Back to the Future 4-Tractor Boys but No Win Joys
Our fourth game of the 1975-76 season, the last time we were in the top flight of English football, was against Ipswich at Portman Road. Jimmy Adamson made the long trek to deepest Suffolk with the lads still waiting for his first win of the season after two home draws against Arsenal and Everton followed by a close but nevertheless 3-2 defeat at West Ham.
Back then Ipswich were quite a good side and the season before they had finished in 3rd place behind Champions, Derby and Runners-Up, Liverpool. In the previous two seasons they had been 4th so were now becoming an established top club. The manager in those days was a very young Bobby Robson but in 1975-76 he had been unfortunate with a number of injuries affecting the consistency within the team. By the end of 1975-76, the season we would be relegated in 21st spot, Ipswich would finish a creditable 6th. However by their standards that was a disappointment.
Robson had joined Ipswich as manager in 1969 and his reign was to last 13 years until 1982 when of course he left to become England manager after years of success at Portman Road. Ipswich had finished lower than 6th only once in the nine seasons since 1972-3 and in that season (1977-78) they won the FA Cup instead beating Arsenal 1-0 at Wembley.
His career since 1982 was of course legendary culminating in a knighthood in 2002. Sir Bobby Robson sadly died in July this year after a long battle with cancer.
Ipswich had a number of well-known and respected players in their side in 1975-6 and some that would become household names and later enter management at the top level. One such budding star was full-back George Burley, the current Scotland manager. He was just about breaking through onto the International scene having been selected for the Scotland Under 23 side the season before. Another player in the side was England International full-back and Ipswich captain, Mick Mills. He was playing in midfield at this time though and was in his testimonial year. Other recognisable names in the squad included England International full-back, Kevin Beattie, midfielder Brian Talbot, winger Clive Woods, England International striker, David Johnson and finally striker, Trevor Whymark.
It was with some trepidation therefore when the Clarets travelled to Portman Road on the night of Tuesday 26th August 1975 for their fourth game of the season still looking for their first win.
The team we put out that night was as follows:
Stevenson, Docherty, Newton, Noble, Waldron, Thomson, Flynn, Hankin, Summerbee, Collins, James Sub: Morgan (Did not feature)
The match was played in front of a crowd of 23.579 and finished goal-less but this was actually a well-earned point against such a high-ranking club at the time and the point meant we were now in 17th spot.
By the time the return match was played at Turf Moor on Saturday 7th February 1976, Jimmy Adamson had resigned and our new manager was Joe Brown. The Clarets were now struggling badly and we were second from bottom by the time the Tractor Boys arrived.
The Claret & Blue News and Views programme for the match as you can see above had a photo of Keith Newton and family on the front. You might also recognise Brian Close, the England, Yorkshire and Somerset cricketer of that era. Keith, sadly no longer with us was being presented with a crystal decanter and glasses by the club having just made 500 appearances in League football. Also on the photo was Hilda Lord, wife of Burnley FC Chairman, Bob Lord.
Full-back Keith Newton was one of those rare breed of footballers who had also played for the local rivals down the road, Blackburn Rovers. He joined Rovers in October 1960 originally as a wing half before being converted to full-back where he could play either on the right or left. It was at full back that he became one of England`s best defenders. Newton won his first cap for England in February 1966. He played 27 times for England until 1970 including three matches of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Everton secured his services in December 1969 for £80,000 after he had made over 300 first-team appearances for Blackburn. In 1971 he was given a free transfer, signing for the Clarets. Despite his connection with 'them down road` he was an instant hit with Clarets fans and was as solid as a rock in defence. He finally retired from football in May 1978 and at the age of 56 sadly died from lung cancer in June 1998. A true gentleman and a true loss!
Jo Brown in his notes welcomed Tony Morley to the club, the winger had just signed from Preston North End for £100,000 and he would make his debut in the Ipswich game. Morley joined Aston Villa for £200,000 in June 1979 where he would make an impression and eventually become an England international. For the moment though the winger with unruly long hair was about to hear the wrath from Bob Lord about his hair-do and in a few months time would be sporting a little skinhead number some thought in protest at being asked to cut his hair.
Here is the before...
Morley would later return to the club on a brief loan spell in 1988 playing a handful of games for the Clarets but by then he had become a bit of a journeyman having played for West Brom, Birmingham, Seiko and ADO Den Haag. He was playing his second spell for West Brom when he joined us on loan and would later play for Tampa Bay Rowdies before finishing his football playing career with Ħamrun Spartans
Brown`s notes also contained sad news that popular striker, Frank Casper had finally been beaten by a knee injury of almost three years standing despite three operations on his left leg. Casper had been near crippled after a nasty, malicious foul by 'Bite Your Legs` Norman Hunter in a game at Elland Road back in March 1974. We beat Leeds 4-1 that day but the gloss was taken off the victory after the loss of Casper who never really returned to full form after that. We will tell you more about Casper and his career when we review his last match for the Clarets away to Norwich City in January 1976. The good news in the notes though was that Casper would be staying at the club and would now be joining the backroom staff as youth team coach. He would of course eventually become manager of Burnley FC on more than one occasion but that would be in the future.
So then let`s get back to the match against Ipswich. The crowd at Turf Moor that day was just 17,536 and we lined up as follows:
Peyton, Scott, Newton, Ingham, Waldron, Thomson, Morley, Flynn, Summerbee, Fletcher, Noble Sub: Morris (Did not feature)
The Clarets were desperate for their first consecutive win in the league after getting a rare away victory against Everton in their previous game but we were still in a precarious position with relegation staring us in the face. It just wasn`t to be though and we could not rescue anything from this match going down 1-0 with Ipswich scoring in the 57th minute. Another slap in the face then which often happens when you are doomed!
Next time on 'Back to the Future` we will tell you how well we did against Middlesbrough. They were the fifth team we played in 1975-76 and at long last we would get our first win on the board with a thumping 4-1 victory at Turf Moor but more of that in Part 5 when we will also tell you how well we did in the return match at Ayresome Park