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Home again after the hammering at Wolves, and only a late goal from Brian Miller avoided another disaster as he forced a late equaliser against fourth place Sheffield Wednesday sixty years ago.

If you recall, some weeks ago, the Chamber of Trade were calling for a change to the half day closing, moving it from Tuesday to Wednesday to ensure Burnley was THE shopping centre to visit for people living within a large area of Lancashire. A ballot among shopkeepers had done no more than cause confusion. Those involved with central shops had overwhelmingly voted in favour of the move by six votes to one. However, district retailers had voted against it with retailers in Lyndhurst Road voting two to one against. The next move was to ballot the whole town and if there was still a majority within the central area then an approach would be made to change the central area only with the rest of the town retaining Tuesday as half day closing.

Sometimes I can’t contain my excitement at how life was sixty years ago. Just a few days earlier we’d had the sheep dog trials on Gorple but now, Burnley staged the first ever First Aid competition for ambulance teams, at Brunswick School. It was organised by the Burnley Centre of the St. John’s Ambulance Association and teams from as far as Buxton and Barrow took part. Winners were the Liverpool Police team who went off with the new Tunstall Shield.

Mayor Miss Edith Uttley waved off to Vitry by Town Hall staff

Politics had reared its head in neighbouring Nelson where the local Co-op led the way locally with an anti-apartheid stance. The Co-op said they were extremely disturbed by the riots in Sharpeville which had led to the deaths of many coloured Africans and as such had banned the display and sale of any South African goods. They confirmed they would either destroy or give away any such goods currently in stock.

[For those unfamiliar with this, the Sharpeville Massacre took place on 21st March 1960, when South African police opened fire on a crowd of black protesters, killing 69 people, some shot in the back as they fled.]

Over 180 more were injured and police claimed that inexperience officers panicked and opened fire spontaneously. Since 1994 this date has been commemorated as Human Rights Day in South Africa and the site was selected by President Nelson Mandela for the signing of the Constitution of South Africa in December 1996.

Politics wasn’t just international or even national and that was in evidence when Burnley’s Conservative President Alderman E. Brooks JP told MP Dan Jones to stop meddling in Burnley’s affairs and leave them to the people of the town. This was at the annual meeting of the Burnley Conservative Association when they had a special awards night for those who had worked hardest for the party. Brooks won the top award.

Back at the Town Hall, there were staff on the balcony waving to the Mayor Councillor Miss Edith Utley as she set off for Ringway Airport to board a flight to France as part of the Civic Party heading off to twin town Vitry. Miss Utley was taking several local gifts with her including a length of cloth in a turquoise heavy satin, which had been designed and manufactured at a local textile factory. It was to be presented to Madame Perrot, wife of the Mayor of Vitry to be made into a ball gown.

The Mayor had also chosen to take some of the charming figures made at the Pendelfin Studio as well as a dozen scarves made by Jaqmar and two leather cigarette cases embossed with pictures of British cars. A 103-piece set of hand-painted glassware, decorated with the Burnley coat of arms, had been sent to Vitry in advance. Miss Utley said she was excited about the trip with one of the highlights a visit to Paris where the party would journey along the Seine and lunch at the Eiffel Tower. She was accompanied on the trip to Vitry by Councillor R Bushby and Councillor D Newlove.

None of that was of much interest to Mr Shafto Wilson Froud, licensee of the Wood Top public house in Accrington Road. The poor man was hauled over the bar and assaulted by two men, one of whom then threw another customer’s drink through a window. The two men were each fined £5 for assault when they appeared in court and the man who was responsible for the glass throwing was fined a further £5 plus £1 5s 6d restitution. They were told to share the court costs of £5 11s 6d.

A 21-year-old had been out of work since November and his parents offered him £1 per week spending money. He demanded more and stormed out of the house when they refused, shouting: “I’ll get some money and you’ll have to pay for it.” He did get some; he stole £2 from Padiham Constitutional Club. He spent some of it but feeling guilty he returned with the remaining £1 12s 6d and apologised, promising to pay back the remaining 7s 6d. That was it, done and dusted, until his dad found out. He dragged him to the police station and told the desk sergeant: “He’s been out of hand for quite a while. He is awkward and antagonistic.” It led to a court case where the lad was told to pay back the 7s 6d (which he had already promised to do). He was also put on probation for a year and ordered to pay 15s costs.

Time for sport now and at Burnley Cricket Club they were all preparing for the new season and it was confirmed that new professional Dattu Phadkar would be arriving in the following week. He was arriving in Southampton on the SS Strathmore. If it docked early he would travel by road to Nelson where he was staying in the same lodgings he had occupied when with Nelson Cricket Club. If it wasn’t early his journey to Nelson would be delayed until the following day. Phadkar had confirmed by letter to Mr Harry Langton, the Burnley chairman, that he was looking forward to an early visit to Turf Moor for practice.

Bobby Seith, Jimmy Adamson, Mr Harry Potts and Jimmy McIlroy receive the game from Mr John Hosie

If next door neighbours Burnley Football Club needed to get their championship chase back on target then maybe new ideas were needed, and what an opportune moment for Mr John Hosie to present the club with a magnetic football game as an aid to off-the-field demonstration of tactics. I bet Mr Harry Potts, the Burnley manager, couldn’t wait to start using it and improving further the style of football employed by his team.

