Burnley to sue BBC over cup tie screening
In January 1966, Burnley drew their FA Cup 3rd round tie 1-1 against Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic at Dean Court. For the record, Willie Irvine scored for Burnley after 18 minutes with our opponents netting an equaliser just 14 minutes from time.
Two days later came news that the replay winners would face a trip to White Hart Lane to meet Tottenham Hotspur who had secured an easy passage with a 4-0 win against Middlesbrough.
But the fun all started on the Tuesday morning with Burnley supporters wakening to the news in the national papers that the BBC would be screening highlights of our replay that evening, this according to Burnley chairman Bob Lord without his knowledge, let alone his permission.
I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall on Whins Lane in Read when Bob was reading his newspaper that morning over breakfast. I can see the steam coming out of his ears as I think of it and I bet Hilda had to scurry away as the air turned blue.
Lord was fuming and told the BBC in no uncertain terms that if they didn’t remove their cameras from his ground immediately then he would be down there and would burn them.
The BBC quickly moved their cameras out and the game wasn’t televised, but was Lord less angry afterwards? Not on your life. He revealed that Burnley Football Club would be looking for £2,000 from the BBC.
“I take nothing back I have said, and I feel the same way,” he said in an interview afterwards. “The BBC have been on to me five times this week asking me to appear personally on television. I haven’t given them an answer yet, but you can say that we are sure of our ground and will sue the BBC for £2,000.
“If the game had been on television, we would have had less than a 15,000 gate. The fact that it was advertised still lost us at least 10,000 spectators. There was the advertising, and the sight of the TV vans outside the ground increased the belief that the match was on. So we want 10,000 x 4 shilling admission fees back from the BBC. As for the FA, they have boobed badly on this and we are considering what action to take against them.”
Not everyone agreed with Lord, certainly not Burnley supporters in hospital who were hoping they might get the opportunity to see 15-20 minutes highlights later in the evening.
“We always bear these people in mind,” Lord said. “And when the football authorities become businesslike enough to extract an acceptable amount of money from television, Burnley will be the first to see that these unlucky people are catered for. We do want some televised football, but they are getting football too easily and too cheaply.
“Tommy Trinder (the music hall comedian who was also chairman of Fulham) warned clubs of this in 1957. As a showbiz personality, he could see soccer getting a rough deal, but the warning wasn’t heeded.”
Lord claimed that he had the backing of many clubs but could only name Everton and he added: “If some of the public of Burnley don’t like what we did on Tuesday, and there will be a few, but not very many if the truth becomes known, they can think what they like. I would do the same again. I get problems like this all the time and they mean a great deal of heart-searching, but on this occasion I know the right course, indeed the only course, was taken.
“It is clear from the number of folk who are yelling that they were robbed that they all wanted to see this match desperately. Yet, for this rare commodity, all we were offered was a sickly £10, which is called, for want of another name, a disturbance fee.”
The chairman was blasted by supporters. Miss Giddings of Aigburth Street wrote to the Burnley Express. “Who does Mr Lord think he is? King of Turf Moor?” she blasted. “People are sick and tired of his views,” she added.
Mr Thornber of Moseley Road suggested a public relations office would not go amiss at Burnley Football Club and Mr Eltoft of Blackpool said it was about time the Burnley chairman was brought down a peg or two.
Probably worried about his position with the club, Keith McNee, the sports editor of the Burnley Express, backed Lord all the way, claiming the club had done more than others for the old and sick.
So, what did the television viewers miss?
Burnley were bitter at the rough, tough treatment they’d received in the first meeting and vowed they would turn the tables at Turf Moor and show the south coast club some football. Field Marshall Viscount Montgomery had been at the first match and he sent a telegram to Burnley captain Alex Elder which read: “Knock ’em for six”.
Burnley did more than that, winning 7-0 as they exploded in a torrent of brilliance, the very best way to reply. It was a magnificent performance with McNee suggesting: “The forwards wove magical patterns on a tapestry of mud, building up attacks with poise and purpose and rounding them off with devastating power.”
He added: “Knowing the players’ feelings about what went on at Bournemouth, the replay was the merciless massacre I expected.” He suggested that had Brian O’Neil not missed the game through injury then the score would have been even more.
Burnley were ahead through Andy LOCHHEAD on 13 minutes, scoring at the second attempt after Elder’s long pass had skidded across the muddy goalmouth, and on 19 minutes it was 2-0 when LOCHHEAD scored with a low shot from a John Angus free kick.
Number three came three minutes later, Willie IRVINE firing home from 20-yards after receiving Elder’s pass and on 29 minutes Irvine and Willie Morgan combined to set up LOCHHEAD for his hat trick and Burnley’s fourth.
Right on half time, LOCHHEAD made it five after Irvine had teed up the chance and then Burnley led 6-0 with a fifth for LOCHHEAD just before the hour after the Bournemouth goalkeeper had failed to hold a howitzer of a shot from Irvine.
The scoring was complete four minutes from time when Gordon HARRIS hammered home to give Burnley a 7-0 win with not a television camera in sight.
The teams were;
Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Alex Elder, John Talbut, Dave Merrington, Brian Miller, Willie Morgan, Andy Lochhead, Willie Irvine, Gordon Harris, Ralph Coates.
Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic: Dave Best, Phil Ferns, William Coxon, Graham Newton, Roy Gater, Joe Ashworth, Ray Bumstead, Ken Hodgson, Dennis Coughlin, John Archer, Charlie Crickmore.
Referee: Mr J. R. Osborne (Ipswich).
Attendance: 21,743.Follow UpTheClarets:
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