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After the FA Cup replay win against Lincoln City, It was back to league action for the Burnley team of sixty years ago and it was a first home win since the first week of December as we beat Chelsea 2-1 at Turf Moor.

The new look shopping centre was progressing well in town along with the new look trading centre in St. James’ Street. Fifteen two-story shops and a new Empress Hotel would be handed over by the builders in March with further demolition of old shops to follow in August. Managing Director of the Howarth Construction Company Limited, Mr E. Cookson, confirmed everything was ahead of schedule as Burnley town centre started to change. Cookson was the man who first tried to buy Burnley FC shares from Luther Wilkinson, father-in-law of Jimmy McIlroy. Lord despised Cookson and blocked the transfer, following which another Howarth director, Ken Bates, tried to purchase them. Bates, whose most recent club was Leeds United, was also blocked and given short shrift from Lord.

Malcolm Hebden, fourth from the right, as Mason

Burnley Building Society, who at the time kept our town’s name on the map alongside the football club, were forced into appointing a new chairman following the untimely death of cotton man Sir John Grey.

The man chosen was local solicitor Henry Cooper, the Borough’s coroner since 1958. Cooper had been on the Building Society board since 1955 and had been chairman of the Burnley Garrick Club for twenty years.

That takes us nicely on to local theatre group the Highcliffe Players who turned in a magnificent performance of Jane Eyre which earned rave reviews locally. Whilst speaking kindly of the main characters there was special mention for the performance of newcomer Malcolm Hebden who played Mason.

Hebden became a leading light with the Highcliffe Players and moved on to have a professional acting career. Sixty years on and he’s still an occasional visitor to the Coronation Street cobbles as Norris Cole.

The Co-op adverts are always worth a look. The Christmas rush for gay nighties was over and they were now headlining with their wide range of hard wearing school shoes. But they were able to announce that they were the leading stockist for Desbau Corsetry whilst the early version of the iPod was available. This came in the shape of a Defiant Portable Radio priced at 11 guineas (£11 11s) or 18 guineas for the deluxe model. An iPod disappears nicely into your pocket with only the ear pieces visible. The Defiant was the size of a couple of house bricks and had to be carried in the hand. It was though the 1960 version of portable music.

If you are going to have a quiz then get yourself a well known quiz master. I arranged one at the Turf some years ago with Alastair Campbell and Tony Livesey asking the questions. In 1960 the quiz master was none other than Burnley star Jimmy McIlroy. Eight teams took part in the Bible Quiz organised by the Padiham Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and what an exciting night it was as Lowerhouse Methodist and Padiham Baptist clashed in the final. It ended all square and the scores were still level after an extra round before The Padiham team came out winners in a sudden death finish, a penalty shoot out win in football terms.

Burnley might have been at the start of a new era but people locally were being encouraged to start a new life in Canada. Some of my close relatives had moved there over three years earlier and were enjoying a good life close to Montreal and now special efforts were being made to help Burnley folk take their first steps in emigrating across the Atlantic. You could ‘Emigrate with Althams’ while Canada Pacific were offering flights for just £54 10s for those wishing to take the plunge. If you weren’t sure, Burnley library were staging a special evening of films entitled ‘Canada at work and play’.

On to the sport, and well done to two local lads who were rated first and fourth in England at table tennis. They won international honours when they played for England against West Germany in Aachen. George Livesey won his game whilst Jack Keogh lost, but it was a great adventure for the two boys who said they had thoroughly enjoyed it apart from the food.

Mr Harry Whewell, a well known member of the Burnley and District Linesmen’s and Referees’ Association, took charge of the FA Amateur Cup tie between Norton Woodseats and Bishop Auckland. Not only did both teams thank him for his control of the game but beaten favourites Bishop Auckland presented him with their club button badge as a memento. Mr Whewell considered it a nice gesture.

Burnley’s visitors Chelsea didn’t have the best of records at Turf Moor and hadn’t won in six visits. They hadn’t even picked up a point in five. Burnley were again without McIlroy but again the visitors weren’t to have any luck on a pitch that was covered in snow with only the six yard boxes at each end clear. Out came the blue lines and the orange ball.

The first Saturday of savage winter cold brought a different atmosphere to Turf Moor than that experienced on the previous Tuesday. From the cup tie celebration cake to the more prosaic bread and butter routine of league football. But still the same struggle for survival although the process is longer drawn out and league points can be as precious as cup pence. The result was sufficient to keep Burnley comfortably ensconced in the runners up position and provide the team with some slight compensation for the 1-4 beating by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on a September day in a sunny late summer. Conditions proved a stark contrast.

