OLD SCHOOL ANDY; THE ANDY LOCHHEAD STORY
BY Vince Cooper
It is a well-worn cliche but has to be said. If you needed a photograph to illustrate the phrase ‘Old School Centre Forward’ in a mythical ‘Dictionary of Football’ you could certainly do worse than use one of Andy Lochhead.
The Scot, who sadly passed away in 2022 at the age of 81, gave fine service to each of his four English professional clubs whilst also enjoying a brief stint in the NASL. That he never made it into the full national team is more testament to the quality options the Scots were able to call on during the period when he was in his prime rather than any shortcomings
Born in Milngavie, Stirlingshire, Andrew Lorimar Lochhead was spotted playing junior football for local team Renfrew Juniors by Burnley scout Jimmy Stein and moved to Turf Moor in 1958,
He made his debut for the Clarets in the first away game of the 1960-61 season replacing the injured Ray Pointer as the reigning champions lost 2-1 to Manchester City.
Lochhead returned to the reserves until March when he was one of ten players called up for the match at Chelsea as manager Harry Potts chose to rest most of his first-teamers ahead of the European Cup match with Hamburg. He scored twice in a 4-4 draw and added another before the end of the season.
It was back to the reserves for the Scot for the 1961-62 campaign with just two first-team appearances but the following season saw the big breakthrough.
Harry Potts. Gave Lochhead his chance
Potts brought in Lochhead to replace Jimmy Robson as the first choice centre-forward. He scored in the 2-0 home win over Leyton Orient in September 1962 kicking off a run where he found the net eight times in six matches. The Scot ended the season as Burnley’s top scorer, grabbing 20 goals and winning a Scotland Under-23 cap along the way as the Clarets finished the campaign in third place in the top flight, seven points adrift of champions Everton.
The solitary Scotland Under-23 call up came for a match against their Welsh counterparts at Pittodrie in December 1962. The Scots won 2-0 but whilst teammates like Billy McNeill, Jimmy Gabriel and Charlie Cooke would go on to receive full caps, Lochhead was never picked again.
Lochhead headed the Clarets’ scoring lists again in the 1963-64 campaign finding the net 14 times including a memorable four-goal haul in the 6-1 Boxing Day thrashing of Manchester United. He went one better during the following season, netting five times on the last day when the Clarets hammered Chelsea 6-2.
He was edged out of top scorer honours for the club during that season as strike partner Willie Irvine found the 22 times one more than Lochhead.
Northern Irishman Irvine did even better in 1965-66 scoring 37 times in all competitions to set a new club record whilst Lochhead, his presence and physicality no doubt helping his teammate, chipped in with 24 of his own including yet another five-goal haul, this one coming against Bournemouth in the FA Cup.
The Scot top-scored again in the 1966-67 season and netted six times in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup to help Burnley reach the quarter-final.
In praise of Andy’s heading ability
After reaching a century of goals for the club in 1967-68 and scoring four times in the early stages for the following campaign, Lochhead was somewhat surprisingly sold to Leicester City for £80,000. His total for Burnley was an impressive 128 goals (including three or more on seven occasions) in 266 matches.
With City teammates Allan Clarke and John Sjoberg after reaching the F. A. Cup final.
He spent just over a season at Filbert Street, and played a major role in the team reaching the 1969 FA Cup final, especially when scoring a brilliant headed winner against Liverpool in the 5th Round.
But Lochhead was guilty of a number of missed chances as the Foxes went on to lose by a solitary goal to Manchester City at Wembley and were relegated at the end of a campaign in which he found the net 12 times in all competitions.
Despite scoring six times in Leicester’s first seven league matches in 1969-70 and adding a League Cup hat-trick against Bristol City he was sold to fellow 2nd Division team Aston Villa who endured a horrendous season and were relegated to the 3rd tier for the first time in their history.
Andy himself later admitted that the campaign didn’t go well for both the club and him, saying: “I joined the club at a time when Villa were searching frantically for points in order to avoid relegation to the Third Division. But nothing would go right for me.
