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Burnley one step from the Promised Land

Paul Fletcher | 23:48 UK time, Tuesday, 12 May 2009

At the Madejski Stadium.

As the final whistle sounded at the Madejski Stadium on Wednesday evening Burnley boss Owen Coyle turned and walked towards opposite number Steve Coppell, pulling his white club sweatshirt down at his sides as he did so.

He exchanged a word or two with Coppell and then made his way onto the pitch, shaking the hands of the match officials and several opposition players before strolling over to his adoring Burnley supporters.

I couldn't help but think that somehow the act of pulling his sweatshirt down at the sides was significant, it hinted at a pride in his appearance and a respect for his fellow professionals; a man who wants things to be done right.

I thought it was telling that he did that instead of putting his hands in the air at least momentarily after the final whistle, or embracing his backroom staff in celebration. After all, he had just seen his team win 2-0 to book their place in the play-off final on 25 May, where they will take on Sheffield United for a place in the Premier League.

Afterwards Coyle paid generous tribute to Reading before praising his own players after their 60th game of the season had ended in their most significant victory so far. But Coyle explained that the result had given his team an opportunity, nothing more, nothing less, and I cannot help but think that his level headed approach will serve his team well.

Burnley, of course, are now one match away from reaching the Premier League for the first time. This proud Lancashire club has been out of the top flight of English football for the last 33 years and if Coyle was not getting carried away, then the clubs supporters were in a mood to celebrate.Steven Thompson celebrates his spectacular goal for Burnley at Reading

None of them seemed in any rush to leave the stadium and Steve Coppell's post-match news conference was twice interrupted by appeals over the tannoy for them to leave.

"The Burnley players are not coming out again," said the first one. "Please leave the stadium and return to your coaches."

I have been to matches at Reading before - I was there when Birmingham clinched promotion a week or so ago - and I have never heard the sound of away supporters penetrate so loudly into the room where the managers answers questions from the press.

The Royals boss refused to discuss his future in the immediate aftermath of his team's defeat but hours later announced that he was resigning as manager after six years in charge - and there will be a blog later on Coppell.

Coppell's team were the better side for much of the first leg but lost 1-0 and they were on top at the Madejski Stadium until two spectacular goals in seven second-half minutes delivered the killer blow. "The first goal was critical, the second broke our hearts," said the Royals boss.

But his team had come up against a team that knows how to win and has shown a resolve and tenacity that must please their manager. Coyle is quick to point out that his team have plenty of match winners but he will get no argument from me when he argues that "the strength is the team and the group".

The evergreen Graham Alexander, 37 now, has played in every game this season and is close to ensuring his seventh crack at the play-offs ends in victory. He plays in a deep midfield role now and as Coppell argued forms a solid triangle with central defenders Steven Caldwell and Clark Carlisle just behind him.

Martin Paterson and Steven Thompson showed with their spectacular strikes against the Royals what they are capable of doing, while in Wade Elliott and Robbie Blake the Clarets play with plenty of genuine width.

After the season they have had only a fool would suggest they are not capable of ending with victory at Wembley but they won't find it easy against a Blades side that looked extremely capable as they overcame a nuggety Preston team 2-1 on aggregate in their semi-final tie.

Appropriately enough, Kevin Blackwell's charges played with a steel resolve and showed a real cutting edge against a defence that is normally pretty solid at home but was opened up time and time again at Deepdale in the first leg.

I have been impressed by the attitude of Blackwell and his team. There has been a lot of talk about righting the wrongs of the Carlos Tevez affair but I get the feeling that this team does not need any extra motivation. Their low-key celebrations after drawing at Deepdale and winning at Bramall Lane suggested another team that fully understands that anything other than a victory at Wembley will be a failure.

Craig Beattie's finishing against Preston might have been less than convincing, particularly in the first leg, but Blackwell has an astonishing amount of firepower to select from. He had Arturo Lupoli, Billy Sharp and Danny Webber on the bench on Monday, while Darius Henderson and Jamie Ward should be available for the final.
Brian Howard was superb at picking holes in the North End defence while the two home-grown full-backs, Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker, really impressed in the semi-final. Their pace and determination provided an extra dimension in attack but they also looked solid defensively.

For North End their play-off misery continues; eight campaigns, eight failures. Manager Alan Irvine, a dignified and respected individual, said immediately after the tie that the best team had won but he and his team have punched way above their weight and should be given great credit for a terrific season.

They might lack pace and the sort of genuine match winners that the Blades possess in abundance but they have come a long way in the 12 months since they narrowly avoided relegation.

Ultimately, however, Preston, along with Reading, are left to reflect on what might have been, while Burnley and the Blades are now preparing for the final challenge of a long and draining season.

