The Gooners are goners
The Burnley team of 60 years ago, fresh from another big home win against Bolton Wanderers, travelled to London and Highbury to take on the Arsenal. Without an away win since September they didn’t disappoint this time and returned with both points.
Needless to say the weather was still the centre of attention in Burnley, indeed right across the country as three days of high winds cause havoc. Some parts of Britain had been more badly affected than Burnley but even so there was extensive damage in town with most of it involving roof slates, chimney pots, fencing and television aerials.
As we were battening down the hatches there was another plea from the corporation regarding the water. When full, Burnley’s reservoirs held 740 million gallons of water but we were still down at 473 million gallons despite the wet spell we’d had. The normal consumption was usually 4.1 million gallons per day but that had been reduced to 3.6, although there was a warning that consumption simply had to come down to less than 3 million gallons per day.
With the temperatures dropping too, W Buchanan of Howe Street had the answer for the men with Chilprufe underwear. Made of the finest pure wool they were soft on the skin and would withstand washing without shrinking. You don’t know the comfort of pure wool until you have worn Chilprufe.
Being soft on the skin reminds me that for most people a visit to the smallest room in the house (often outside in the backyard) meant either using newspapers or for some the wonders of Izal toilet paper. But fear not Bronco was the new look toilet paper around and came in rolls and packets. Not only that you could get them in pink, green and blue as well as the traditional white. “It’s a healthy sign when there’s a Bronco in the house” said the advert, but in truth not many could afford the luxury with the rolls costing 1s 3d and the packets 1s.
Back to the cold, and you had to feel for the young children of Brunshaw estate waiting for the bus to school. At a Burnley Trade & Labour Council Meeting it was claimed more bus shelters were needed in town, none more so than in Brunshaw estate where there were now 900 houses. “It is pitiful to see young children at the stops and crying with cold,” said one member.
Christmas was not going to be a good one for all the mill workers who had lost their jobs and the unions were asking for the pay for the redundant workers to be speeded up. At last there was news with the District Bank confirming they had been authorised to start payments from their Grimshaw Street branch.
Some of the elderly would be getting a Christmas treat though. The Mayor Councillor Edith Utley had received a Christmas pudding from the Australian Dried Fruits Board and had decided that it should be distributed to the old folk. The 28lb pudding would provide a helping for 100 people and they were to be delivered on Christmas Day by the meals-on-wheels people, and they would be free of charge.
At this time of year people often consider getting a dog, but only those prepared to give them the proper care should do so and that was not the case with one Reedley resident in 1959. His next door neighbour, a Mrs Ivy Walker, was so disturbed that she reported him to the RSPCA and admitted she’d been unable to sleep because of the condition of the dog. RSPCA officials found the terrier more dead than alive and were sadly unable to save it, such was the poor condition. The owner, incredibly, was punished by no more than a £3 fine.
Padiham town centre had been hit during one night in the week with three premises in close proximity all being broken into. These were a servicing garage, a corn merchant’s and a hardware store. Police believed it may be the work of the same gang. They climbed over a wall and broke a window to get into J Pollard (hardware) and this was the only one of the three where they had any success. Next door at Thomas Hanson and Sons (corn merchants) Mr W. Frankland reported: “They apparently came down through the building and into my office. One or two drawers were forced open. One of these contained my electric razor but they left it behind.”
The Bridge Inn was the centre of attention when Burnley’s Chief Fire Officer Mr F. W. Brown MBE visited to demolish a pile of pennies that had been three months in the making. Once the money had been counted they had raised no less than 10 guineas (£10.50 in today’s money) for the National Spastics Society.
Sometimes you wonder how on earth people come up with ideas and that was the case with one local teenager who decided to go on a 110 mile walk. This walk would take him from Burnley to Blackpool and back again and then to Steeton and back again. He got as far as Lea (Preston), a total of 30 miles, before giving it up. He wasn’t tired but was wet through because of the rain. He said he’d have another go when the weather was better.
A parcel arrived at Turf Moor addressed to a Mr A. Blacklaw. It contained the yellow jersey that he’d worn in the ‘B’ international against Wales. Adam said that the usual practice was to give the player his jersey immediately after the game but his was dirty because of the muddy conditions and so it had to be retained for cleaning.
How about this one? England were managed at the time by Walter Winterbottom. This was not a full time position and Walter had the team picked for him each game by a group of selectors. Burnley Football Club, via chairman Mr R. W. Lord, had put forward a proposal which was heard at a meeting of club chairmen. Mr Lord suggested that a full time manager be appointed with complete charge at a salary of £5,000 per year. The selected person should be given a seven year contract and be allowed to form a side in his own way with a staff of scouts to assist in finding the necessary players suitable to the considered type of play. Mr Lord did admit that he didn’t want the FA coming for Harry Potts and in any case his proposal got nowhere – that was until 1963 when that is exactly what happened with the appointment of Alf Ramsey as England’s first ever full time manager, and after Jimmy Adamson had turned it down.
