Shameful Spurs win point in Turf Moor draw
After two glorious wins on the road, Burnley had to settle for a point from a 2-2 home draw against Tottenham in the sixth league game of the 1973/74 season.
The big news in Burnley was that of bad news for the Royal family. The Burnley Express usually led on the front page with local news so it was something of a shock to see a headline reading ‘Housing problem for Royal family’ emblazoned across the front page.
Had Buckingham House been destroyed or taken over by terrorists? Was Windsor Castle under siege? The answer was in the article. It came about when Mrs Shirley Royal of Burns Street, Burnley returned home to find her house windows boarded up.
The mother of three children was mortified and panic stricken and believed she’d been evicted from her council house, but she had the sense to phone the Housing Department who realised they had made a ghastly mistake and should have boarded up the house next door to Mrs Royal.
Even so there was no promise of prompt action as Mrs Royal explained. “At first I was told it would be sometime next week before anyone could come along and take the boards away but workmen did finally arrive the same evening. I was very glad because we could not see our way around in the house, there was no light.”
The reason for the window boarding in the first place came following an appeal from Mrs Lola Carlton who lived next door to the Royal family (this on Burns Street and not Clarence House). She’d pleaded with the council to offer help because her health was suffering after a spate of vandalism which had broken many of the windows in her house. The council warned Mrs Carlton that she was responsible for the replacement of broken windows and the boarding up, which she did eventually get, could only be a temporary measure.
I don’t know why the Royals didn’t switch their lights on in the dark but maybe they feared an increase in prices with the news that the North West Electricity Board, the company which supplied electricity to the Burnley area, were losing more than a quarter of a million pounds every week. They’d just reported an annual loss of £5.8 million to follow on from losses of £5.4 in the previous year and £4.7 million in the year before that, and they warned that the losses were now increasing significantly. Mr Mallett, the company’s chairman explained: “To many people these losses would indicate inefficiency and a failure to take the proper corrective steps. In fact, the board’s efficiency over many years allowed domestic customers to be supplied at the lowest charge in the country.”
They were restricted by regulations from the Confederation of British Industry’s limitation on increases and he added: “The board is now losing more than £250,000 each week due to not being able to implement increases in tariffs for which we have continually pressed.” It was inevitable that, without any price increases, that more staff employed by the board would lose their jobs.
There were also concerns in Burnley, and in the North West in general, regarding the longevity of the traditional milk bottle and voices were being raised. It was reported that around a million milk bottles were being broken or mislaid every week in the area at an annual cost to the dairies of over £1 million. Pleas were made to housewives to rinse and return them, but research showed that bottles were, on average, only making 25 trips before being lost or broken, and the glass was all too frequently, as previously reported, being left to lie in parks and on building sites to the peril of children out playing.
A campaign was instigated, led by local naturalist Mr Ken Spencer, for the bottles to be replaced and the milk sold in waxed cardboard containers. “Glass is unsatisfactory because it can become dangerous if broken,” said Mr Spencer. He added: “I know the dairies employ men to collect the bottles from building sites and other places, but it doesn’t seem a very 20th century practice. Nor do I like the thought that the bottles have been gathering filth for several days.”
Two local men found themselves behind bars. The first, a 37-year-old, was placed in police cells after being charged with maliciously wounding his wife with intent to do her grievous bodily harm. Before he got to court, where he was remanded in custody for eight days, he was found having tried to hang himself.
Another to be sent to prison was a 31-year-old labourer. He got six months after pleading guilty to theft and handling stolen goods. He’d stolen goods to the value of £25 from a parked car but then admitted to handling goods from Burnley Wholesale Grocers valued at £8.50. The problem was that he was then in breach of a three month suspended prison sentence and so the court doubled it.
Tuesday night was football night and in the First Division we had the reverse fixtures of those played in the previous midweek. That meant Burnley faced Spurs at home with the London club coming to Turf Moor looking to exact some revenge after Burnley had taken the points in that 3-2 win at White Hart Lane six days earlier.
There was a blow for Burnley ahead of the game. Paul Fletcher had returned at Wolves having missed the win at Spurs, but now he’d gone down with a bout of the flu and so he missed out again with Ray Hankin, the 17-year-old youngster, coming back in for his first home start.
Losing Fletcher was a big blow for manager Jimmy Adamson but he was soon to suffer an even bigger blow at the hands of a Tottenham team that could be described as nothing other than a disgrace.
They’d been led a merry dance by the brilliant Frank Casper in our win at White Hart Lane and their tactics in the return match were quite simple, to prevent Casper tormenting them again.
And their tactics were very quickly established. Casper soon required treatment after a challenge from Ray Evans. He recovered from that only to be felled again, this time by Cyril Knowles, again requiring treatment.
