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Defeat to Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup had left Burnley with just the league to play for and we got right back to winning ways with a vital home win to complete the double over Arsenal.

The news to hit the town was the forecast of an increase in rates of 1s 6d in the £1, although this would be the first increase in three years. Needless to say, politics being politics, the opposition party weren’t long in speaking out about it. On this occasion it was Alderman E Brooks JP, leader of the Conservative Party. He said: “I feel this will be a great shock to the rate payers and the tragedy of this is that I am convinced that the increase could have been avoided if more businesslike and broad minded policies had been adopted by the Socialists who control the Town Council.” One thing you can guarantee from a politician is that you’ll get no straight answers, and you’ll get no alternatives when he’s using his position to criticise those in the opposite camp. Alderman Brooks certainly didn’t break with a tradition that certainly continues to this day.

The scene at Burnley Central Station

Earlier in the week, railwaymen in Burnley had been chatting. Mr Wilf Rayner, Burnley Central Station foreman, said: “It’s a long time since we had a mishap at the station. I wouldn’t be surprised if something didn’t happen soon.” A few days later the early morning mail train was being reversed for unloading at the station. The station was clear of passengers with porters and station officials on the platform watching the approaching train.

Suddenly they all started shouting and frantically waving at the driver to stop. The train had taken the wrong line and instead of heading for the station the engine and six vans were heading into a siding towards two stationary vans. Driver Mr S. Prescott from Wigan slammed on his brakes but it was too late and the train crashed into the vans forcing the end van clean through a six feet thick wall buffer and up onto the platform. Thankfully no one was injured and Mr Rayner must have hurried off to get his pools coupon filled in. Anyone who can predict a train crash could surely find eight draws.

With mills closing in Burnley it was good news when John Grey Ltd. announced plans for further expansion. Already running to capacity at Livingstone and Cameron Mills, they were about to start a three shift system at King’s Mill in Harle Syke which they had just purchased after the previous occupants had closed down. There would be opportunities for 100 new employees meaning the firm would be the biggest employers of textile labour in the district.

Well done to the ladies of Burnley who staged a fashion show in aid of the World Refugee Fund. It was a wonderful evening that was really enjoyed by the Mayor Councillor Miss Edith Utley and the Mayoress Mrs A. Hargreaves. It was a huge success and raised £20 for the fund.

How about a clothes dryer that you can also use to heat a room, dry your hair and even warm up food? That was what you could get with the new super drier designed by Mr Cecil Watson, and the Burnley man was expecting great things for what was already being called the Rolls Royce of driers. Under test, it had dried wet clothes in under eleven minutes but the real bonus in this machine was that it had a separate compact box containing the heating unit. This could be detached and used for various other things as referred to above. C & J Watson were manufacturing the drier, headed by 80-year-old Mr Jonathan Watson, father of the designer. I’m sure it was a great success.

An advertisement in the Burnley Express read: “72 Fools Required – to attend a dinner dance in the ballroom at the White Bull Hotel, Blackburn.” Tickets for the dinner dance were available from Waterworth’s Drapers in the Market Hall at 30s each. I don’t think I need to comment further on this.

There was good news from Mr Clifford Burrows, treasurer for the Burnley Festival of Music and Drama. The 1960 event had been deemed a success and despite having to pay £600 to hire the Palace Theatre the event had lost just £100. “It is almost certain that the Palace will be used in 1961,” said Mr Burrows.

Meanwhile the ladies of the Rosehill Townswomen’s Guild went to Manchester for their entertainment. Two coaches took them there to see ‘South Pacific’ the new film that was smashing box office records. No cinema in Burnley was able to show the film and the ladies had a very enjoyable time watching the biggest film of its day. Maybe they all came home having washed their men right out of their hair.

We can’t have a 1959/60 season report without a court case and this week’s was due to dog baiting (that is baiting and not biting). It was alleged that three men persisted in making mock attacks and bating police dog ‘Prince’ in Burnley Town Centre. According to handler PC Dean the men were very lucky not to have been bitten by the dog. Two 20-year-olds and a 19-year-old all pleaded not guilty to disorderly behaviour. PC Dean said he was cautioning the men for crossing the road whilst there was oncoming traffic when they started to bait the dog. Worse still, one of the men used obscene language once he’d been taken to the police station. One of the accused told the court that the dog was not under full control and he shouted to PC Dean: “You want to watch that dog, it nearly had my wrist.” Dean replied: “You want to watch it son, it will have the rest of you, it has lads like you for breakfast.” They were all found guilty and all three of them were fined a total of £2. There were no reports of the dog getting anything extra for breakfast.

Those fines might well have kept them away from Turf Moor for the game where Burnley did the double over Arsenal for just the second time since they regained their First Division status in 1948, and so stepped nearer to the league leadership. The Burnley Express reported: “The Gunners were an attraction of world wide fame. A story is told of a London businessman registering in a hotel in Finland, and the clerk saying: “How will Arsenal do this season?” Today, the only people really concerned are those from London N5 and the environs whose allegiance is not devoted to the Gunners’ rivals and near neighbours, the Spurs. The wheel of fortune has turned. Arsenal are a more ordinary side while the club itself is a splendid memory to the days of past glory.