The Burnley Express spelled it out very clearly. Burnley still had a chance of winning the league despite the loss at Wolves, but only if they BEAT Sheffield Wednesday at Turf Moor. They also confirmed that John Connelly would be playing against Burnley in the following week. Called up by England for the game against Scotland, Connelly would play for them in a warm up match against Burnley at Turf Moor. It wasn’t the first time this had happened; two years earlier Colin McDonald had played against his club in similar circumstances. For supporters wanting to get a glimpse of England playing at Turf Moor, Mr Potts made it clear that supporters would not be admitted. “The practice match is PRIVATE,” he confirmed.

Onto the game and Mr Potts made three changes to the team, two of them positional. John Angus had missed the game at Wolverhampton but came back in at the expense of Tommy Cummings. In the half back line Jimmy Adamson moved from left half to centre half with Brian Miller switching in the opposite direction.

A home draw was inevitable at some time. And perhaps it was commendable enough that the visitors, Sheffield Wednesday, gave every indication of taking two, and so putting another damper on the Turf Moor hopes of honours. However, the fact that league leaders Tottenham divided the points with lowly Luton (and at White Hart Lane at that), still kept Burnley in the bonus stakes, with a possible chance of the championship if form could be found.

Sheffield Wednesday were a similar side to Wolves in their relentless approach to the game. They were strong, rather than versatile, but they could cause a tremendous amount of trouble before they were tamed. Burnley almost found this to their cost and a goal was conceded in the first three minutes, even before many spectators had settled. Keith ELLIS, the big centre forward, was the provider of the first shock.

It took Burnley until ten minutes into the second half to equalise through CONNELLY with one of his famous swoops which always seem to be reserved for the cricket field end, but no sooner had the cheers faded than Alan FINNEY headed a high cross field pass into the net to put Wednesday in front once more in less than a minute.

The situation did not appear desperate as in the second half Burnley were making a more effective counter to the Sheffield tactics and using the long pass rather than trying to keep the ball close. This had the Wednesday turning and we were creating more openings. However, Bobby Seith’s failure to kill and control a ball from his own defence caused him to lose possession to Bobby CRAIG, who placed the ball in the net and Sheffield two goals ahead – something of a shock.

Even so, Burnley persisted in spasmodic attacks with Ray Pointer attempting to tear a hole in the opposing defence by varying his positional play. He was almost through when he was heavily spread-eagled – and referee Hough approached pointing the finger of doom. Jimmy McILROY must have executed some hypnotic hip-swivelling act as he ambled up to the spot kick, for Ron Springett merely stood mesmerised as the ball reposed gently into the net.

This gave Burnley tremendous encouragement but there was a deal of obstructive tactics employed by both teams. Once Seith and Johnny Fantham burst through a ruck of players after the loose ball, holding hands – but it was no ring o’ roses! They were pulling each other like a two man tug o’ war.

Miller had been outstanding for Burnley at left half and with two minutes to go, he and Connelly crashed through into the goal area with the ball between them. It ran in favour of MILLER who beat Springett from close in and so saved a situation which was offering Burnley defeat and a waning interest in the championship.

The Burnley spectators left Turf Moor relieved with the one point from a 3-3 draw.

The teams were;

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

Sheffield Wednesday: Ron Springett, Peter Johnson, Don Megson, Tommy McAnearney, Peter Swan, Tony Kay, Derek Wilkinson, Bobby Craig, Keith Ellis, Johnny Fantham, Alan Finney.

Referee: Mr H. N. Hough (Macclesfield).

Attendance: 23,123.

Tottenham might well have drawn with Luton, but Wolves beat Leeds and that took them level with Spurs at the top of the league. Burnley were four points behind them with two games in hand, so two wins from those games would see us level but still behind on goal average. Sheffield Wednesday were a point behind us, so that late Miller equaliser was vital, but we now had three other clubs – West Brom, Newcastle and Bolton – just another two points behind.

It was double draw day with the reserves coming home from Villa Park with a point after a 1-1 scoreline against Aston Villa who had former Burnley full back Jock Winton in the team. Dave Smith and John Talbut were outstanding in defence for Burnley who had to come from behind with a goal from Trevor Meredith to earn that point.

First Division Results

2nd April 1960

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

League Table

Pos Team pld w d l f a ga pts
1 Tottenham 36 18 11 7 75 43 1.74 47
2 Wolves 36 21 5 10 92 61 1.51 47
3 Burnley 34 19 5 10 75 57 1.32 43
4 Sheffield Wed 35 17 8 10 68 46 1.48 42
5 West Brom 36 15 10 11 69 52 1.33 40
6 Newcastle 36 17 6 13 77 68 1.13 40
7 Bolton 36 16 8 12 50 46 1.09 40
8 Preston 36 14 11 11 69 68 1.01 39
9 Blackpool 36 15 8 13 56 57 0.98 38
10 Manchester United 36 15 7 14 85 68 1.25 37
11 Fulham 36 14 8 14 65 75 0.87 36
12 West Ham 36 15 5 16 67 74 0.91 35
13 Arsenal 36 13 9 14 60 67 0.90 35
14 Blackburn 35 15 3 17 55 61 0.90 33
15 Leicester 35 11 10 14 56 65 0.86 32
16 Chelsea 36 12 8 16 68 79 0.86 32
17 Nottingham Forest 36 12 7 17 45 68 0.66 31
18 Manchester City 35 13 3 19 71 77 0.92 29
19 Everton 36 10 9 17 63 69 0.91 29
20 Birmingham 35 9 9 17 52 69 0.75 27
21 Leeds 35 9 9 17 58 85 0.68 27
22 Luton 36 7 11 18 42 63 0.67 25
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