Date: 27th August 2009 at 11:26am
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‘Back to the Future’ is a series in 21 parts recalling the life and times of being a Clarets fan in the 1975-76 season. This is Part One

Back to the Future Part One-1975-76, Arsenal & All That!

The Clarets are now back where they belong in the top flight of English football after 33 years in the wilderness.

To celebrate this great achievement we will be taking a trip down memory lane and providing a series of articles written by the Vital Burnley Editor, Turfmanphil recalling the last season we had in the top flight all those 33 years ago.

Phil has dug out his old programmes from that season and will be trying to use his memory to recall the matches at Turf Moor back then when he would have been standing on the Longside at the ripe old age of 21.

Some of the results from that season, (in fact most of them) won`t make happy reading considering of course we were relegated after finishing second from bottom but hopefully those Clarets around back then will enjoy a nostalgic look back and those that were not even born or in nappies will find the historical journey back to the future of interest.

Before we start recalling the matches though we need to set the scene of what life was like back in 1976. Back then of course there was no such thing as mobile phones and the only computers around were the size of Manhattan with reel-to-reel tapes and funny little cards with punched out dots on them! You might not know this but the Apple Computer Company was first formed in 1976 but we were still a million miles away from the PC that we know today.

What about other technology? Well video recorders were just hitting the world but you had to remortgage the house to afford one. VHS had just come on the market to compete with Sony Betamax and would eventually win out.

In the UK Jim Callaghan became Labour Prime Minister taking over from Harold Wilson who had resigned in April 1976. The average UK house price was £12704 and a gallon of petrol cost 76p! In the pubs you could get well sozzled for a £1 and drink wonderful keg beer like bleeding Watneys Red Barrel (absolute crap!).

1976 was also famous for the year of the drought, the hottest year on record although to be honest that was after the 1975-76 season was over.

Anyway let`s get back to Footy!

Our first match of the 1975-76 season was at home against Arsenal on Saturday 16th August 1975.

The programme, called Claret & Blue New and Views back then was just 15p and this first one of the season contained a photograph of then manager Jimmy Adamson with a new signing on either side of him in the shape of Willie Morgan who had returned to the club for his second spell after seven years at Manchester United and also England International, Mike Summerbee who had been signed in the close season from the other club in Manchester!

The Clarets that season wore the infamous ‘V for Victory` shirt but the season would go pear-shape and be far from victorious!

Adamson was sacked in January 1976 to be replaced by Joe Brown and as previously mentioned we would finish second from bottom, relegated rather co-incidentally with Sheffield United and Wolves with Birmingham 4th from bottom and just surviving. Rather curious when you consider who we beat at Wembley and which other teams were promoted with us last season.

All that heartbreak of 75-6 was to come however for Clarets fans as we kicked off a new season with great hopes for success. Our optimism was not totally unfounded after finishing a respectable 10th the season before.

So Arsenal first up. What can we say about them first? Well they were managed by Bertie Mee; yes him in that famous Clarets song from Highbury (and no not Bertie Bee!!).

Arsenal were not such a force they are now back then and by the end of the season they would finish 17th. Nevertheless they had a strong bruising team with some famous names that included Jimmy Rimmer, Pat Rice, Alan Ball, Liam Brady, George Armstrong, Brian Kidd and John Radford.

On the opening day of the 1975-6 season, 18603 fans saw this clash against the Gunners at Turf Moor and the Clarets lined up as follows:

Stevenson, Docherty, Newton, Noble, Waldron, Thomson, Morgan, Hankin, Summerbee, Collins, James Sub: Flynn

Yes back then you were only allowed one substitute and in this particular match Brian Flynn would eventually come on to replace Noble.Some other vagaries of life in the footy world back then was the amazing fact that people did not wear club shirts but preferred instead to sport Claret & Blue bob caps, Burnley Rosettes and carry noisy dangerous weapons about called rattles! Standing on the terraces was of course a god given right and away fans trying to take the Longside never succeeded. What else? Well you only got two points for a win for a start and the players wore shirts with Numbers 1-12 on them in logical order and there was no company name emblazoned across their chest (Bring back the good old days heh?)

So what happened in this match then? Well I certainly can`t remember much about it to be honest and perhaps that was because it finished 0-0. It certainly doesn`t seem to have warranted much comment by the manager either in the next home programmes. The game is not even mentioned with Adamson more hell bent on trying to get the offside law scrapped (more of that in Part 2)

To complete the picture what happened in the return match played at Highbury? Well that was played just before Christmas on the 20th December 1975 and sadly for the Clarets we lost 1-0 to a second-half goal.

