The 1972/73 season kicks off with a draw
Burnley got the new 1972/73 season underway with a point after Carlisle United came to Turf Moor and shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Burnley twice having to come from behind to earn that point.
Away from the football, the Burnley Express headlined that week with the news that two canal patrolmen had made the decision to abandon the tow path after being attacked by gangs of teenage thugs. For Fred Parnell and Arthur Nuttall, both aged 70, it was a labour of love as they, and other pensioners, patrolled the Leeds & Liverpool canal to protect young children from drowning. They were very popular with the children, while their parents were able to feel secure that there were people there to prevent their kids getting into difficulties.
Sadly, these gangs had thought it appropriate to stone these patrolmen and, worse still, drop bricks on them from bridges, and for Messrs Parnell and Nuttall it had forced them away. Both of them warned that other pensioners were ready to follow suit unless something could be done about it. The local authority did do something about it. They slammed parents for having a total lack of control but they did warn they were determined to crush this particularly nasty type of hooliganism.
There was sad news too with the inquest into the death of the former vicar of St. John’s at Gannow, the Rev Peter Bradwell Yates, who had been found dead having taken an overdose of tablets. Coroner Mr H. G. W. Cooper, who recorded a verdict of suicide while the balance of his mind was disturbed, said: “It’s a sad case of a man who was full of trouble.” The vicar, who had severed all ties with St. John’s had been acting as an assistant at St. Catherine’s in Todmorden Road. He’d also taken a job as a lab assistant at Towneley School but he was very quickly given a month’s notice following some trouble.
On the subject of Towneley; Mr Hubert R. Rigg has become the Hall’s new curator and he had some ideas to attract more visitors to what many would say is the town’s biggest attraction. The 44-year-old said: “The basic problem at Towneley is lack of space. One way to solve this would be to put on displays for a short period and then change them.” He did confirm that, to succeed, the Hall just had no option but to expand its activities.
There were two big topics discussed at the council meeting; fires and buses. Chief fire officer Mr L. Thomas reported that 476 fires had been started already during the year by children, a figure he admitted to finding very disturbing. On the buses it was good news. There was a lot of news that week about bus transport and Councillor Mr D. W. Chaplin said: “This sort of thing is most encouraging,” when it was reported that Burnley Colne & Nelson Joint Transport’s venture into private hire was proving successful. It had allowed them to go ahead with improvements to the workshop at Queensgate at a cost of £250,000 and it was thought the success was very much down to the fact that drivers were handpicked for this work.
Both Ribble and Standerwick announced that their bus fleets would change to white buses with the word ‘NATIONAL’ emblazoned in blue and red down the side. They pointed out that this was for express services only and that the Ribble buses on staged services would remain in the traditional red.
Before leaving the subject of buses, there was a letter published in the Burnley Express by an irate reader who was disgusted with the quality, or lack of quality, being shown at the town’s new Studio 1 & 2 cinema. He said we’d been promised top quality films but had got nothing but sex films, and he named great titles such as ‘Vergin on the Verge’, ‘S for Sex’ and ‘Diary of a Half Virgin’. Despite being disgusted at the type of film being shown, he brilliantly wrote: “I have seen these films and find them a load of rubbish.”
Concerned at the thought of the Burnley public being corrupted, I quickly checked what was showing that August week in 1972. Studio 2 was showing a film with music provided by ‘Middle of the Road’. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but a group capable of recording ‘Chirpy, Chirpy, Cheep, Cheep’ is hardly likely to have got into anything over concerning. However, over at Studio 1 was a film entitled ‘Mutiny on the Buses’, a film version of the old television comedy ‘On the Buses’. Somehow I can’t see a film featuring Doris Hare (mum) and Anna Karan (Olive) being too risqué.
There was news of one young Burnley man, aged 22, about to set out on a once in a lifetime adventure. Jack Scholes had applied for work with Voluntary Services Oversees and they were sending him to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Far be it for me to gloat at his departure, but this half cousin of mine had once given me lines at school for running down the corridor. Not as though I ever did them. My mum had a word with his mum and that was that, but I didn’t like him and I can report I’ve never seen him since.
