Burnley’s title hopes take a battering at Wolves
Burnley’s game at Wolves sixty years ago had been called off on the previous Saturday because of Wolves’ involvement in the FA Cup semi-finals, but when we did get to Molineux in midweek it proved to be a shocker of a night for the Clarets putting a huge dent into any title hopes.
The weather had taken a turn for the better with the clocks going forward and with the temperatures soaring the ladies were out in their summer frocks although it wasn’t quite warm enough for the knotted handkerchiefs for the men. Some words had different meanings then than they do now and the warmest day of the lot prompted the Burnley Express to headline with ‘A day when all the world was gay’. I’m not sure that’s how you’d describe better weather these days, but it was certainly the case then. And that very night there were long queues outside the Palace Theatre to see Leslie Cooper playing on his mighty organ. It was mostly women in the queue.
It was a case of the battle of the trees in Padiham. Some residents of Peel Street had objected to the 24 mountain ash trees on the street. They claimed they were a danger to children and pedestrians whilst they created a nuisance in summer because of caterpillars and flies. All residents were canvassed but some believed the trees should stay. A compromise was called for and the council ordered nine of the trees (those opposite the houses of the objectors) to be removed but the other fifteen to stay.
You don’t see many today, but back in 1960 the rag and bone man was still a familiar figure around town. He was usually on a horse and cart and very much the Steptoe kind of character. That was not the case for Mr Hugh Dent. He was from Skipton but worked his round in the Burnley area. Mr Dent had taken a step up from a horse and cart by buying a Rolls Royce car. Residents were amazed to see their rags being collected and thrown onto the back seat of a Roller, but Mr Dent explained. “I have just bought it for £30. I don’t find it a burden and even at 18 miles to the gallon it is worth it.” “Business is booming,” he added. “I suppose you could say I have come through riches to rags.” Mr Dent had been in the business for four years but his new idea didn’t catch on with the other rag and bone men, not even those who have taken to singing.
As a result of the pay award to municipal busmen, the wage bill at Burnley Colne & Nelson (BCN) was increasing by £25,000 per year, but it was not expected that fares would increase as a result. Mr G. Parry, general manager of the undertaking re-assured Burnley folk. He claimed: “During the last two or three years, the financial position has improved as a result of the last fares increase in November 1957, and operating economies which have been brought into effect. In view of these factors it is not envisaged that there will be a further increase in fares at the present time but the increase does mean the undertaking will be operating over a knife edge economy.” Well done BCN – I’m still trying to imagine any bus company today not increasing fares over a period of more than two years.
It was congratulations to the Holme (Cliviger) Sheepdog Trials Association who took second place in the inter-club sheepdog trials which were held on Gorple Moors above Worsthorne. Why am I not surprised to hear that the competition was won by the Yorkshire Sheepdog Association? They had 216½ points whilst the Holme team had 210. The individual winner was Mr Cecil Holmes with Bett from Ripponden.
Burnley’s Chief Constable Mr Leonard Massey, speaking to the Rotarians, said that the role of the police was to bring book to those people who have offended against the law. He did though believe that things could be improved by setting up a Government Ministry responsible for the welfare of young people. He said he wasn’t sure whether we had progressed from when a constable would give a badly behaved youngster a flick of his cape and asked whether it was better for a constable to twist a youngster’s ear or bring him to court and putting a mark on his record which may follow him for the rest of his life. Cape flicking and ear twisting continued in Burnley for many years.
One thing you couldn’t do is physically harm a police officer and that’s something Mr Thomas Barber found out to his cost. Police were called to his property after he’d taken a hand to Mrs Barber. “No ******* cops are going to tell me I can’t belt my wife,” he screamed at PC K. McKay and then threatened him with, “I’ll take you any time I ******* like.” He then struck the officer a blow that saw him needing hospital treatment to a bruised cheek and mouth. Mr Barber was fined £2 in court for disorderly behaviour, which included the attack on his wife, and a further £10 for assaulting PC McKay.
That left him broke, but still if he was a Burnley fan it might have spared him the trip to Wolves where the championship chase well and truly came off the rails for Burnley as Wolves won 6-1. Goal average rather than prestige was damaged at Wolverhampton. It was one of those nights when the Wolves stormed their way to success and almost had the game won at half time. A three goal deficit was too much for Burnley, who battled calmly on as if refusing to believe that this calamity could happen to them.The delayed action shock worked on their play in the second period, when the Wanderers crashed in two more and so made the visitors counter-tactics look like so much wasted effort.
And yet it was a great game, and in the opening 45 minutes the play was so thrilling and the football so exceptional that the encounter will be remembered as one of the outstanding treats of the season. To catch Wolves on top form is unfortunate for any team. If they played as well as they did in this game for every match they would win FA Cup, League, European Cup and anything else that happened to be offered for their consideration and competition.
The Wanderers were a dangerous team on the breakaway and that’s how they got in front when James MURRAY started a sudden goal rush after 13 minutes. In the next minute Gerry MANNION headed a diagonal centre from Peter Broadbent who a done a quick veer left from Robert Mason’s pass. It went over Adam Blacklaw and it was 2-0. Another minute and John Connelly was away from a long cross-field pass and his centre was met by the dashing Ray POINTER with a fine judgement of the art of the curling in-swing. As he hurtled forward to beat Bill Slater on the inside, the ball flashed into the net, a perfect goal. Indeed a picture effort.
But that didn’t halt the drama. Des HORNE beat Blacklaw to a Mannion centre (18 minutes) and in this period the goalkeeper had seemed more unsettled than unsighted. One minute later it should have been 4-1 but Broadbent missed with the goal at his mercy. BROADBENT did head the Wanderers’ fourth in the 36th minute and in the second half a fifteen minute spell of attacking meant Burnley were forced on defence again. Gerry Harris came through from the full back position, right through, and MANNION netted the fifth in 65 minutes. Another raid and MASON swooped out of some remote space and hammered a right foot shot in off the post.
That was the sixth. Burnley struggled on but the fight had long been over. That early spell, for which the Wolves were well known, and of which teams knew they had to be wary, had done the damage. They were as effective and dangerous as Burnley had been against them at Turf Moor early in the season. It was their night and they made the most of it.
The teams were;
Wolves: Geoff Sidebottom, George Showell, Gerry Harris, Eddie Clamp, Bill Slater, Ron Flowers, Gerry Mannion, Robert Mason, James Murray, Peter Broadbent, Des Horne.
Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, Tommy Cummings, Alex Elder, Bobby Seith, Brian Miller, Jimmy Adamson, John Connelly, Jimmy McIlroy, Ray Pointer, Jimmy Robson, Brian Pilkington.
Referee: Mr C. N. Rogers.
The result really was a blow for us, but at least there had been some good news on the previous Saturday with leaders Spurs losing at Bolton. We remained four points behind Spurs with two games in hand while Wolves were one point closer. Our defeat though, coupled with Sheffield Wednesday’s win against Manchester United, saw us now only a point above Wednesday.
First Division Results
25th March 1960
Everton 1 Newcastle 2
26th March 1960
Arsenal 1 Leeds 1
Blackpool 2 West Brom 0
Bolton 2 Tottenham 1
Fulham 0 Manchester United 5
Luton 1 Birmingham 1
Nottingham Forest 1 Preston North End 1
30th March 1960
Blackburn 1 Chelsea 0
Manchester City 3 West Ham 1
Sheffield Wednesday 4 Manchester United 2
Wolves 6 Burnley 1