Burnley travelled to London with Bobby Seith ready to make his 200th league appearance for the club. Seith was the only member of the side without a single representative honour, something club officials found hard to believe. He was also the only fully qualified chiropodist at the club.
It all went well too in London as Burnley really did end that run of away games without a win and an incredible 4-2 success at Highbury, which saw us come from two goals down at half time. This incredible win signified Burnley’s greatest performance at the Arsenal stadium, where it caused such a sensation that the word spread round that home directors had met for an ‘inquest’ immediately after the match.
To be two down at half time, with Jimmy McIlroy limping; to then go on and score four goals and outplay the Gunners’ defence until they appeared to be in a state of bewildered surrender, is a feat to be classified as one of the best in the history of the club. No wonder the claret and blue favour wearing supporters – travellers from the environs of Burnley as well as Lancashire exiles in London – waited outside the impressive Highbury portals to cheer the team, jointly and severally, as they descended the steps to enter the Euston bound coach.
It wasn’t the best of first halves for Burnley and we went down to ten men for a time after McIlroy’s left leg slipped on the greasy ground. Despite the ministrations of trainer Ray Bennion, it was obvious that temporary repairs were inadequate, and after briefly hobbling he retired for a time to the dressing room where the club M.O. Dr David Iven, who had come with the team, attended to him.
He returned in time, however, to see Joe HAVERTY give the Gunners the lead when the ball slipped out of Blacklaw’s hands and went in off the far post. When Jimmy Adamson conceded a free kick, Jimmy BLOOMFIELD chipped his shot over the line up (into which John Henderson had run with unlawful vigour knocking outraged personnel in their backs after jumping over the ball) just under the bar with Blacklaw unsighted.
In the second half Brian Miller broke through. He drew back to hammer in a goal when Jack Kelsey, who had missed it, made a despairing grab at his foot. Miller hit the ground, Mr Sparling advanced pointing the finger of doom. The crippled McIlroy could not take the penalty, who would be deputy? Adamson suggested to the startled John Angus that he should take over, the right back declined with his usual modesty. The skipper , therefore, placed the ball on the spot and walked back so far that it remained anyone’s guess as to who would have a bash. It was ADAMSON. He came at a canter and Kelsey made a speculative sideways leap, the ball went under him and into the net.
They swept away in attacking formation with Adamson joining in the forward line up and John CONNELLY had the honour of nipping in to score Burnley’s 50th goal of the season. This was the first of Connelly’s 12 minute hat trick. A Ray Pointer, Connelly, Brian Pilkington, Pointer move again inter passed through the now panicky Arsenal defence. The centre forward’s left wing centre was headed back into the middle by Jimmy Robson and CONNELLY rushed the ball past Kelsey.
The Gunners were in such a sorry state that when Pointer moved out to the right, an Arsenal defender merely watched him with a half hearted move at intervention. Another Gunners mix up and CONNELLY pounced again on an indifferent Arsenal pass and the ball was in the net for his third goal and Burnley’s fourth.
For Burnley it was a last 20 minutes of triumph in which Pointer must have covered every inch of the Arsenal territory in a constant roaming which helped to unnerve the opposition and while his colleagues moved incessantly to cover the immobility of McIlroy. The Irish maestro himself did enough on one leg to make observers wonder to what depths of humiliation Arsenal would have sunk if he had been able to bewilder them on two.
The win saw Burnley go above both Wolves and West Ham on goal average and into third place, just one point behind Spurs and two behind Preston who still led the table. Leeds and Luton remained in the relegation places and with a home game against struggling Leeds to come an assault on the top place was on for Burnley.
The teams at Highbury were;
Arsenal: Jack Kelsey, Len Wills, Bill McCullough, Vic Groves, Bill Dodgin, Gerry Ward, Danny Clapton, John Barnwell, John Henderson, Jimmy Bloomfield, Joe Haverty.
Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Alex Elder, Bobby Seith, Brian Miller, Jimmy Adamson, John Connelly, Jimmy McIlroy, Ray Pointer, Jimmy Robson, Brian Pilkington.
Referee: Mr A. W. Sparling (Grimsby).
The reserves made it a double with a 2-0 home win against Blackpool. Andy Lochhead got the first goal during a first half performance described as brilliant and Gordon Harris got the second after the break when we struggled against a bombardment from Blackpool.
First Division Results
12th December 1959
Arsenal 2 Burnley 4
Blackburn 6 West Ham 2
Blackpool 3 Chelsea 1
Bolton 4 Birmingham 1
Everton 2 West Brom 2
Fulham 1 Tottenham 1
Luton 3 Newcastle 4
Manchester City 3 Leeds 3
Nottingham Forest 1 Manchester United 5
Sheffield Wednesday 2 Preston 2
Wolves 0 Leicester 3