In the world of sport there was sensational news from Turf Moor but next door on the other side of the cricket field stand where Burnley Cricket Club had sacked professional Harold Rhodes. The former Derbyshire and England bowler with the dodgy action was in his third season at the club but his association was terminated with immediate effect because he had breached his contract. Rhodes claimed a groin injury sustained in the Worsley Cup semi-fInal and, with a medical certificate, said he wouldn’t be able to play for three weeks. Burnley ordered him to report for the evening continuation of the tie on the Monday but he failed to arrive, citing problems with driving. He said he would fight Burnley’s decision, but the fact was that Rhodes had played his last game for Burnley and his last game in the Lancashire League who also gave him a ban.
Burnley secured the services of Lancashire’s Ken Snellgrove for the visit of East Lancs. Snellgrove opened the innings but failed to trouble the scorers as he was caught off the bowling of Australian Neil Hawke. All told it was a disastrous end to a difficult week for the club. They were all out for 38 and East Lancs had lost just two wickets as they passed that score. A week earlier, Lowerhouse had been bowled out for 27 at Todmorden. They were beaten again but it was a much closer game at Accrington. They scored 145/8 with professional Duncan Carter top scoring with 61. Carter was the only bowler, however, to take any wickets as Accrington won by seven wickets.
Still, the attention was on the football, with manager Jimmy Adamson springing a major surprise ahead of kick off. His concern was the fitness of Eric Probert and that seemed to be the only position up for grabs. Doug Collins was very much out of the picture and Adamson had explained in the week before that he would not play Dave Thomas, the player the fans wanted in the side, in midfield, and so should Probert fail a fitness test the only likely replacement would be Alan West. “It is vital that we get a good start to the season by winning this match,” he said. “We have got to be more positive than we were in the pre-season matches and I’m confident that the players can raise their game and play much better than they have been recently. It is up to them to show that they can do it when it really counts. Carlisle played very well at Turf Moor last year and we were a bit fortunate to win 3-1. We know that they are a good side but we think we can win.”
When the teams were named, Adamson had completely about turned and, with Probert ruled out, included Thomas in the side against a Carlisle United team under the management of Alan Ashman who had taken over that summer. Ashman made one change to the team shown in the programme with Bob Delgado replacing ex-Claret Stan Ternent.
Burnley turned in a very good performance with the only disappointment being the result. We should have won. We played well and were the better side, and it was a performance inspired by Thomas making you wonder just what was going on. The Clarets failed to win, despite being by some distance the better team, because we twice gave bad goals away with the visitors twice being able to take the lead.
We started so well and in the very first minute Carlisle goalkeeper Allan Ross was forced to save brilliantly from Paul Fletcher’s left foot shot after a superb run and cross from Leighton James. From the resulting corner, we hit the post and within a couple of minutes Frank Casper had what looked like the opener ruled out for offside.
For almost half an hour we dominated. Martin Dobson was supreme in midfield, Thomas was running them ragged and they just couldn’t cope with Fletcher’s dominance up front. A goal surely had to come. It did. It came just before the half hour, and, so against the run of play, Carlisle took the lead. They’d only had one previous attack but this time they made it count. Stan Bowles was fouled just outside the box. England cricketer Chris Balderstone took the free kick for Dennis MARTIN to head past Alan Stevenson. Burnley appealed in vain for offside, but the flag stayed down and we were a goal behind. Burnley had a habit of getting caught out like this at free kicks, pushing out for offside and failing to get the decision, and here it was again, costing us even though there was every reason to believe the linesman had got his decision very badly wrong on this occasion.
The goal knocked us back on our heels a bit but there was never any likelihood of Carlisle taking control. Despite pushing forward looking for a goal of our own, we went into the half time interval a goal behind.
