Swiss roll over
Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Wednesday, 25th October 2006
As we prepared for the visit of Lausanne Sport there was big news in the town with the opening of the first shop in the new town centre shopping centre.
This exciting news was accompanied with the hopes that other shops in the new centre would be open before Christmas and the whole venture was being heralded as a massive success with Trafalgar Street based Howarth Construction Company, and their top man Ken Bates getting all the plaudits. One wonders whatever happened to Mr Bates.
It had been a difficult few days nationwide, and the townsfolk of Burnley had joined the rest of the country in mourning the dreadful tragedy in Aberfan on the previous Friday, and some had left Lancashire for South Wales to help with the work being carried out in the devastated village.
Playing football had been difficult just a day after that disaster and for Burnley there was no game with the First Division fixture against Liverpool at Anfield called off with three Burnley players on international duty.
That was to cause something of a furore but many Burnley fans took the opportunity to watch some lower league football and a good number made their way to Ewood Park to take in the Second Division game between Blackburn Rovers and Norwich City.
The three players representing their country were club captain Alex Elder, Willie Irvine and Sammy Todd who were all in the Northern Ireland side that played England in Belfast in a European Nations Cup qualifying game.
“NATIONS CUP FARCE – TRIPLE BLOW TO IRELAND,” screamed the headlines in an Irish paper ahead of the game. The report claimed that Burnley had sold Northern Ireland down the river by refusing to release their players early for the game. It just so happened we had our own European game in Switzerland to contend with on the previous Wednesday.
“Absolutely ridiculous, that's my view of it,” Elder said of the accusation, and when the same report accused Burnley of having played the same trick in the previous year Elder added: “This is outrageously unfair to Burnley who have always been marvellous about releasing players for international duty.”
Bob Lord was seething, and I'm sure he would have wanted to be reluctant in releasing his players the next time Northern Ireland asked. He wouldn't have done that, he would not have robbed his own players of international recognition.
Finally, we were all ready for the European encounter with Lausanne, but there was some bad news ahead of the game with Ralph Coates rated doubtful having picked up a groin injury in Switzerland. Whether Coates made it or not, we were expected to return to our usual 4-2-4 formation rather than employ the sweeper system as we had done in Lausanne, a system that forced Willie Irvine to watch from the stand.
Lausanne had arrived in Burnley early for the game and were staying at the Keirby Hotel but it was all too much for the manager of the hotel who was not happy with youngsters stood outside trying to get autographs. The silly man went over the top and called in the police to remove a few young kids.
They had their problems though, goalkeeper Rene Schneider had been ruled out with a knee injury, Ely Tacchella had bruised ribs and he wouldn't play and neither would Robert Hosp who had aggravated a thigh injury in the first leg.
To add to that, right winger Georges Vuilleumier was still on the injured list and outside left Jacques Fragnieres, following a loss of form, had been dropped by manager Karl Rappan who admitted that his side were somewhat pessimistic having lost 3-1 in Lausanne.
Schneider and Fragnieres were the only players to travel to England besides the eleven Rappan was to name for the game, and all thirteen had been training at Gawthorpe ahead of the game.
Jimmy Adamson, Burnley's coach, felt that this could be a trickier game than the first leg, he felt the Swiss side had some very good players and the side as a whole perhaps was only lacking in pace.
It didn't turn out that way and Keith McNee reported that it was a downhill ski for Burnley all the way as Burnley recorded a 5-0 win in the second leg giving them an 8-1 aggregate victory. He described the Lausanne performance as feeble and reckoned that Burnley could now be set for a long run in the competition.
On a night when Fairs Cup holders Barcelona, already 2-1 down from the first leg, were humbled on their own ground, losing 2-1 to Dundee, this was a tremendous result, and if there were any doubts ahead of kick off they were quickly dispelled when Lochhead scored twice either side of the half hour.
Brian O'Neil, playing on the left wing in the absence of Coates (who didn't shake off the groin injury) got himself on the scoresheet, so did the returning Irvine, and Lochhead completed his hat trick.
Lochhead was in the form of his life, as were Burnley. In the previous twelve games we had won seven and drawn three. We'd scored 29 goals in those games and Lochhead had scored twelve of them whilst making the final pass for another six.
It was still not enough to get him called up for Scotland and a number of top football personalities spoke out about it including the great Joe Mercer who said he just could not understand how the Scottish selectors could continue to ignore Andy. Sadly they did, and Andy never was capped.
But Burnley were through to the last sixteen of the competition, but we'd have to wait for almost a month before we'd know who we were to play, the draw had been set for Saturday 19th November in Zurich, a clash with our visit to Roker Park.
There were still some top teams in the competition and the ones to avoid were probably the likes of Benfica, Juventus, Napoli and Valencia. Harry Potts would represent Burnley at the draw.
The teams were;
Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Alex Elder, Arthur Bellamy, John Talbut, Brian Miller, Willie Morgan, Andy Lochhead, Willie Irvine, Gordon Harris, Brian O'Neil.
Lausanne Sport: Kunze, Groberty, Hunziker, Weibel, Luthi, Durr, Bonny, Chapinsat, Kerkhoffs, Armbruster, Fuchs.
Referee: Mr J Gow (Wales).