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A crushing 4-1 defeat in Hamburg brought an end to Burnley’s European Cup campaign in 1960/61, this after a 3-1 win at home. That home game was played in January 1961 and we had to wait until September 1966 to host another European tie when Vfb Stuttgart were the visitors in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup.

The game was played one week after the controversial 1-1 draw in Stuttgart. Hopes were high that we could go through and this was despite we would be without injured skipper Alex Elder and Brian O’Neil who had mystifyingly been sent off in the first leg. Even though we’d lost for the first time on the previous Saturday, a crushing 4-1 defeat at Manchester United, it was considered that we would be too strong for the Bundesliga club.

Fairs Cup Souvenir on sale in Red Lion Street for our first home game in the Fairs Cup
Fairs Cup Souvenir on sale in Red Lion Street for our first home game in the Fairs Cup

Bob Lord had assured worried Burnley fans that there would be no price increases for the game. He said that Burnley would not follow the path other clubs had trodden by trying to get in extra revenue for such games. So it was something of a surprise when club secretary Albert Maddox announced a price increase ahead of the game, an increase for most people of 20%.

Prices were up by one shilling (5p) across the board for adults, meaning they would pay five shillings to stand on the terracing. Needless to say Lord kept out of it and allowed his secretary to bring the bad news. Maddox said: “In the past it has not been our practice to put up prices for FA Cup ties, but this competition is a different matter. We are compelled to make a percentage levy to the Fairs Cup Committee, and, for obvious reasons, we want ours to be comparable with those of other clubs.”

There was never any chance of Burnley not making it through to the last 32. Stuttgart proved to be a disappointing side on the night and not once in the entire ninety minutes at Turf Moor did they have a shot at goal with goalkeeper Adam Blacklaw something of a spectator. There seemed to be no logic to the way the West German side played and even once the Clarets had gone in front they continued to play with eight and nine men behind the ball as if their only intention was to keep the score down.

Their style frustrated Burnley. We were not used to coming up against a side with little will to win and subsequently we looked tense and anxious as the game went well into the second half with the score still at 0-0 on the night, 1-1 on aggregate. We failed to find the sort of attacking rhythm that had seen us make such a good start to the season but eventually on the hour we finally broke the deadlock.

It all came from a neat link up down the right hand side between full back John Angus and the outstanding Willie Morgan on the wing. It was Angus who got the cross in and it led to Willie Irvine (the scorer in Stuttgart) and Andy Lochhead both having shots blocked before the ball fell to Ralph COATES who stabbed the ball over the line with his right foot.

That was it, the game really was all over. We could have had many more goals but had to settle for just one more, and it came from the move of the match. It started with Gordon Harris winning the ball just outside his own box. He moved forward to the half way line before playing the ball forward for Coates to run on to. He stormed past full back Bohringer, got down the line, and crossed for LOCHHEAD to finish superbly.

Irvine then saw two brilliant efforts cleared and Harris hit the bar as Stuttgart just about waved the white flag. They knew they were on the way out and their President, Herr Fritz Walter, speaking at the after match banquet at a Simonstone hotel: “Burnley richly deserved their 2-0 success.” Burnley Express correspondent Keith McNee believed that to be a real understatement and said that whoever Burnley got in the next round would provide us with a stiffer test.

Andy Lochhead completes the scoring with Burnley's second at the cricket field end
Andy Lochhead completes the scoring with Burnley’s second at the cricket field end

It wasn’t a perfect night for everyone, and poor Mr. Hollingworth from Read was so upset about the events he penned a letter to the local paper. “I would like to say that I was disappointed by the attitude of a certain section of so called football fans,” he wrote. “Despite the high standard of football and sportsmanship being displayed people were leaving the ground early and in my opinion this amounted to rank bad manners. It spoiled the enjoyment of those who wished to stay to the end.”

Mr. Hollingworth did well out of it, he won the Burnley Express Letter of the Week award and collected one guinea (£1.05) – which was over four times the admission charge.

Sides such as Ferencvaros, Leipzig Locomotive, Juventus, Seville, Napoli and Benfica were still in the competition as were Leeds and West Brom, and it was possible for us to be drawn against any of them.

Just a couple of days after the victory Harry Potts made his way to Zurich for the draw and we were paired with Lausanne Sports of Switzerland, who somehow hadn’t been able to make it to the draw. Only just over a year earlier we had played them, and beaten them 2-1, in a pre-season tournament.

“This is a good draw,” said Elder. “Lausanne are a known quantity and, with nine internationals, they play classy football which will suit us down to the ground. We must have a great chance of reaching the last sixteen.”

Coach Jimmy Adamson added: “This is a very satisfactory draw. They should be two really good games because Lausanne are a footballing side, not strong arm boys. If we could have picked our opposition, we might well have picked Lausanne.”

It had been a good week for Burnley, and a massive week for centre forward Willie Irvine. He’d scored the goal in Stuttgart and although he didn’t score in the second leg he had another excellent game. Within days of the game he’d scored the only goal of the game as we beat Blackpool in a First Division fixture and then had a fixture of his own when he married local girl Rita Berry at St. Peter’s Church in Burnley before holding their reception at the Sparrow Hawk Hotel across the road.

The teams for the Stuttgart game were;

Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Brian Miller, Arthur Bellamy, John Talbut, Sammy Todd, Willie Morgan, Andy Lochhead, Willie Irvine, Gordon Harris, Ralph Coates.

Vfb Stuttgart: Pfeifer, Bohringer, Hoffman, Pfisterer, Siebold, Weiss, Gress, Entenmann, Larsson, Huttary, Reiner.

Referee: E Bostrom (Sweden).

Attendance: 23,716.

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