The second half started just as the first half had, with Burnley tearing forward. This time it paid dividends with a goal just four minutes in. Mick Docherty and Fletcher started the move but it was the work of Casper that proved to be the key as he tricked John Gorman down the right touchline before aiming the perfect cross to the feet of Leighton JAMES whose first time shot was just too good for Ross.
Carlisle were rocking, but incredibly, just past the hour, and against all the run of the play, they restored their lead following a blunder from Colin Waldron. He failed to control the ball and that let in Balderstone. He found Bowles whose mis-hit shot fell nicely into the path of Bobbie OWEN and he was left with the simplest of chances.
It needed something special to get us back in it again and it came. James was being crowded out by four defenders as he made a run on goal, so he looked up and crossed for Fletcher. His knock down was met by Alan West (who had just come on as a substitute) for THOMAS. He brilliantly went past one defender before sliding the ball into the corner beyond Ross.
Despite all our efforts, we couldn’t find a winner and had to settle for a point, but other than the result this was a good opening day showing, spoiled only by a late booking for Keith Newton, who would have to await news on whether the tackle was deemed to be from behind. If so he would be given four penalty points and not the standard three under the new rules.
Thomas was the inspiration and he showed that, as long as he remained at Burnley, he could provide the skill and creativity to inspire a promotion challenge. “It was a good team performance but we shall have to be more solid at the back if we want to win promotion,” Adamson said after the game.
He continued: “We did well to come from behind twice to grab a point but we should never have been behind in the first place. The forwards created a lot of chances and if they had taken them we would never have been in danger.”
Significantly, he added: “I thought Dave Thomas had an excellent game on his return to the team and he did everything that was expected of him. We also brought on Alan West in the hope of generating a bit of enthusiasm into the team. We play the game now with a 12-man team and this seemed to be the best time to introduce a new face.”
The teams were;
Burnley: Alan Stevenson, Mick Docherty, Keith Newton, Martin Dobson, Colin Waldron, Jim Thomson, Billy Ingham (Alan West 70), Frank Casper, Paul Fletcher, Dave Thomas, Leighton James.
Carlisle: Allan Ross, Derek Hemstead, John Gorman, Joe Laidlaw, Graham Winstanley, Bob Delgado, Ray Train, Dennis Martin, Bobbie Owen, Stan Bowles, Chris Balderstone. Sub not used: Stan Ternent.
Referee: Mr K. A. Wynn (Wolverhampton).
So, the run of six consecutive league wins, recorded at the end of the previous season, had come to an end. The performance offered encouragement but the big disappointment was the attendance. It was under 10,000 and less than had attended the Watney Cup tie against Bristol Rovers.
There were some interesting names among the goalscorers in the Second Division on the opening day. In the Tees-Wear derby at Middlesbrough, both home goals were scored by Malcolm Smith who, just over four years later, would become the first player to play league football for Burnley whilst on loan to the club. Our next loan player was Martyn Busby, and he too was on the mark for QPR in their draw against a Swindon side that included Peter Noble. At the Goldstone Ground, Brighton, having won promotion, started the new season with a home draw against Bristol City. Their goalscorer was a certain Willie Irvine and I don’t have to say too much about his ability at finding the net.
Biggest winners on the opening day of the season were Sheffield Wednesday. They beat Fulham 3-0 at Hillsborough with goals from Mike Prendergast, John Holsgrove and Brian Joicey. Fulham were to be our next opponents a week later at Craven Cottage, a ground where we’d won in the previous season.
Second Division Results
Saturday 12th August 1972
Brighton 1 Bristol City 1
Burnley 2 Carlisle 2
Cardiff 2 Luton 1
Huddersfield 1 Blackpool 0
Middlesbrough 2 Sunderland 1
Millwall 2 Hull 0
Nottingham Forest 0 Portsmouth 0
Orient 1 Oxford 1
Preston 0 Aston Villa 1
Sheffield Wednesday 3 Fulham 0
Swindon 2 QPR 2