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Back from the 3-0 win against Hearts in midweek, Burnley were in First Division action with Manchester United the visitors to Turf Moor but it wasn’t to be the best of games.

There is an Elm Street in Burnley but back in 1973 the attention was on Barclay Hills according with the local newspaper headlining with Nightmare on Barclay Hills where it was reported that vandalism in its ugliest form was turning life into a real life nightmare for the people who lived on the estate.

So bad was the hooliganism, that over half of the residents were wanting to leave their dream homes and wished for a move to other areas within the town. The Burnley Express were taken on a tour by distraught residents and saw smashed windows and doors, fencing around the play areas and gardens broken and ripped from their supports, paint splashes on house walls and central heating grills damaged and twisted.

The council were playing politics with the situation as Mayor Councillor Frank Booth told reporters that the estate should never have been built there. The police were taking the matter very seriously and said they would have no hesitation in prosecuting any person found causing any damage.

I suspect very few people now have their milk delivered but back in 1973 it was very commonplace although the milkmen were reaching a crisis point because of disappearing bottles. “The milk bottle shortage is the same in Burnley as it is in the rest of the country,” a spokesman for the North East Lancs Co-op Daries Association Ltd. reported, adding: “If the situation doesn’t improve, we will reach crisis point around Christmas. We sincerely hope the problem doesn’t become so grave, but we are appealing to customers to return their bottles and inform us of the whereabouts of bottles which are missing.”

The appeals were having an effect and they went on to add: “Many people have contacted us telling us where abandoned bottles can be found and we have sent vans out to collect them.”

This wasn’t the only crisis in Burnley; there were major concerns over the lack of lollipop men and it was causing quite a headache for Burnley police who were appealing for more people to take on the job. This one might be difficult to believe now, but then it was a men only occupation. So, in a bid to boost the numbers, the police accident prevention branch had come up with a new idea, that of introducing lollipop women. They were appealing to young wives with young children to come forward. The initial idea did not go down well with the lollipop men at the time.

A 15-year-old boy gave his dad a kicking and hit him with a mop when he saw him attack his mum. Mrs Patricia Smith was cut about the head and arms and some tendons were severed. It saw Mr Arthur Smith find himself in court in front of Judge Anthony Edmondson. He was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment suspended for two years but was warned by the judge: “If you cannot keep your hands off your wife you will almost certainly go to prison for a long time.”

The future of the M65 was placed in doubt with more than 1,350 objections having been received from Burnley residents at Whitehall. This followed the news from earlier in the week of a two year delay in its construction. Councillor Albert Pickup, Burnley’s prospective Parliamentary Conservative candidate tried to explain and said: “There has to be a public inquiry about the line of the road. This will be starting next February. Then there will have to be a public inquiry regarding the people involved in the scheme, so by the time the inquiries have been completed it will be well past the starting date in 1974.”

It was Manchester United at the Turf but the potential for dad (Tommy) to manage a side against his son (Mick) had been ruled out with Mick Docherty’s injury. The full back said in the build up to the game: “I’d have given anything to be out there in front of probably Burnley’s biggest crowd of the season so far and showing my dad just how good this side is that we have at Burnley. Instead, because of the knee injury that has kept me out of action since the first game, I’ll have to watch from a seat in the stand.”

Doug Collins hits the bar

Burnley were also without the suspended Colin Waldron with Jimmy Adamson confirming his team two days before the game which saw Doug Collins coming back in for Billy Ingham who had played in the win at Hearts.

Manchester United also had a centre-half missing through suspension with Jim Holton ruled out. They also reported that former Claret Willie Morgan would be out because of a bereavement but that George Best, who had returned a week earlier, would play.

Many games between these two clubs had proved to be classics. There was the FA Cup tie in 1954 when Burnley led 2-0 after just five minutes only for United to score twice and level things within two more minutes. We went on to win that game 5-3 and we won by the same scoreline in 1960 when I saw my first Burnley game. There were the 1963 Christmas games when we won 6-1 on the Turf before losing the return 5-1 at Old Trafford.

This game in 1973 did not join them as a classic, far from it, the game ended 0-0 and was a drab affair almost from start to finish. Throughout the entire game neither goalkeeper had a save to make of any note.

United (for whom Morgan played) had been roundly criticised during the season for employing tight, negative tactics aimed at picking up points at the expense of entertaining the public. In this game, they not only achieved that against Burnley but went on to have the better opportunities and might well have won the game with better finishing.

The key to United’s success, if a 0-0 draw is a success, was their right-back Martin Buchan’s performance against Leighton James. Quick on the turn and sure in the tackle, he stopped James from creating the sort of danger he had in previous games. When James swapped wings, Buchan went with him to nullify the threat of Burnley’s danger man.

Doug Collins did hit the bar for Burnley, but with little else offered in the first half, Adamson switched Peter Noble and Geoff Nulty. It had worked at Hearts but not this time with Noble unable to have any effect in the midfield and in that second half, United carved out the best two chances of the game.

