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Burnley’s hopes of winning all three Easter games ended at Filbert Street when we fell to a 2-1 defeat on Easter Monday 1960, and after all the games had been played the new First Division leaders were Wolves who had gone above Tottenham.

Easter wasn’t a good time for one young Burnley boy, aged 12. He had a real love of animals and that led to him committing two offences. He stole a white fantail pigeon and its cote from the rear of another boy’s home and asked Burnley Juvenile Court to take into account another offence of stealing a tame rabbit from another boy. The court heard that the rabbit had since escaped but the pigeon had been recovered and returned to its owner. The boy was a first offender and the court was told that the boy, who was described as a law until himself, was unable to read and was in fact backward. His father had now bought him two pigeons of his own and because of this the magistrates granted the boy a conditional discharge on payment of 15 shillings.

The Turf Moor terraces get a sweep on Bob-a-Job week

The remaining court news centred on the driving of vehicles and for one poor Burnley woman the news was not good as she discovered her car, a Mini valued at £350, had been stolen. It was found being driven by a soldier in the 42nd Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery. The soldier was found driving the car in Hereford after stealing it in Burnley. He was stationed in Plymouth and gave his home address as Canada. Burnley, Hereford, Plymouth, Canada? Presumably, somehow he’d got lost. I bet today he’d be thankful for a good SatNav system. The magistrates felt they couldn’t deal with this and committed him for trial at the next Burnley Quarter Sessions. Before leaving court the soldier was asked to confirm that he fully understood which town the case would be heard.

Local man Mr Harold Heslop was stopped when driving his van with police believing it was being driven erratically. When the police tested the vehicle they found that the steering wheel could be turned, left or right, through 120° without any movement being transmitted to the wheels and that it was impossible to steer it on a straight course. Poor Mr Heslop, he didn’t think there was anything wrong at all and said: “I thought all makes of vehicles similar to my van were like this on the steering.” There were many other things found wrong with the van. In modern terms it would have been described as a ‘rust bucket’ and there was very little tread on any of the tyres. It was deemed unacceptable and Mr Heslop was fined £1 for the van having defective steering, another £1 for a defective tyre and a further £2 for using a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Opticians in Burnley were getting very concerned at the number of people applying for eye tests and thought that maybe some were applying for tests more than once a year. It was reported that there was a growing tendency for applicants to fail to give a correct date of their previous test. Mr T. A. Watson, clerk to the local Executive Council of the Burnley Ophthalmic Services Committee, said: “There are an increasing number of people applying for re-testing of their sight by different opticians. The applicants are mainly people who seem reluctant to accept the fact that their own optician can do nothing more to improve their sight. To some a new pair of glasses seems to be like a new pair of shoes. If they are a bit tight here or they don’t fit properly there they go along to another optician taking with them not their new glasses but a pair which they have had perhaps five years. Our aim is to stop this abuse of the National Health Service.”

Easter Monday was the start of Bob-a-Job Week and that meant a morning trip to Turf Moor for the brush and broom brigade of the 3rd Brierfield Troop of the Boy Scouts. There was a full turn out of 25 boys who were tasked with sweeping up the cigarette packets, sweet wrappers, orange peel, cartons and various items of litter left by the spectators who had watched Burnley’s games on the Friday and Saturday. Stiff brushes were borrowed from their mums with the football club also loaning them some. They did such a good job that they were even allowed a break when they were all given an orange pop refreshment.

In local sport, Burnley Golf Club announced that Mr Arnold McLeod of Westbourne Avenue would be the new captain of the club. Mr McLeod, it was said, was a very keen golfer and started his career at the Towneley Municipal Course before being granted membership at the Glen View club. There was a good turn out to watch him drive off from the first tee in his plus fours, but another sporting organisation were expressing their disgust at new charges for 1960.

The Burnley and District Tuesday Bowling League had learned that the price of bowling on the town’s public parks greens would be increased to 6d per hour. The league, whilst reluctantly accepting this, applied for an amendment that after the first full hour had been played a half hourly charge of 3d could be applied, but the application was rejected. Secretary Mr H. Cramphorn asked if the greens were an amenity or a profit making concern and said: “We already pay dearly for the privilege of our parks and why should these exorbitant charges become necessary in excess of the rate we pay both direct and indirect?”

Burnley travelled to Leicester for the return game. We’d beaten them on Good Friday and followed that up with the win against Luton on the following day. We had five games left with only one remaining at home and for the first of them it was off to Filbert Street with Mr Harry Potts, manager, able to announce an unchanged team with Trevor Meredith again in for the injured John Connelly at outside-right.

The championship hopes of Turf Moor though received a setback. As often happens on such occasions, the favourites found the strain too much for them, and an edgy, unhappy Burnley were beaten 2-1 by a more assured team which made fewer mistakes. The simple truth about this Filbert Street game was that the City at once struck an impressive rhythm and maintained it against a Burnley team well below par.

Two down at half time proved an irretrievable situation for the title chasers. Something approaching their genuine sureness and individual confidence was forthcoming in the second half and the home goal sometimes escaped dramatically, but Leicester contributed to the excitement with their desperate measures.

The first 25 minutes yielded only two raids worthy of note from Burnley, and Ray Pointer should have scored from the first of them in the opening 20 seconds. The ball came to him on the right, and his cross shot fizzled just outside the far post with the defence helpless. There was another first half thrill when Jimmy McIlroy’s fast, low centre was glided on by Pointer and home right back, Willie Cunningham, nearly turned the ball into his own goal.

