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Burnley had a break from league football in 1973 with a game in the by then established Texaco Cup against East Fife with this first leg played at Turf Moor.

There was some concerning news that week from the town’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Luke Collins. He reported that in the previous calendar year, 1972, there had been an alarming increase in lung cancer deaths in Burnley. A total of 53 men and 15 women had died from the disease and that was 25 more in total than in 1971. He admitted that the figures didn’t look high but pointed out that the total was higher than the number of deaths from accidents, suicides and other forms of violence combined.

Dr Collins said: “I must again point out the dangers of smoking. Lung cancer is preventable, and we must continue to direct our health education towards the schoolchildren. But it will take several years before any improvement can be claimed.” He added: “Our Hospital Management Committee endeavoured to restrict smoking in the hospitals. Other public places who did likewise, and some stores, are to be commended for their no smoking restrictions.”

Now I’m not too sure why Mr Collins wanted to link deaths with forms of violence, but in the same week it certainly kicked off at the Rose Room, part of the Mecca Ballroom. It resulted in 16 arrests. It arose when there was trouble between a group of Burnley youths and members of a coach party from Keighley. A fight broke out following arguments between those from Burnley and the teenagers from Keighley who were supporters of Leeds. After the incident, four youths were taken to hospital and the Rose Room was closed by management. Mecca management declined to comment on the disturbance but said that little damage had been caused.

A police spokesman confirmed that all of the 16 arrested would appear in court in October to face charges of disturbance of the peace and wounding. It’s not often, when researching the news of five decades ago, that I find anything that I was personally involved in. Well, not exactly involved, but I did witness it and it was lively to say the least. My concern at the time was that the place was shut part way through the night and there were no refunds.

That was on the previous Saturday night and there had been some problems earlier in the bus station following our home game against Derby. It came about when about 200 teenage Burnley supporters flocked there to jeer the Derby fans as they made their way to their coaches. Slowly, the crowd of youngsters started to converge on the coaches with only a lone mounted policeman and his horse, strategically positioned, separating the two groups. Suddenly the youths charged, but the officer was prepared. He rode towards the leaders of the mob who, when they realised the force of the law, turned and ran off in the opposite direction. One bystander said only someone who had seen ‘Big John Wayne’ defend a wagon train single-handedly against an Indian war party could truly appreciate the action of the officer.

St. James’s Church in Stoneyholme were due for their traditional garden party but had decided to have a change in 1973. Mrs Freda Langford, one of the organisers, explained: “We shall be having a carnival procession through the streets of Stoneyholme with a fancy dress competition with prizes for the most original costumes in three classes.” Youngsters had given up their free time on the previous Saturday afternoon to scythe down nettles and thistles in the field at the rear of the church in readiness for plenty of entertainment for all the family, the big highlight being novelty wrestling, certainly a big change from a garden party.

There was some sports news away from football too in both cycling and cricket. Cyclist Tony Gornall was named as the Burnley Express Sportsman of the Year but there was even better news when he was selected to ride for England in the Commonwealth Games in New Zealand in February 1974. The 30-year-old, who worked for North Western Gas as a representative, was named in the team on the Sunday but knew nothing about it until he read it in the Burnley Express on the Tuesday.

John Walton, sportswriter for the Burnley Express, revealed changes might be afoot in the Lancashire League for the 1974 cricket season. The league had flirted with limited overs cricket as an experiment a few years earlier but quickly reverted to time cricket. Now, they were seriously considering giving the limited overs game another chance for the following season.

Now to the football and Burnley had been selected to play in the inaugural Texaco Cup competition three seasons earlier. The entries that year were Burnley, Nottingham Forest, Stoke, Tottenham, West Brom and Wolves from England with Aidrieonians , Dunfermline, Dundee, Hearts, Morton and Motherwell from Scotland. In that first season, and in the following season, there were also representatives from Ireland and in 1970/71 Ards and Derry represented the Irish League with Limerick and Shamrock Rovers from the League of Ireland. It was something of a disaster for the Clarets. We played Hearts but after winning the home leg 3-1 we journeyed up to Tynecastle where we suffered a 4-1 drubbing.

By 1973/74 it was just English and Scottish clubs, nine from England and seven from Scotland, and Burnley had been drawn against East Fife, a club based in Methil. They’d ended the previous season in 9th place in the Scottish First Division, then the top league.