And whoever wins might just finally release all their pent up emotions.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Blackburn Rovers Vs Burnley next season? Hollands pies all round, and for the first time since 1995 there will be thirty-thousand crowd at Ewood Park...

  • Comment number 2.

    Torquay Fan in Peace

    I've watched Burnley plenty of times this season as one of my friends is a massive burnley fan. They deserve fully to be in the premier league and play proper football. Also Owen Coyle seems like a man with genuine class and would be great to see him do it in the top flight.

    I just hope they can cope with Sheffield United's strength and get their deserved reward.

  • Comment number 3.

    Always sad to see a manager who does care about the game leaving his job in what ever circumstances.
    Like your blog says Owen Coyle wanted to keep the players feet on the ground and with Coppel quitting the headlines are all about him.
    In away he has done Coyles job for him, lets have the headlines for the next game(hopefully)and what ever happens on the 25th the Burnley fans can look back on this season with pride.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good blog Paul, and also agree with Jeffbfc's comments - whatever happens at Wembley, Clarets fans can look back on this season with pride. It only seems like yesterday I was a gibbering wreck at Turf Moor watching us edge past Leyton Orient to ensure our survival in the Football League. Now we're on the verge of the Premiership. Come on you Clarets!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Both Reading and Burnley are sides I admire.

    Reading were a credit to the PL in their short stay, and Burnley have shown they are capabale of some great football against PL sides, so if they win the play off final,they have an above average chance of survival in the PL.

    It is an appropriate test for Burnley that to get to the PL they have to first beat Sheffield United. Because to survive in the PL you have to first prove to be able to cope with the physically strong sides.

  • Comment number 6.

    When will people stop thinking that Sheff Utd got relegated for any other reason than they deserved to? I'm fed up of this constant 'writing of wrongs' that gets referred to.

    Come on Burnley - it will be a victory for football lovers everywhere for you to grace the Premiership.

  • Comment number 7.

    A thoroughly professional and ruthless performance from The Clarets, demonstrating genuine class at the final whistle with muted celebrations and cool heads.
    The fans were magnificent and here's wishing the many thousands in the Burnley diaspora a memorable, enjoyable and noisy day out at Wembley on the 25th....we have all suffered heartache, disappointment, a low media profile etc. over the past 3 decades living in the shadows of neighbouring clubs in the north west [ the hotbed of English football].
    It's our time in the limelight , let's enjoy it and hope it lasts.

    Claret and proud !!

  • Comment number 8.

    Respect to both of these men! Fine managers both. Would be a priveledge to see both of them in the premiership next year.

  • Comment number 9.

    If Burnley go up, they can take a lot of confidence from Stoke's first season up in the Premier League. The two sides are similar in that they have young dynamic managers who are committed to playing proper football. I really hope they do go up especially since I despise Sheffield United.

  • Comment number 10.

    coyle, for me, has been manager of the season! his attitude is unrivaled. to get them to this stage with one of the smallest squads and after a fantastic run in the cup is a huge achievment! promotion would be well deserved but burnley have already done themselves proud!

    i think its gonna be a crackin final!

  • Comment number 11.

    This has been a great run. Burnley in what I still call the first division? Awesome.

  • Comment number 12.

    Both Coyle and Coppell are dignified men who are a credit to the game.
    I wish Burnley well in their play-off final and I also wish Steve Coppell well in whatever his future holds. Without knowing any 'background' information I feel perhaps Steve resigned prematurely...maybe he could have given it just one more season? It does not sound like there was pressure on him to quit from either the club or the fans, but again I stress I speak only from what I have read from afar.

  • Comment number 13.

    Come on Burnley, do the nation a favour and beat the Blunts!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    great blog and your spot on about owen coyle, he is a proud proud man with an excellent work ethic. i don't know what the hell he is tellign those players but we have gone from relagtion fodder (or so themedia would have you believe last august) to arguably the most resilient team in the division.

  • Comment number 15.

    Bury are Fantastic - 'The two sides are similar in that they have young dynamic managers who are committed to playing proper football'???

    Much as I admire Stoke's achievements this season (this coming from a Crewe fan, slightly envious as I now find us at opposite ends of the footballing pyramid....) its hardly the beautiful game. They know their strengths, they stick to them and they are roared on by an incredibly passionate fanbase. Big congratulations to them for ruffling a few feathers this season. Is Tony Pulis young at 51? I'm sure he'd be flattered to hear you say that!

    I really admire what Burnley have done this season and, having had the privilege of meeting and playing five-a-side with Owen Coyle a few years ago on holiday, if they go up it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. While its premature to dismiss their chances for next season, I can't help but think they'll fair more similarly to West Brom in the Prem if they continue to try and play good football. As admirable as it is, there'll be so much less time on the ball in the Premier League that it will test the player's abilities to the max and without a few fairly significant additions I think they're almost certain to come up short.

