Adventures in Naples: Claret remembers Burnley's last Euro campaign in '67

When Burnley walk out at Pittodrie, it will have been 18,727 days since they last graced continental competition. From Northern France to Southern Germany, the Clarets have travelled far and wide, but for one fan, one trip stands out...

Friday, 20th July 2018, 9:00 am
Doreen's friend, Danny, with the offending trumpet.

Twenty-two years old and living in the Italian capital of Rome at the time, Doreen - who was working for the UN's World Food Programme at the time - had seen her beloved Burnley dispatch the Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport 8-1 on aggregate in the 1966/67 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

Flying high, Burnley had been beaten just twice all season when they secured their place in the next round, so when the Clarets were drawn against Napoli, Doreen knew she couldn't pass up on the chance to see them in person.

Driving the 140 miles down south towards the land of Pompeii and pizza for her team's bout with Napoli at the infamously vociferous Stadio San Paolo, Doreen had with her four friends: two Neapolitans named Tony and Umberto, a Roman named Carlo, and a Manchester United fan called Danny, whose allegiances lay with the Turf Moor side for the day. With the Clarets boasting a 3-0 lead from the leg at Turf Moor, the group was looking forward to another good performance.

Doreen (right) with her friend, Anne Cochrane, in Mantova in 2017.

As the match kicked off, Danny started to blow a Union Jack-emblazoned trumpet with glee as the Clarets grew into the game, stifling the rhythm of a Napoli side who had finished third the previous season in Serie A. The Burnley goalkeeper, Harry Thomson, further frustrated the locals with a string of excellent saves, prompting a rumble of ire from nearby Napoli fans who were gradually becoming incensed with Danny's musical celebrations.

"Danny had a trumpet with a big Union Jack, and he kept tooting the trumpet when Burnley were doing well [and] the Italians were getting furious, especially with Thomson making miraculous saves," said Doreen.

Cottoning on to the fact that Doreen's posse featured a few Neapolitans, the Partenopei supporters began calling them 'traditori' - traitors - before grabbing Danny's trumpet and stamping on it, threatening all five of them before Doreen and her friends were escorted away by police for their own safety.

"Towards the end of the match our group was surrounded by very angry Neapolitans," Doreen said. "The Napoli fans started threatening and moving in [until] the police came to rescue us and took us somewhere underground until all the Neapolitan supporters had dispersed."

Doreen with Danny (right) and one of her Italian friends on the beach in the 1960s.

On the pitch, the match ended 0-0, with Burnley progressing to the quarter finals and the home fans, unbeknown to Doreen and her friends, baying for blood. "At the time we were unaware that the Burnley players were also being attacked!" she said.

Not one to be deterred, Doreen went on to spend three years in Italy in the late 1960s before going on to work for several international agencies in the 1970s and moving all over Europe, from Paris and The Hague, to Italy once again and to Vienna, where she met her American husband, Tom.

Almost 52 years on from that game in Naples and now happily retired in the idyllic hills north of Vicenza, Doreen still looks out for the Burnley scores, with her friend Anne Cochrane saying: "Like many expats, she always looks for the Clarets' results, and is like us all, surprised and delighted with this season's performance!"

After all, you can take the fan out of Burnley, but you can't take the Burnley out of the fan.