Jimmy Adamson, ahead of the game, brought some good news for Burnley fans. Just a week earlier Frank Casper had been stretchered off in the home draw against Spurs, but Adamson confirmed that the in form striker had returned to training and could, all being well, be fit for the trip to Ipswich on the following Saturday. There was similar news regarding Mick Docherty. He’d not played since leaving the Bramall Lane pitch on a stretcher in our opening day win against Sheffield United. He too was back in full training.

Adamson reported that Martin Dobson would miss the East Fife clash because of a heavy cold and that his place would be taken by Billy Ingham. For the first time ever we were required to name two substitutes, one a goalkeeper and one an outfield player. Adamson revealed that Micky Finn had got the nod ahead of Jeff Parton to act as goalkeeper substitute, something of a surprise given that Parton, almost two years earlier, had played two first team games. The choice of outfield substitute was definitely a surprise with 16-year-old youth team full back Terry Pashley getting a call up.

Pashley, pictured right with manager Adamson, had just been selected by England at youth level and Adamson was quick to confirm his selection was fully merited. “This is no stunt. Pashley is being included on merit,” Adamson said. “He is an outstanding prospect and has been turning in some great performances in the reserves.”

Our opponents hadn’t followed up on their good 1972/73 season. Under the management of former Blackpool player Pat Quinn, who had been to the Spurs game to watch Burnley, they were now bottom of the table without a win in their opening three games. Burnley were favourites with fans hoping for a two, possibly three, goal lead to take up to Methil for the second leg.

For anyone who wanted to see goals, and plenty of them, Turf Moor was very much the place to be. For anyone hoping for a hard fought encounter then they were very much at the wrong ground. So much better than their opponents were Burnley that they romped to a 7-0 win that wasn’t in any way flattering. We played well against a team that simply wasn’t up to it and it was just a question of how many goals the Clarets would score.

The biggest difference between the two sides was pace. Burnley were yards quicker both on and off the ball and consequently there was always a danger with every attack. Paul Fletcher was now fully recovered from the flu bug that had seen him miss the game a week earlier. He scored a hat trick. He took them all in fine style and led the East Fife defence a merry dance all night. Leighton James, on the left flank, was virtually unstoppable. He’d been tearing First Division full backs apart so this lot had no chance. On the other wing Peter Noble kept storming through like the brilliant Brazilian Garrincha on roller skates and all in all it was a happy night despite a continuous downpour throughout the game. There was even an opportunity for the young Pashley too. He replaced Doug Collins with 26 minutes of play remaining. He showed some neat touches and did not look out of place.

Burnley opened the scoring on eight minutes when NOBLE shot from 30 yards to scored his first goal for the club, although it did take a deflection. Just four minutes later it was 2-0 as Geoff NULTY scored from close in to convert Noble’s cross and on 27 minutes FLETCHER got his first, sliding in a cross from Ray Hankin for the best goal of the night. On 31 minutes NULTY got his second when headed home a Jim Thomson cross and it was two for FLETCHER on 37 minutes when he latched on to a back pass to hammer home.

We went in at half time with a 5-0 lead but there were just two more goals in the second half. JAMES worked a short corner with Ingham before hitting home from 15 yards. That was after 65 minutes and then, in the 76th minute, the scoring was completed when FLETCHER headed in a James corner. The win just about ensured Burnley’s place in the next round, but before that we would have the long trip up to Scotland for the second leg.

The teams were;

BURNLEY: Alan Stevenson, Peter Noble, Keith Newton, Billy Ingham, Colin Waldron, Jim Thomson, Geoff Nulty, Ray Hankin, Paul Fletcher, Doug Collins (Terry Pashley 64), Leighton James.

EAST FIFE: McGarr, Duncan, Printy, Love, Rutherford, Raw, Hegarty, Hamilton, Dailey, Noble (Ritchie), McPhee.

REFEREE: Mr H. Davey (Hucknall).


England just about came out on top in the first legs with three wins, but the two Scottish wins, by Hearts and Motherwell had both come away from home.

The first leg results are all shown below.

Texaco Cup First Round First Leg Results

Tuesday 18th September 1973
Burnley 7 East Fife 0
Everton 0 Hearts 1
Sheffield United 0 Dundee United 0

Wednesday 19th September 1973
Ayr 1 Leicester 1
Morton 1 Newcastle 2
St. Johnstone 0 Norwich 2
Stoke 0 Birmingham 0

Tuesday 25th September 1973
Coventry 0 Motherwell 1

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