Are Burnley on the threshold of becoming equally famous? With the League championship within grasp and the trip to New York ahead, it is a matter of time and temperament as to whether ambitions can be fulfilled.

Burnley went into the game without the injured Jimmy McIlroy, with Ian Lawson deputising, but were soon in front. Lawson was an excellent employer of the through pass and Ray Pointer thrived on such service. With just seven minutes gone, Lawson played such a ball and POINTER raced on to it and beat the oncoming Jack Kelsey to give Burnley the lead.

Brian Miller restores the lead with our second goal

It was still 1-0 at half time but disaster struck just after the interval when there was a horrible mix up in defence. John HENDERSON, who had once been subject to an enquiry from Burnley when he was at Portsmouth, flicked the ball in to wipe out our lead.

It was vital that Burnley regained the lead quickly and they did just that. When a corner was forced, the ball was swung in by John Connelly. A terrific free-for-all ensued with Brian MILLER getting the last touch with a header as the rest of his body resisted the general turmoil in the crowded area. One of the happiest memories of Burnley’s matches during the season had been that of goals scored by CONNELLY with his sudden swoops towards the centre and releasing his famous left foot shots that amazed goalkeepers and delighted supporters. The way in which he obliged against Arsenal was in the general tradition and was his third against the Gunners in the season.

The game was won, although HENDERSON did get a second for the Gunners in the late stages but Burnley took the points by the odd goal in five which was fair on the play.

Arsenal brought their own supporters’ club coach which was well filled and gaily decorated with red and white. One of their number was kind enough to make it known to the retiring Burnley crowd that they thought Burnley had a good chance of League honours, but maybe he was saying that just to spite Tottenham.

The teams were;

Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Alex Elder, Bobby Seith, Brian Miller, Jimmy Adamson, John Connelly, Ian Lawson, Ray Pointer, Jimmy Robson, Brian Pilkington.

Arsenal: Jack Kelsey, Eddie Magill, Bill McCullough, Gerry Ward, Bill Dodgin, Vic Groves, John Henderson, David Herd, Danny Clapton, John Barnwell, Joe Haverty.

Referee: Mr L. Howarth (Beverley).

Attendance: 20,166.

There was more good news for Burnley when they reached the dressing room. League leaders Tottenham had been held to a draw at White Hart Lane by Fulham, and even better was the news from Filbert Street where Leicester had beaten Wolves with former Claret Albert Cheesebrough on the scoresheet. It closed the gap to four points on Tottenham and left us just one point behind Wolves, and with two games in hand on both of them.

Down at the bottom Birmingham were back in the bottom two in place of Leeds after the Elland Road club beat Manchester City.

It was a week of mixed fortunes for the reserves. We were beaten 4-0 at Wolves as the first team were beating Arsenal but had beaten Preston 3-0 at Deepdale during the week to reach the final of the Lancashire Senior Cup. Andy Lochhead, Peter Simpson and Gordon Harris were the goal scorers.

First Division Results

19th March 1960

Birmingham 2 Bolton 5
Burnley 3 Arsenal 2
Chelsea 2 Blackpool 3
Leeds 4 Manchester City 3
Leicester 2 Wolves 1
Manchester United 3 Nottingham Forest 1
Newcastle 3 Luton 2
Preston 3 Sheffield Wednesday 4
Tottenham 1 Fulham 1
West Brom 6 Everton 2
West Ham 2 Blackburn 1

A total of 56 goals were scored in the 11 league games, more than 5 per game, and no side failed to score.

League Table

Pos Team pld w d l f a ga pts
1 Tottenham 34 18 10 6 73 40 1.83 46
2 Wolves 34 19 5 10 83 60 1.38 43
3 Burnley 32 19 4 9 71 48 1.48 42
4 Sheffield Wed 33 16 7 10 61 41 1.49 39
5 West Brom 34 14 10 10 67 50 1.34 38
6 Bolton 34 15 8 11 48 43 1.12 38
7 Newcastle 34 16 5 13 74 66 1.12 37
8 Fulham 34 14 8 12 64 66 0.97 36
9 Preston 34 13 10 11 64 66 0.97 36
10 Blackpool 34 14 7 13 53 56 0.95 35
11 West Ham 34 15 4 15 66 71 0.93 34
12 Manchester United 33 13 7 13 76 64 1.19 33
13 Arsenal 34 13 7 14 59 66 0.89 33
14 Leicester 34 11 10 13 56 64 0.88 32
15 Blackburn 33 14 3 16 54 59 0.92 31
16 Chelsea 34 11 8 15 65 78 0.83 30
17 Everton 34 10 8 16 60 65 0.92 28
18 Nottingham Forest 34 11 6 17 43 67 0.64 28
19 Manchester City 33 12 3 18 68 73 0.93 27
20 Leeds 33 9 8 16 57 81 0.70 26
21 Birmingham 33 9 7 17 49 66 0.74 25
22 Luton 34 7 9 18 40 61 0.66 23
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