The team that day was as follows:

Peyton, Docherty, Newton, Ingham, Waldron, Thomson, Summerbee, Kennerley, Hankin, Flynn Bradshaw Sub: Casper (didn`t get on)

The crowd was 16,459 and for Burnley fans things were looking bleak. We were by Christmas in 20th position and Jimmy Adamson`s days were numbered.

Oh well at least the beer was cheap even if most of it tasted like gnats pee!

The Clarets have just beaten Everton at Turf Moor in the Premier League this season but how did we fare against the Toffees 33 years ago? Find out in Part 2 of Back to the Future.

Just before we go though what was the fashion like back then? Well this photo just about sums it up and yes I was once as thin as a rake! Shish look at those flares!!


17 Replies to “Back to the Future-Part 1”

  • Three questions, turfman. 1. Wasn’t it about 1976, maybe a bit before, that CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) started? I seem to remember they published a little pocket guide book with maybe 100 pubs where you could escape things like Red Barrel, Tartan, Double Diamond, Worthington E party cans and the like. 2. Was Ars’s 17th finish their lowest ever? They have never been relegated. 3. What happened?!:)!?

  • Yikes have I had a couple to many lagers and wines over the years or is it that I don’t really remember that season because I was only 8. If memory serves me correctly my first trip to the turf thats football ground not pub. I’d be about 10(1978) it was Anglo Scotish Cup against Celtic. When the Celtic fans decided to rip Turf Moor apart. We did beat them though (I thinks)

  • Hope you had a good holiday, sheclaret. Do you remember the first time you went in the turf the pub?

  • Whatever happened to tank tops? 😉 CP The Campaign for Real Ale was founded on 16th March 1971 by four young men from the North West whilst on holiday in the West of Ireland! I would have made it 5 had I known! Arsenal won bugger all in the league between 1970?71 (Champions & FA Cup winners) and 1988?89, (Champions). They did however have three FA Cup appearances at Wembley winning one of them in 1978?79.

  • Can’t remember first time I went Turf Pub prob would have waited till I was about 18 or even older, unlike unlike the Cats Whiskers!!!

  • This was my first season in Her Majesties Royal Marine Commandos and as such my first year away from the Turf. Look forward to reading more of what I missed. Excellent stuff TMP

  • In was going to put a question in the quiz section asking what was the connection between tank tops, the Royal Marines and Cats Whiskers… but everyone knows now!!! 🙂

  • I was only 6 i must be the Vital Baby lol spent many time in the afore mentioned clubs/pubs though!! Great Article tmp and brave photo 😉 just trying to figure out where you were Coniston? any guesses anyone winner gets a copy of wtbm 75 after i have read it of course haha

  • For a prize like that, I’ll join in. Coniston? Looks more like Ross’n’summat in the 70s to me! 🙂

  • Ross’n’summat where Eckersley is that? i even tried to goggle it! to no avail even with letter changes, pretty sure your right with the 70’s though CP 😉 oh wait just come up with Ross Summit Washington could this be it?

  • Tank tops live on as ‘ sleeveless sweaters ‘ these days. Remember going down to the Whiskers of a Sunday evening with my mate Dudge who was, regrettably, a Rovers fan. Seem to recall we both had a degree of success with the ladies in those days too but sadly, a long time ago now. Only ever went to The Hop once though have been in more often since it has been a McDonalds strangely. Angels was s marvellous nite-spot – a prince amongst discotheques !

  • I remember that first match well it was great to have two of the biggest names in football playing for us we had got our willie back from Man Utd and also the king of main road mike summerbee. Willie willie mogan willie morgan on the wing and sha la la la summerbee songs rang out from the longside, I thought we would do well, that season but it did’nt turn out that way.
    Chants of you’ll never take the longside were aimed at visiting fans. But Phil if I remember Leeds and man utd did take most of the Longside but we wont go into that after Westham this week. I was 20 year old then and going out with a girl from todmorden, still you dont want to here that, Still got the programmes from that season.

  • Just realised I also got a few away ones too from that season so will include in due course. I went to Birmingham, Liverpool, Man City (Maine Rd), Blackpool(FA Cup 3rd), Wolves and Stoke (Victoria Ground) that season.
    Naw Man U & Leeds only thought they took the Longside! lol 😉 [Edited by turfmanphil]

  • Absolutely brilliant article, loved every bit of it. We did have some players then that made me think we could do well but there are some others who you realise were out of their depth at that level.

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