose, outjumped the rising clarets crowding in front of the desperately stretching Jim Furnell and headed the ball through. That was the devastating blow. Only five minutes to go and Blackpool were the delighted spoilers of a championship challenge. But Burnley should have made sure earlier. They had the chances but lacked the urgency and so kept their supporters on tenter-hooks and viewing the prospects of Birmingham with mixed feelings.

The teams were;

Blackpool: Tony Waiters, Jimmy Armfield, Barrie Martin, James Kelly, Roy Gratrix, David Durie, Mandy Hill, Arthur Kaye, Ray Charnley, Jackie Mudie, Bill Perry.

Burnley: Jim Furnell, John Angus, Alex Elder, Jimmy Adamson, Tommy Cummings, Brian Miller, Trevor Meredith, Jimmy McIlroy, Ray Pointer, Jimmy Robson, Brian Pilkington.

Referee: Mr K. R. Turk (Chesterfield).

Attendance: 23,751.

The good news for Burnley was that the top two were playing each other. The worst possible result would have been a win for Wolves, but thankfully it was Spurs who won the game 3-1 with all of Cliff Jones, Dave Mackay and Bobby Smith on target for the North London club. That left it all very interesting at the top. Wolves were still top with 52 points with one game to play. Spurs were second and they had 51 points, also with one game to play. Then came Burnley on 50 points but with three games remaining. Ours was the worst goal average meaning we would need to ovehaul both those teams.

At the bottom, Luton were relegated despite beating West Ham. Leeds remained favourites to go down with them but any of Birmingham, Nottingham Forest, Blackburn and Manchester City could still take that second relegation place. It had certainly been a slump for our local rivals from Ewood. Now 18th, they’d led the table earlier in the season. They were now on a run of just one win in their last eleven games.

First Division Results

23rd April 1960

Arsenal 5 Manchester United 2
Blackburn 0 Leicester 1
Blackpool 1 Burnley 1
Bolton 2 Chelsea 0
Everton 1 Leeds 0
Fulham 2 West Brom 1
Luton 3 West Ham 1
Manchester City 2 Preston 1
Nottingham Forest 3 Newcastle 0
Sheffield Wednesday 2 Birmingham 4
Wolves 1 Tottenham 3

League Table

Pos Team pld w d l f a ga pts
1 Wolves 41 23 6 12 101 66 1.53 52
2 Tottenham 41 20 11 10 82 49 1.67 51
3 Burnley 39 22 6 11 82 60 1.37 50
4 Sheffield Wed 41 19 10 12 79 58 1.36 48
5 West Brom 41 18 11 12 82 57 1.44 47
6 Bolton 41 19 8 14 57 50 1.14 46
7 Newcastle 41 18 8 15 82 77 1.06 44
8 Manchester United 41 18 7 16 97 80 1.21 43
9 Fulham 41 17 9 15 73 80 0.91 43
10 Preston 41 15 12 14 77 76 1.01 42
11 Blackpool 41 15 10 16 58 67 0.87 40
12 Leicester 41 13 13 15 65 73 0.89 39
13 Arsenal 41 15 9 17 68 79 0.86 39
14 Everton 41 13 11 17 73 73 1.00 37
15 Chelsea 41 14 9 18 75 86 0.87 37
16 West Ham 41 16 5 20 74 90 0.82 37
17 Manchester City 40 16 3 21 76 82 0.93 35
18 Blackburn 40 15 5 20 57 67 0.85 35
19 Nottingham Forest 41 13 9 19 50 73 0.68 35
20 Birmingham 40 12 10 18 62 79 0.78 34
21 Leeds 40 11 10 19 62 89 0.70 32
22 Luton 41 9 12 20 50 71 0.70 30
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