Couch Potato reflects on our past games in Europe particularly a certain Swiss-based one and also poses a question or three.
A few weeks ago, in a Vital Burnley forum, I posed two questions?
Which ground holds the record for the highest ever score in a World Cup finals tournament?
And what`s the connection with Burnley Football Club?
Nobody seemed to know the answers!
If you buy a copy of the fanzine When the Ball Moves 78, which is due out on 5 December, you`ll find some background to these bare facts.
The record-holding ground is Le Stade Olympique de La Pontaise, home of Lausanne Sport. The connections with Burnley are first, that it`s the site of our only away win in a major European competition (thus far) when Lausanne Sport`s name was Lausanne Sports. Secondly, I went there this September!
Okay, the latter connection may be a bit tenuous but I made contact with the fan club there, told them about their club`s part in our history, and have since started wondering whether it might be fun to try to arrange a kick-about with them in 2016, fifty years after we won our Fairs Cup game there? or even before then. The fan club members are a friendly bunch. EasyJet flies to Geneva. From there it`s a 45-minute train ride. There are hotels and hostels to suit all budgets, and even a superb campsite right beside the lake.
Watching the people is as spectacular as watching the mountain skyline and evening lights across the water in France. In between telling me that their respective nations had a crucial upcoming World Cup qualifier, two fashionably dressed young women – one Algerian, one Egyptian – who boarded my train as it passed through ultra-wealthy Montreux, advised that Geneva is best for shopping, but Lausanne for clubbing. Andy Lochhead celebrated the birth of his firstborn there; and WTBM editor Barnsey was even at the university there for a few months, and watched several games at La Pontaise!
Such possibly idle thinking about a Burnley-Lausanne kick-about about got me wondering whether anyone had been more active than this in making plans to celebrate our Euro-anniversaries of what happened 6 years earlier? which is to say, next year!
I wonder if the club may do something along the lines of a pre-season friendly with Hamburg. If you pull your old When We Were Kings video down off the shelf, and still have something that can play it, you`ll find that Uwe Seeler was willing to take part in that production. So maybe the clubs are talking again. Who knows?
Regardless, what are we as Vital Burnley fans, WTBM readers and writers, and Clarets Trust members going to do to commemorate the year in which we played not only in Hamburg, but also in Reims? And what are we going to do to commemorate not only our win in Lausanne, but also our draws in Stuttgart, Napoli and Frankfurt in the 66/67 season. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking?
First: let`s drink some champagne in Reims. It’s in the heart of champagne country; and as Stade Reims is emulating Burnley`s tour of the lower tiers (currently in the third tier, I believe) I would be shocked if they weren`t pleased to see us.
Then, in Hamburg, we could go looking for the clubs where? the Beatles might have been playing (What did you think I was going to say?) very much at the sort of time the Clarets were in town.
In Stuttgart we could sample some gateaux from the nearby Black Forest.
Then, as I have already suggested, we could arrange a kick-about in Lausanne with the local fans.
But would we fancy another kick-about in Naples? It was, as I am sure all Clarets remember, site of the ‘battle` that saw fruit, vegetables and shoes thrown at our players, reserve goalkeeper Blacklaw thrown into a moat, guns drawn on him just outside our dressing room, and our team depart for the airport under escort of an armoured lorry, nine jeeps full of militia and a dozen police motorcyclists (as remembered in Willie Irvine’s Together Again – www.burnleyfcbooks.co.uk).
Who fancies the job of contacting the fan club there and saying they`re from Burnley?!*!*?
After all that excitement, finishing our tour in Frankfurt, we might well be feeling ready for a beer, and I think you`ll find that their Oktoberfest is as least as deserving of our attention as the more famous one in Munich.
These are just idle thoughts. Anyone else got any ideas?
In the meantime, there`s the small matter of celebrating the 50th anniversary of our last title.
I don`t suppose anyone`s short of ideas. But I would like to encourage everyone to buy Dave Thomas`s recently published book Jimmy Mac: Prince of Inside Forwards (www.burnleyfcbooks.co.uk). I sent Dave an email about it a few days ago?
I can’t say that I have read all that much yet, but have several times skimmed through. What delight! A real labour of love and a fitting tribute! I felt for you when reading your very generous WTBM 76 piece about the books by Brendan Flood and Dave Burnley… you have played such a huge part in creating a Burnley book industry that may well now, as you suggest, be creating books ahead of people’s ability to buy them. I do hope that isn’t the case. But anyway I am not going to dwell on that, and am delighted to have the Prince of Inside Forwards as a keep-safe of my own few memories from when Jimmy Mac played, and as a treasure house of so much more to learn and savour.
He was kind enough to reply saying “your email goes into my scrapbook” Thank you, Dave. Keep going! Maybe you`re the man to go and rebuild our links in Naples? Has anyone from Burnley written their side of the story yet?