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The whole town was buzzing, as Burnley prepared to play SSC Napoli in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup and even for those whose interest in football wasn’t drawing them to Turf Moor there was a lot of alternative entertainment.

Ivy Benson and her all girl Showband were playing at the Cabaret Club in Rosegrove while the Casino Club in Manchester Road could boast an appearance from Lance Percival.

Cinema enthusiasts had the choice of Beau Geste at the Odeon with the Empire showing One Million Years BC starring Raquel Welch. For the specialist audience there was The gentle art of seduction showing at the Continental.

Napoli's Dino Panzanato
Napoli’s Dino Panzanato

Two who years later would become well known for parts in popular television programmes were also on the bill locally. At the Imperial in Nelson there was a wrestling programme featuring heavyweight Pat Roach who would go on to play Bomber in Aufwiedersehen Pet and our local amateur group The Highcliffe Players were performing the play Ring Round the Moon with the leading role played by enthusiastic amateur Malcolm Hebden. What would Norris Cole make of that?

Burnley had some concerns regarding the rules of the competition and how they differed for teams in different countries. Napoli would be able to include Omar Sivori in their side, even though he was suspended from domestic football in Italy, whereas should Andy Lochhead receive a suspension for the five bookings he’d collected, he would be forced to miss the tie because of our FA having different rules. It didn’t matter in the end, Andy played, Sivori didn’t and got himself in trouble for speaking out against his manager.

Burnley left town for special cup tie training. This usually meant they would spend a few days in Blackpool and paused for a picture running down the promenade that would then feature in the local newspapers. Being out of town they missed the fuss created when the Italians arrived minus four of their best players.

The press were accusing Napoli of insulting Burnley, and the competition, but they confirmed that Sivori, Ottavio Bianchi, Toni Juliano and Pierluigi Ronzon would all miss the first leg. Burnley were given warnings though that this was no average side, and even without four of their top players would still give the Clarets, who were suddenly in a poor run of form, a very difficult game.

I’ve been watching Burnley now since 1960. I’ve seen big games and big crowds, and some not so big, but in all of my years supporting our club I cannot recall ever witnessing an atmosphere to come close to this particular night at Turf Moor.

The ground wasn’t full, far from it, but standing in the old cricket field end the support was incredible. It all started an hour before kick off and continued throughout the game as Burnley won the battle, and what a battle it was.

“A display of brutal and bad tempered football by Italy’s third-ranked team”, wrote the Daily Mail. “Two of their forwards in particular, the great Altafini at inside-left and centre forward Orlando, seemed intent on provoking a minor war,” wrote the Daily Mirror.

How tough was it? Captain Alex Elder, who was ruled out with injury, wrote after the game: “This game was so tough it made the usual Burnley-Leeds clashes seem like Sunday school parties. Certainly, to my mind, both teams were at fault, but if any player should have been sent off it was Orlando, their centre forward. This man went through the game hitting everything in sight, and how he was allowed to keep on doing it without a booking at least is just beyond me.”

None of them mention the score, but it was Burnley who won 3-0 and that gave us a good lead to take to Italy for the second leg. Manager Harry Potts was absolutely ecstatic and coach Jimmy Adamson admitted to being delighted but felt his personal decision to change tactics at half time had possibly cost us even more goals. It was a change he made because Napoli were down to ten men following the early sending off of centre half Dino Panzanato.

Panzanato is sent off with Andy Lochhead on the ground
Panzanato is sent off with Andy Lochhead on the ground

I can still picture the defender, down on his knees pleading with the referee, arms held out in true Italian style. His crime? Lochhead had gone in for a diving header and as he lay in the penalty box, Panzanato kicked him in the head. He had to go, there was no option, but he threatened Andy as he left the field saying he would get him in the second leg. “You won’t,” Andy replied, “You’ll be suspended.”

Ralph COATES scored our first early in the game. He nipped in when the keeper and defender made a mess of a goal kick. It was soon 2-0; Lochhead headed a Fred Smith free kick across goal for Les LATCHAM to head home. And in the second half LOCHHEAD got his name on the score sheet with a shot from just inside the area.

It had been a hell of a night, the Burnley fans really had never been in better voice, Our players rose above the terrible provocation and did more than enough to surely take us into the quarter finals.

We could expect a difficult second leg, that was for sure, and maybe the last word should be from captain Elder, who looking forward to that game, almost knowing what could happen, said: “It’s sure going to be a battle when the return game is played. Perhaps they will have to call the riot squad in, I was talking to an Italian press man and he said the Neapolitan supporters would not like this result at all.”

The teams were;

Burnley: Harry Thomson, John Angus, Fred Smith, Brian O’Neil, Brian Miller, Sammy Todd, Willie Morgan, Andy Lochhead, Ralph Coates, Gordon Harris, Les Latcham.

Napoli: Bandoni, Nardin, Micelli, Stenti, Panzanato, Emoil, Cane, Montefusco, Orlando, Altafini, Bean.

Referee: Senor Gardeazabal (Spain).

Attendance: 24,519.

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