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Burnley were back home from the tour of the south of England which had seen us play friendly games against Folkestone Town an Plymouth Argyle either side of a league draw at Tottenham and now the next game on the fixture list was a home Lancashire derby against Blackpool.

Two days before that game, the players joined supporters and the residents of Burnley in electing the new Member of Parliament. “We will certainly win if we get a high poll,” claimed Conservative candidate Alderman Edward Brooks. A high poll it was with 83.92% of the eligible Burnley folk casting their vote but for Brooks it was a major disappointment. Expected to run the new Labour candidate close he lost to an increased majority with Dan Jones comfortably winning for Labour. Jones polled 27,675 votes whilst 20,902 were the number of votes cast for Brooks.

The attractive municipal bathing pool at Port a l'Anglaise, Vitry-sure-Seine
The attractive municipal bathing pool at Port a l’Anglaise, Vitry-sure-Seine

Meanwhile the water shortage continued and news came that further measures had to be taken. Only 60 million gallons of water remained after the driest summer in over two centuries. Previously there had been measures restricting households to a water supply for just twelve hours in each day (from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) but from the following Thursday standpipes would be in operation.

What a welcome that was for our visitors from twin town Vitry-sur-Seine in France. On this visit the two towns had decided on an exhibition of over 200 photographs to go on display to allow Burnley people to see what it was like in Vitry. To suggest it didn’t meet with too much enthusiasm was something of an understatement. There appeared to be very little interest at all.

With mills continuing to close, it was good to see one local firm starting up again, albeit with reduced numbers of staff. Sutcliffe & Race were back in business specialising in ladies underwear, which were mainly corsets. They were employing just five people in new premises within St. James’ Hall in St. James’ Row. The prime mover was local football referee Alec Race who was the only person remaining from the original firm that had closed down in 1958.

Parents in the Springhill area of the town were being warned to ensure their children didn’t eat the apples from plants found in the area. These were deadly thorn apples, a poisonous weed, and could endanger the lives of children who might eat them. The four feet high plant was found in the garden of Mr Fred Holden of Albion Street and it was suspected that the seed had probably been imported in consignments from America. At best an irritant, it was said that eating the fruits could drive a person mad and at worst could be fatal.

Ahead of the game at Turf Moor came news of the inquest following the death of Burnley Cricket Club professional Collie Smith who had been killed in a car crash. It was held at Stoke-on-Trent, the nearest city to where the fatal road accident occurred, and Mr F. G. Hails, the City Coroner brought in a verdict of accidental death. There had been thoughts that fellow West Indian cricketer Garfield Sobers could face manslaughter charges but Mr Hails said there was no evidence to justify that verdict. “Suspicion there may be, but that is not enough,” said the Coroner. “I don’t believe an Assize judge would allow a charge of manslaughter against the driver to proceed.”

At Turf Moor on the Friday morning Harry Potts confirmed that Jimmy McIlroy was back in the team after being away with Northern Ireland and the team was otherwise unchanged from the one that had done so well in the 1-1 draw at Tottenham a week earlier.

So often in football things don’t exactly go to plan. There is a saying to the effect that after the Lord Mayor’s Show comes the salvage appliance, a necessary and useful contrivance which is devoid of spectacle and is ignored by most of the community. After their point snatching exploit in London, Burnley were expected to make a procession of goals at the expense of lowly Blackpool. Instead, came disillusionment in a display which was best forgotten and which couldn’t be passed over completely.

And the home team did not salvage any glory, but merely were left to try to glean what comfort they could from a shattered reputation. It was the worst home defeat since September 12th 1953, when West Brom beat them. It left gloom over the customers who departed for tea with the feeling that they had been let down badly by this team of theirs which never rose above the stage of being hearty triers. Perhaps that was the only measure of satisfaction they could find in a sorry display which caused despondency as well as disappointment. The performance was all the more disappointing as it was watched by distinguished guests from Vitry-sur-Seine who must have had a poor opinion of their twin town’s representatives in a major sphere of sport.