On Friday afternoon the pitch was reported to be soft underneath the covering of snow. However, the drop in temperature and the additional interference of a biting wind had frozen the ground to an unexpected solidity to which was given the hazards of a skating rink. Even so, Mr Langdale, refereeing a third successive Burnley game, didn’t hesitate in giving the game the go ahead.

Jimmy Robson opens the scoring

The conditions caused us problems with both Ian Lawson and Brian Pilkington suffering injuries because of the conditions. Pilkington in particular needed x-rays to his leg and ankles. Thankfully there were no breaks but he was rated doubtful for West Brom a week later. Alex Elder prompted on the left and nearly achieved the ambition which the crowd have nurtured for him – to see him score. Reg Matthews parried his 30-yard drive but the ball spun out of his possession and was spinning over the goal line when the goalkeeper made a backwards leap to save it. Elder would have to wait another two years for his first goal.

It was a John Angus free kick which led to the first goal which Jimmy ROBSON netted from close in and so gave Burnley a half time lead.

Chelsea had a period of somewhat heavy pressure early in the second half and gained more confidence from an unexpected equaliser provided by Johnny BROOKS after Peter Brabrook had caught the defence napping and drawn Adam Blacklaw out wide of goal.

ROBSON again put Burnley in front from Ray Pointer after 64 minutes with Lawson again lying injured.

Corners were frequent but the day was destined to bring no more scoring. Moves were spoiled by the unsure surface. Much depended on individual initiative and if the man in possession could keep going hard and straight. That happened, but seldom.

So Chelsea dashed for their train wondering why they had not obtained a point out of their snow scramble and perhaps, pondering on the pluck of Pilkington, who was one of the few to produce sustained speed on the slippery surface despite the handicap of an injury which led to that further medical examination after the match.

We kicked off in second place and level on points with Preston. We remained second with a two point lead over Wolves who had now moved ahead of Preston, surprisingly beaten at home by Newcastle, into third place. We were still three points behind leaders Spurs who had easily won the North London derby against Arsenal. Teams such as Blackburn and West Ham, who had made good starts, continued to falter. Both suffered 3-0 defeats at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds respectively. Birmingham and Luton continued to occupy the relegation positions. Birmingham were beaten but Luton’s game against Bolton at Burnden Park was postponed.

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.

Chelsea: Reg Matthews, John Sillett, Peter Sillett, Sylvan Anderton, Mel Scott, Stan Crowther, Peter Brabrook, Johnny Brooks, Charles Livesey, Jimmy Greaves, Frank Blunstone.

Referee: Mr R. T. E. Langdale (Darlington).

Attendance: 21,980.

First Division Results

16th January 1960

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

League Table

Pos Team pld w d l f a ga pts
1 Tottenham 26 14 8 4 57 30 1.90 36
2 Burnley 26 15 3 8 62 43 1.44 33
3 Wolves 26 14 3 9 67 51 1.31 31
4 Preston 26 12 7 7 50 45 1.11 31
5 Fulham 26 13 4 9 49 49 1.00 30
6 Sheffield Wed 26 12 5 9 49 31 1.58 29
7 Blackburn 26 13 3 10 45 40 1.13 29
8 West Ham 26 13 3 10 49 50 0.98 29
9 West Brom 26 11 6 9 50 39 1.28 28
10 Bolton 25 12 4 9 33 29 1.14 28
11 Manchester United 26 11 5 10 64 55 1.16 27
12 Newcastle 26 11 5 10 56 53 1.06 27
13 Manchester City 26 11 2 13 58 57 1.02 24
14 Blackpool 26 9 6 11 37 38 0.97 24
15 Chelsea 26 9 6 11 49 57 0.86 24
16 Arsenal 26 8 6 12 42 56 0.75 22
17 Nottingham Forest 26 9 4 13 31 47 0.66 22
18 Leeds 26 7 7 12 43 59 0.73 21
19 Leicester 26 6 9 11 40 55 0.73 21
20 Everton 26 7 6 13 37 49 0.76 20
21 Birmingham 26 6 5 15 33 50 0.66 17
22 Luton 25 5 7 13 28 46 0.61 17
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