Alex Stepney denies Ray Hankin

For the first, Best sent Brian Kidd away with a perfect through ball., Kidd’s centre was perfect for Lou Macari but the Scot’s shot was poor and rolled straight into Alan Stevenson’s arms. And then, Best again, started the move with a sensational pass to George Graham out on the left. Jim Thomson only half cleared Graham’s centre to Kidd who hit his shot against the bar.

Both those chances came in the opening eight minutes of the half and there was precious little to excite the crowd after that, other than a Ray Hankin effort that was saved by Alex Stepney, and the game ended with the inevitable 0-0 scoreline. Burnley had now failed to score in either of their last two games, the only occasions in the season we hadn’t scored.

In terms of entertainment, it had been the poorest game all season and Adamson hit out at United who he accused of being to blame. “I see that United are bottom of the entertainment league in one national paper and that’s surely where they will stay,” Adamson said.

He added: “It takes two teams to make a match and they weren’t prepared to play. People who were at the match have said that United did a fair amount of attacking, but everything they did was from a defensive springboard. They would not push men forward from midfield when they attacked. They just kept the midfield packed to deny us space and stop us from playing.

“I thought it was sad to see United playing like this. There was no entertainment there for the supporters”.


The teams were;

Burnley: Alan Stevenson, Peter Noble, Keith Newton, Martin Dobson, Jim Thomson, Billy Rodaway, Geoff Nulty, Ray Hankin, Paul Fletcher, Doug Collins, Leighton James. Sub not used: Billy Ingham.

Manchester United: Alex Stepney, Martin Buchan, Tony Young, Brian Greenhoff, Steve James, Clive Griffiths, Willie Morgan, Brian Kidd (David Sadler 51), Lou Macari, George Graham, George Best.

Referee: Mr H. New (Bristol).

Attendance: 31,706.

The draw had seen Burnley lose second place in the table but only just. We were now one of three teams on eighteen points, five points behind leaders Leeds, but Everton were above us on  goal average following their 2-0 win at Birmingham. Derby were also on eighteen points; they had drawn at struggling West Ham.

First Division Results

Friday 26th October 1973
Chelses 3 Norwich 0

Saturday 27th October 1973
Birmingham 0 Everton 2
Burnley 0 Manchester United 0
Ipswich 2 Wolves 0
Leicester 0 Southampton 1
Liverpool 1 Sheffield United 0
Manchester City 0 Leeds 1
QPR 2 Arsenal 0
Stoke 3 Coventry 0
Tottenham 0 Newcastle 2
West Ham 0 Derby 0

Burnley Goalscorers (League)

3: Frank Casper, Doug Collins, Martin Dobson, Paul Fletcher, Geoff Nulty
2: Ray Hankin, Leighton James, Colin Waldron

Burnley Goalscorers (Cups)

6: Leighton James
4: Paul Fletcher
3: Peter Noble
2: Ray Hankin, Geoff Nulty
1: Martin Dobson, Colin Waldron

First Division Leading Goalscorers

8: Malcolm MacDonald (Newcastle)
7: Tommy Baldwin (Chelsea), Mick Channon (Southampton), Derek Dougan (Wolves)
6: Roger Davies (Derby), Kevin Hector (Derby), David Johnson (Ipswich), Mick Jones (Leeds), Peter Lorimer (Leeds)
5: Stan Bowles (QPR), Billy Bremner (Leeds), Martin Chivers (Tottenham), Jimmy Greenhoff (Stoke), Bryan Hamilton (Ipswich), Geoff Hurst (Stoke), Jim McCalliog (Wolves), Alan Woodward (Sheffield United)

League Table

Pos Team pld w d l f a ga pts
1 Leeds 13 10 3 0 25 7 3.57 23
2 Everton 13 7 4 2 16 9 1.78 18
3 Burnley 13 7 4 2 21 12 1.75 18
4 Derby 14 7 4 3 18 11 1.64 18
5 Newcastle 13 7 3 3 22 13 1.69 17
6 Liverpool 13 6 3 4 13 11 1.18 15
7 Coventry 14 6 3 5 14 13 1.08 15
8 Southampton 13 6 3 4 18 17 1.06 15
9 Ipswich 13 5 5 3 21 20 1.05 15
10 QPR 13 4 6 3 21 18 1.17 14
11 Leicester 13 3 7 3 14 14 1.00 13
12 Manchester City 13 5 3 5 15 16 0.94 13
13 Sheffield United 13 5 2 6 15 16 0.94 12
14 Arsenal 13 5 2 6 14 17 0.82 12
15 Tottenham 13 4 3 6 14 18 0.78 11
16 Manchester United 13 4 3 6 10 13 0.77 11
17 Chelsea 13 4 2 7 19 19 1.00 10
18 Stoke 13 2 6 5 14 16 0.88 10
19 Wolves 13 3 2 8 15 25 0.60 8
20 Norwich 13 1 6 6 10 20 0.50 8
21 West Ham 13 1 5 7 11 19 0.58 7
22 Birmingham 13 1 3 9 10 26 0.38 5
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