Back to the Future 2-Sticky Toffee Puddings
The Clarets are of course currently celebrating their first ever season in the Premier League and the first time they have been in the top flight of English football for 33 years. What was it like back then though, the last time we were fighting it out with the big boys?
In this series of 21 articles we continue to look back to the 1975-76 season and review the life and times of being a Clarets fan in those days. In Part 2 we will look at our performance that season against Everton. We played the Toffees at home in our second game of the season and then at Goodison Park at the end of January but more of that later.
Everton finished mid-table in 11th spot by the end of 1975-76 but the Clarets were of course relegated and finished second from bottom never to return to the top flight for another 33 years. How dire that season was can be summed up by the fact that we scored just 43 goals in 42 games. It was also the season where we would say goodbye to a number of key players and Clarets fans favourites although that wasn`t unusual back then. Rather like in recent times a few seasons back in the Championship, we had to get used to seeing our players depart Turf Moor to make ends meet. The main difference back then was that we had a youth system second to none with a succession of players coming through the ranks usually ready to take over when key players departed.
It was only the season before that we had sold one of our most popular players, Martin Dobson to, rather appropriately for this article, Everton. The England international midfielder and our captain was sold to the Toffees in the opening month of the 1974-75 season. He signed for Everton in August 1974 for £300,000, a club transfer record back then. The fans were up in arms and it was chairman, Bob Lord (pictured above) who as usual was getting it in the neck. Many fans were convinced he had only been sold to fund the new Bob Lord stand but as usual there was nothing we could do except vent our anger and stop buying his sausages! Yes, he was a butcher in more ways than one! Lord certainly did not dispel the fans theory about the ground and said at the time:
"It will cost us £450,000 to run the club this season and we could not turn down £300,000. Four years ago people were fed up with a three-sided ground and wanted a new stand, so we built one`
So there you go it was the fans fault!
Let`s get back to the season after though. Clarets fans would see Frank Casper, Mick Docherty, Doug Collins and Colin Waldron play their last game for the Clarets during 1975-6 but all that was to happen after we had played Everton both home and away so the story behind those players leaving can be left for another day.
The Clarets of course have just beaten Everton at Turf Moor 1-0 in the Premier League during an atmospheric day at Fortress Turf Moor. Surprisingly that was the first time we had played them in a competitive game since 1975-76 having not even met them either in any of the domestic cup competitions over 30 odd years.
So how did Everton at Turf Moor 2009-10 compare to Everton at Turf Moor 1975-76?
In our second game of the season, the Toffees came to Turf Moor on the night of Tuesday 19th August 1975. Their manager at the time was Billy Bingham now of course at Burnley on the youth scouting side. Everton's team that season contained some well-known names including of course former Claret, Martin Dobson. Striker, Bob Latchford, Welsh International keeper, Dai Davies and defender Mike Bernard are some of the other players, old fogies like me might recall!
Burnley`s manager for this home clash was Jimmy Adamson and although he didn`t know it then he was in his final season for the Clarets. Adamson would resign in early January 1976 following a 1-0 defeat away to Blackpool in the FA Cup 3rd Round. Blackpool at the time were in the second division and it was a bad start to the New Year with striker, Ray Hankin also being sent off and Colin Waldron having a late goal scratched-off. By then we were also third from bottom in Division One and the writing was on the wall. In typical Burnley fashion back then, we did not bring in outsiders to replace our managers but promoted from within so up stepped assistant manager, Joe Brown to take over the reins. Joe would be in charge by the time we played Everton at Goodison Park in the return game at the end of January 1976 but let`s first talk about the home match.
Jimmy Adamson in his programme notes that night decided to have a rant about the Offside Rule which back then was much more simpler than it is now but still just as difficult to explain to the girlfriend! The title of his piece was 'Why Offside is the Biggest Enemy of the Game` in which he had a whine that not enough of his fellow First Division managers were supporting his long-term plan to scrap the offside law. Describing the offside law as bad he explained that in his opinion it acted against attractive, open play and gave defenders too much of an extra advantage. He also thought it was particularly detrimental at schoolboy level with many young lads put off playing up front because of it "I don`t like the trend which encourages youngsters into believing that such things as the offside game should be harnessed all the way in order to get results, he said, "Our junior players should be helped to enjoy the game and express themselves freely"
He finished by saying "Offside is the biggest enemy of the game we love, and nothing will make me alter my opinion on it! I wonder how many spectators at today`s game, having thought carefully about this, agree with me or otherwise?"
Adamson seemed to be on some sort of crusade and was hoping to lobby support over the coming months and years. Whether he did or not, I guess we will never know. Maybe his resignation later that season would put an end to his campaign but clearly nothing ever happened and the dreaded offside law remains with us to this day, if in anything a more complicated form causing even more controversy.
Whilst scanning through the Claret & Blue News and Views programme for this match I was also reminded how bad the beer was back then after spotting an advertisement for 'Brew Ten`. This keg monstrosity supplied by Bass was described as a 'Great Bitter` and we were reminded that we could sample the delights of this fizzy chunderbender at the game as it was on sale at the bars around the ground! Thank gawd for CAMRA that`s all I can say!
Anyway let`s get back to the match! The Clarets lined up as follows:
Stevenson, Docherty, Newton, Noble, Waldron, Thomson, Flynn, Hankin, Summerbee, Collins, James Sub: Brennan (who would come on to replace Collins)
20069 fans turned up for the match. The final score was 1-1, Hankin scored after 55 minutes only for Everton to equalise five minutes later.
We had now played two games at the start of the season both at home against Arsenal (16th in 1974-75) and now Everton (4th in 1974-75). Two points out of four could have been better at home and we now had two tricky away games coming up against West Ham and Ipswich. We will review our games against these clubs in Part 3 and 4 but first let`s look in more detail at the return game against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday 31st January 1976.
Things were not looking promising as the Clarets travelled to Liverpool to play the blue half of the city. We had that same month been knocked out of the FA Cup 3rd Round by second division side and local rivals Blackpool, had seen our manager resign and had since under new gaffer, Joe Brown lost two further league games away to Norwich and at home to Derby County. We were now second from bottom, desperate for something to cheer us up!
21,389 fans were at Goodison Park to watch this clash.
Our team that day certainly had a different feel to it than the one that played against Everton at home earlier in the season and this time we lined up as follows:
Peyton, Scott, Newton, Ingham, Waldron, Thomson, Morris, Flynn, Rodaway, Fletcher, Noble Sub: Kennerley (didn`t get on)
The game looked to be heading for no score at half time before Peter Noble popped up to break the deadlock with just four minutes of the first half remaining. The lead was not going to last long though with Everton equalising just two minutes after the start of the second half.Brian Flynn came to our rescue in the 73rd minute putting Burnley 2-1 up and Clarets fans could hardly believe their eyes when Derek Scott made it 3-1 with just three minutes left to play. Both these players had just scored their first League goals for the club but there was still a sting in the tail as Everton pulled one back in the 89th minute! We held on though and at long last had something to cheer about celebrating a 3-2 away victory. This was only our second away win of the season in the League so far and only our 5th win in 27 league games.
Those two points though were not going to kick start our season, we remained stubbornly in 21st spot, second from bottom and we were not going to get out of the bottom three for the remainder of the season but at least for now we could celebrate a rare victory in a season that really was turning out to be a nightmare.