”When a player joins a new club he is all the more anxious to make a good impression. Yet the harder I tried the worse it became. I played in 11 League games without scoring before relegation finally became a reality.
”To put it mildly, I was worried sick and lost my confidence completely, which is fatal for a striker. It got to such a state that every time I touched the ball the fans would start barracking”.
Lochhead started to get his form and scoring touch back in the second half of the 1970-71 season and finished as top scorer although Villa could finish only 4th, failing to secure a return to the 2nd Division. But a fine League Cup run resulted in a second Wembley appearance for Lochhead.
Villa saw off Notts County, Burnley, Northampton Town, Carlisle United and Bristol Rovers to reach the semi-final where they were huge underdogs against Manchester United.
The first leg was played in front of 49,000 at Old Trafford and Lochhead thought he had given the visitors the lead after six minutes only to see his effort disallowed for a robust challenge on United ‘keeper Jimmy Rimmer. But he made amends a little before the break when coolly netting after the ball was deflected to him in the box. Brian Kidd produced a spectacular equaliser which left the teams all square as they headed to Villa Park for the second leg.
A whopping 62,500 were at Villa Park a week later and the upset home fans hoped for was achieved. It looked a long way off when Kidd took advantage of slack marking to give United an early lead but Lochhead headed an equaliser eight minutes from half-time and after Pat McMahon struck a second-half winner Villa were on their way to Wembley.
Unfortunately Spurs proved too strong in the final although it took 78 minutes for Martin Chivers to score the first of his brace which sent the trophy to White Hart Lane.
Villa began their climb back up the leagues when claiming the 3rd Division title in 1971-72 with Lochhead voted Midland Footballer of the Year as he led from the front.
Aston Villa 3rd Division champions 1971-72. Andy second from left, standing.
He hit the back of the net 25 times in total (19 in the league) and proved the perfect physical foil for the likes of Bruce Rioch, Ray Graydon and Willie Anderson as the Villa Park club recorded a record points total. Manager Vic Crowe said of him: “Andy is a valuable asset to the club.
In Villa colours
“His approach to the game is such that he will give you everything until he drop and I don’t think there can be any highrr compliment.
Andy with the Third Division trophy
”Unfortunately too many people recognise him only for his superb heading ability. Make no mistake, he has plenty of skills on the ground and his subtle flicks and touches are a vital part of our attacking system”.
Skipper Bruce Rioch was also full of praise for the centre-forward’s finishing skills saying; “Once he’s in the box he’s deadly with head or feet. He can probably head a ball harder than most people can shoot.
”I’m quite sure that Andy would run through a brick wall for the club”.
The Third Division title win oddly gave Villa an opportunity to play in the Charity Shield. After First Division champs Derby County and Cup winners Leeds United turned down invitations to play, Manchester City who finished fourth in the top flight, and Villa were invited to play with the match taking place at Villa Park.
Francis Lee got the only goal of the game from the penalty spot to give City the win while Andy started up front but was substituted with Alun Evans, the man who would soon replace him as Villa’s main striker, taking his place.
Oldham Athletic 1973-74
Another move, and another 3rd Division crown would follow with Oldham Athletic, whom the Scot joined in the summer and where he paired with another former top flight front man in Tony Hateley, claiming the title in 1973-74.
In action for Denver Dynamos against Toronto Metros
Oldham proved to be Lochhead’s last port of call in England with two seasons at Boundary Park and a brief spell in NASL with Denver Dynamos in the middle.
When he finally retired in 1975, Lochhead had spent 15 years in the game, making almost 500 league appearances and finding the net 159 times.
After retiring the Scot moved back to second home Burnley, becoming landlord at the Bay Horse public house and later steward at Ighten Mount Bowling Club.
He would also spend time with former strike partner Willie Irvine giving fans ground tours at Turf Moor and reminiscing about the old days.
Andy Lochhead was a tough player, giving as good as he got against the many hard centre-halves playing in the 60s and 70s. He is remembered fondly by fans of all the sides he played for and as a difficult opponent by all of those he played against.