Leicester, with five changes from the previous game, looked much the fresher side in the first half and Ken Keyworth, in the 29th minute, cut out the opening for Howard Riley to cross from the right, and Gordon WILLS, the home left-winger, scored with a great 18-yard drive. The next goal was the subject of debate for some time. Keyworth’s through ball pierced a wide open Burnley defence, and found former Burnley player Albert CHEESEBROUGH darting through to hit the ball home. Burnley protests that their old club mate was offside were not upheld by either the referee or linesman.

Burnley’s early football of the second half brought a reminder of their quality, but still they could not find the guile and punch to apply the decisive blow until they had the aid of a home blunder. Right-half Ian White, just inside his penalty area, sliced a clearance and the ball rolled out to the left for MEREDITH, who had switched into the middle, to slam the ball home without trouble.

The last 15 minutes seethed with excitement around each goal. Home centre-half Tony Knapp demanded a wonder save from his goalkeeper when he mis-kicked three yards from the line, and crosses from the Burnley wingers tested the home defence to the limit. The final gambit, however, was a great run by Cheesebrough and his best shot of the season, a rocket that Adam Blacklaw flicked over the bar superbly.

When Burnley launched their effort, they were not alert enough to profit from Leicester slips, except in that one instance of Meredith’s goal. Maybe the prime reason for the turn of events was that McIlroy’s game was blunted by excellent home covering and tight marking. Shooting was usually from long range, and inaccurate. All in all it was a disappointed day for Burnley who would need to re-find their form for the game against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on the following Saturday.

The teams were;

Leicester: Gordon Banks, Willie Cunningham, Richard Norman, Ian White, Tony Knapp, Colin Appleton, Howard Riley, Albert Cheesebrough, Ken Keyworth, James Walsh, Gordon Wills.

Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Alex Elder, Jimmy Adamson, Tommy Cummings, Brian Miller, Trevor Meredith, Jimmy McIlroy, Ray Pointer, Jimmy Robson, Brian Pilkington.

Referee: Mr A. W. Sparling (Grimsby).

Attendance: 24,429.

With that result, it meant Burnley were again looking for leaders Tottenham and second place Wolves, who were both ahead of us on goal average before kick off, to suffer poor results. We got it with Tottenham who fell to a second home defeat of the weekend, this time in a London derby against Chelsea. Wolves, however, beat Nottingham Forest at home and then the following day took a point from a draw in the return in Nottingham. It left them three points clear of both Tottenham and Burnley at the top, although Burnley did have two games in hand.

The reserves won but there was some bad news ahead of the game. On Saturday, Dave Smith had come off injured in the reserve game against Manchester City and it was revealed that he’d broken his leg for a fourth time. He’d missed the first half of the season after suffering the same injury in pre-season at Gawthorpe and didn’t play until he got a game with the ‘B’ team in early December. He resolved to be back for the start of the 1960/61 season and said: “I was quite certain it was broken. I should know, I have had plenty of experience with broken legs.”

Without him, the reserves beat Preston 4-0 at Turf Moor. Burnley were second best but then scored four times in a 12 minute spell around the hour. A Jimmy Scott penalty was followed by two Peter Simpson goals and one between them from Ronnie Fenton.

First Division Results

18th April 1960

Birmingham 1 West Brom 7
Blackpool 0 Everton 0
Bolton 3 Manchester City 1
Fulham 3 Arsenal 0
Leicester 2 Burnley 1
Luton 1 Blackburn 1
Manchester United 5 West Ham 3
Preston 1 Leeds 1
Sheffield Wednesday 2 Newcastle 0
Tottenham 0 Chelsea 1
Wolves 3 Nottingham Forest 1

19th April 1960

Leeds 2 Preston 1
Nottingham Forest 0 Wolves 0
West Brom 1 Birmingham 1

League Table

Pos Team pld w d l f a ga pts
1 Wolves 40 23 6 11 100 63 1.59 52
2 Tottenham 40 19 11 10 79 48 1.65 49
3 Burnley 38 22 5 11 81 59 1.37 49
4 Sheffield Wed 40 19 10 11 77 54 1.43 48
5 West Brom 40 18 11 11 81 55 1.47 47
6 Newcastle 40 18 8 14 82 74 1.11 44
7 Bolton 40 18 8 14 55 50 1.10 44
8 Manchester United 40 18 7 15 95 75 1.27 43
9 Preston 40 15 12 13 76 74 1.03 42
10 Fulham 40 16 9 15 71 79 0.90 41
11 Blackpool 40 15 9 16 57 66 0.86 39
12 Chelsea 40 14 9 17 75 84 0.89 37
13 Leicester 40 12 13 15 64 73 0.88 37
14 West Ham 40 16 5 19 73 87 0.84 37
15 Arsenal 40 14 9 17 63 77 0.82 37
16 Everton 40 12 11 17 72 73 0.99 35
17 Blackburn 39 15 5 19 57 66 0.86 35
18 Manchester City 39 15 3 21 74 81 0.91 33
19 Nottingham Forest 40 12 9 19 47 73 0.64 33
20 Birmingham 39 11 10 18 58 77 0.75 32
21 Leeds 39 11 10 18 62 88 0.70 32
22 Luton 40 8 12 20 47 70 0.67 28
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