Spurs weren’t for giving up and when he went down for a third time after a shocking off the ball challenge by Jimmy Neighbour his night was over. With only twelve minutes of the game gone, and much of that time being taken up with Casper receiving treatment, he was stretchered from the field with Billy Ingham coming on as substitute.
Even so, Spurs were still struggling to get a foothold in the game and it was no surprise when Burnley took the lead on 27 minutes. It came when Doug Collins crashed a left foot volley against the bar. It rebounded for Hankin who headed it across for Geoff NULTY who swung the ball into the net from the left.
Spurs weren’t done with their nastiness but finally referee Ken Baker took some action, booking Evans after he took Peter Noble out as he broke down the right. The foul proved costly for Spurs as it led to goal number two for Burnley, an even better goal than the first. Martin Dobson went as though to take the kick but left it to Collins who had the Spurs defence flat footed when he swung the ball to the far post for Colin WALDRON to dive low and head in a superb goal.
Burnley had again been by far the better side but right on half time Spurs won themselves a lifeline as they pulled a goal back. There seemed no danger when Phil HOLDER hit a harmless looking shot but it deflected off a Burnley defender and wide of goalkeeper Alan Stevenson.
They made the most of the lifeline too and with just six minutes of the second half gone thy drew level. Ralph Coates, who had received a fantastic reception from the Burnley fans ahead of kick off, got in a cross from the left. Stevenson was slow to spot the danger and that left Martin PETERS unmarked in front of goal to head home with ease.
It was all square and for a time it knocked Burnley off their stride. But the Clarets came storming back and really, with any luck, would have still gone on and won the game. Keith Newton fired just wide and Leighton James, who had a quiet game, came close. Then Noble netted what he thought was his first Burnley goal. The referee gave it but, somewhat suspiciously, the linesman’s flag went up. After the two consulted the game was restarted with a Spurs free kick with Noble apparently accused of handling the ball.
“Spurs were a disgrace,” wrote Peter Higgs in the Burnley Express. He remarked that for a side such as Spurs, always renowned for the quality of their play, to resort to such tactics was a sad blow for the game of football.
Burnley boss Adamson said: “It was quite a match. Obviously the least said the better. but I would just add that a lot of people came along with ideas of seeing something like the old Burnley-Tottenham classic tussles. It was not to be. It was not our fault that our opponents had such a terribly disappointing attitude.” He confirmed that all of Casper, Ingham and Noble were doubtful for the following Saturday against Derby although he thought that Fletcher would be well enough to return.
The teams were;
Burnley: Alan Stevenson, Peter Noble, Keith Newton, Martin Dobson, Colin Waldron, Jim Thomson, Geoff Nulty, Frank Casper (Billy Ingham), Ray Hankin, Doug Collins, Leighton James.
Tottenham: Pat Jennings, Ray Evans, Cyril Knowles, Ralph Coates, Michael Dillon, Phil Beal, Phil Holder, Steve Perryman, Martin Chivers, Martin Peters, Jimmy Neighbour (Joe Kinnear).
Referee: Mr K. W. Baker (Rugby).
Despite the dropped point we remained in second place, although now only a point clear of Coventry, Leicester and Derby. Leeds continued at the top with a sixth successive win, this time over bottom of the table Birmingham, to go two points clear.
London clubs Arsenal and Chelsea both won to lift themselves out of the bottom three where they were replaced by Man United and West Ham. The latter were beaten by QPR giving the club promoted with us their first victory of the season.
Besides the bottom two only Stoke remained without a win and Leicester, along with Leeds and Burnley, were unbeaten.
First Division Results
Monday 10th September 1973
West Ham 2 QPR 3
Tuesday 11th September 1973
Arsenal 1 Sheffield United 0
Birmingham 2 Chelsea 4
Burnley 2 Tottenham 2
Coventry 2 Manchester City 1
Everton 1 Stoke 1
Wolves 0 Leeds 2
Wednesday 12th September 1973
Derby 3 Liverpool 1
Manchester United 1 Leicester 2
Newcastle 3 Ipswich 1
Norwich 2 Southampton 0
Burnley’s Goalscorers (League Only)
3: Frank Casper
2: Doug Collins, Martin Dobson, Geoff Nulty
1: Paul Fletcher, Leighton James, Colin Waldron
First Division Leading Goalscorers
6: Peter Lorimer (Leeds)
5: Derek Dougan (Wolves)
4: Billy Bremner (Leeds), David Johnson (Ipswich), Malcolm MacDonald (Newcastle)
3: Frank Casper (Burnley), Mick Channon (Southampton), Mick Coop (Coventry), Tony Currie (Sheffield United), Don Givens (QPR), Alan Green (Coventry), Bob Hatton (Birmingham), Mick Jones (Leeds), Denis Law (Manchester City), Martin Peters (Tottenham), Bryan Robson (West Ham)
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