Burnley started well enough with a goal in five minutes from Jimmy ROBSON, who receiving from a Jimmy McIlroy/John Connelly move, recovered a partial clearance and his shot dipped late under the bar. Even when Arthur KAYE, with a right foot shot, veering into the middle from David Durie, equalised there appeared to be little cause for undue anxiety. However, DURIE had Blackpool in front after fourteen minutes when he lifted the ball over the head of the advancing Adam Blacklaw and into the net.

There were signs that all was not well in the Burnley defence. Passing was hasty and ill-directed with heavy traffic down the middle and wing halves inclined to crowd to the centre as if suddenly realising that once up a day they too had figured nobly at centre half. ‘Has anyone here seen Kelly?’ was the cry as the Blackpool wing halves Jim and Hugh dominated although there could have been a penalty for Burnley when Brian Pilkington was grassed, but referee Mr Crossley didn’t feel it incumbent upon him to accept responsibility for the spot kick.

Amazingly Burnley forced 19 corners but failed to score off one of them and just after half time Brian Peterson and Jackie Mudie combined to set up DURIE for his second. Worse still DURIE completed his hat trick in the second half after a bad pass from John Angus and it was accompanied by a racket of tangerine rattles behind the Bee Hole goal which completely stunned the Turf Moor support.

The 4-1 defeat thankfully saw Burnley drop just one place to fourth, on a day when top of the league Tottenham beat second place Wolves 5-1, whilst Blackpool were able to move up six places to thirteenth. With the local derby at Blackburn just a week away Burnley needed to get back to winning ways and very soon.

The teams were;

Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Alex Elder, Jimmy Adamson, Tommy Cummings, Brian Miller, John Connelly, Jimmy McIlroy, Ray Pointer, Jimmy Robson, Brian Pilkington.

Blackpool: George Farm, Jimmy Armfield, Barrie Martin, Jim Kelly, Roy Gratrix, Hugh Kelly, Mandy Hill, Brian Peterson, Jackie Mudie, David Durie, Arthur Kaye.

Referee: Mr W. Crossley (Lancaster).

Attendance: 26,620.

There was better news of the reserves at Huddersfield where Ronnie Fenton was a prominent schemer in a 2-0 win. It was Fenton who put Burnley ahead with Andy Lochhead getting the second.

First Division Results

10th October 1959

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

League Table

Pos Team pld w d l f a ga pts
1 Tottenham 12 6 6 0 31 13 2.38 18
2 Wolves 12 7 2 3 37 23 1.61 16
3 West Ham 12 6 3 3 25 18 1.39 15
4 Burnley 12 7 1 4 24 22 1.09 15
5 Blackburn 12 6 2 4 23 18 1.28 14
6 Manchester City 12 7 0 5 28 23 1.22 14
7 Arsenal 12 5 4 3 20 17 1.18 14
8 Preston 12 5 3 4 24 24 1.00 13
9 Fulham 12 6 1 5 24 30 0.80 13
10 Manchester United 12 5 2 5 29 27 1.07 12
11 Chelsea 12 5 2 5 27 27 1.00 12
12 Bolton 12 5 1 6 16 16 1.00 11
13 Blackpool 12 4 3 5 17 20 0.85 11
14 Newcastle 12 4 3 5 18 22 0.82 11
15 Nottingham Forest 12 4 3 5 13 16 0.81 11
16 Sheffield Wed 12 4 2 6 15 14 1.07 10
17 West Brom 12 3 4 5 22 22 1.00 10
18 Everton 12 3 4 5 18 22 0.82 10
19 Leicester 12 3 4 5 19 29 0.66 10
20 Leeds 12 3 3 6 17 28 0.61 9
21 Birmingham 12 2 4 6 16 21 0.76 8
22 Luton 12 2 3 7 10 21 0.48 7
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