We were in pre-season training in the Isle of Man under Stan Ternent and there was a no-tackling policy because we had such a small squad and on a rock-hard pitch he kicked seven kinds of it out of us."Burnley are better prepared to face Blackburn than they were then. The funny thing was that the next time Burnley played Blackburn, in the FA Youth Cup, Ewood Park was full of riot police to greet 150 Burnley fans and 300 from Blackburn."They had to wait 17 years, until December 2000, for the next East Lancashire derby, a match remembered for Kevin Ball - "one of the hardest people I have ever played with," according to Branch - being sent off for a tackle that sent Blackburn's David Dunn several feet into the air. "Kevin is a nice fella who became a legend at Burnley but he liked a challenge I remember when he first arrived. Their last encounter of the 20th century, in April 1983, ended with Burnley fans tearing off Ewood Park's roof."I'd never seen anything like it," Beecroft recalled.
"I saw some guy with a lump-hammer breaking up the terracing. Then they got up on the roof and began tearing down the asbestos. It was absolutely scary; you thought someone was going to be killed. The police began a baton charge - although it would have been truncheons in those days - and it was absolutely indiscriminate clubbing; young, old, everybody got it."The origins of the trouble were that we had lost, we were going down and everybody at the Burnley end knew it.
Five days later at Wembley in front of 34,000 more, Blackburn were beaten 3-0 by Wolverhampton.Then, as the focus of Lancashire football shifted from the great cotton towns to Merseyside and Manchester, Burnley and Blackburn began drifting through the divisions and the meetings became less frequent. Burnley charged into a three-goal lead before a penalty was given against Alex Elder for handball. Blackburn fought back to 3-3, won the replay and made it to the final. Burnley duly won the championship at Maine Road in front of almost 66,000 with thousands more camped out in Moss Side, judging the match by the roar of the crowd.