    However, lets hope i'm wrong. Lets hope they 'do a Stoke', find a way to tackle the teams of the Premier League by playing to their strengths and mix things up a bit in the top flight. Good luck for the final Clarets!

  • Comment number 16.

    Posts 2 and 5 - I just hope Owen Coyle is an ignorant as you and still carries the notion that we're a physical side and not, most likely, the most lightweight team in the Championship. Come on you Red and White Wizards.

  • Comment number 17.

    When Burnley came to White Hart Lane their fans made a hell of noise, much more than plenty of Premier League teams. It'd be great to see them go up.

  • Comment number 18.

    Burnley for the Premier League.
    As a Dundee fan i would love to see ex starlet Kev MacDonald get a chance on a deserving stage of his potential. he has what it takes and should be an a Scotland shirt before too long.

    Come on Burnley, beat Whingers Utd!!

  • Comment number 19.

    Proud day for Yorkshire :P

    As a Rover I'll be pulling for B*****y in the final. It's looking like Fat Sam may have done enough to keep us up but if we're going to play this 'pragmatic' footy whilst he's around we may as well have a couple of really meaty derbies to look forward to! Those 6 points will be well handy for us come the end of the season n'all :P

  • Comment number 20.

    Good luck to Burnley - a great club with a rich footballing tradition.

    I hope they make it up to the Premier League (with no disrespect to Sheffield United fans). Remember they have fared very well indeed when facing top-flight opposition in the cups in recent years!

  • Comment number 21.

    Should be a great "all Yorkshire" play off final, and I am looking forward to seeing the 35,000 Burnley fans at Wembley, strange that as "the best fans in the world" can only average around 12,000 for their home games !

    Actually hope they win, love to play them again (if we stay up)

  • Comment number 22.

    There is no doubt about it - there is a real sense of momentum around Burnley at the moment and their exploits this season plus the way they play has won over a sizeable number of neutrals.

    I'm just surprised to read about a Blackburn fans wanting the Clarets to win.....

    Do people expect Burnley to go all the way - or will they be blunted by the Blades?

  • Comment number 23.

    As a lifelong Spurs fan, I've always had a soft sport for Burnley, since they completely stuffed Spurs at White Hart Lane in a League Cup match way back in the '80's. I was chuffed to see them reach the play-off final and I'd love to see them back in the top flight. I'll be roaring them on against the Blades. Well done Burnley.

    I've always admired Steve Coppell too, as a player and now as a manager. I hope he isn't out of the game for too long.

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm just surprised to read about a Blackburn fans wanting the Clarets to win..... - don't be surprised! a lot of my friends are Blackburn fans and i'm sure they come back from each game saying it was the worst performance they'd ever seen. a couple of feisty derby games against Burnley will spice up an otherwise dull season for them!

  • Comment number 25.

    Great Blog Paul. Coyle is clearly a gifted manager who can organize and motivate his players effectively. He conducts himself well and you're correct in what you say about his attitude and professionalism. A proper gentleman it seems.

    I'm one of the rare sort of fans our there that can weirdly claim to support two different football clubs. Born opposite Filbert Street in Leicester and lived all my life in Leicestershire, I'm currently a season ticket holder at the Walkers. However, my dad's a passionate Burnley fan, who ironically watched Leicester City for a while when he moved down here over 45 years ago. Without any diminished passion for his 'Clarets', my dad introduced me to them when I was an impressionable 15 years old in 1987. I quickly bit the bug and ended up regularly following Burnley all over the country until the mid nineties. By virtue of my birth place and location I followed the foxes with more than keen eye during this time as well. Despite my season ticket at Leicester, I just can't shake the feelings I have for Burnley FC and the town.

    I watched the game last night with my dad and its was great watching him celebrate the result with such joy. Very much like the Burnley fans I travelled around the country with all those years ago, they are the passionate people you depict and its no surprise at how loud they were last night.

    Can't wait to get our tickets for the final and just hope the result and game can match the guaranteed noisy atmosphere.

    Up the Clarets!!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    Has any team had so much support to win a game outside the top flight than Burnley when they play Sheffield Utd? I for one hope Sheffield Utd never make it back to the premiership after their antics last time.

  • Comment number 27.

    furphyboy,

    Of note;

    Yorkshire? Your a Rovers fan aren't you, such humour.

    also...

    12,000 regular fans from a town of 73,102 people makes them the joint (Middlesbrough) best supported team per head of population in the United Kingdom.

    Indeed they are well supported, loyal and passionate fans.

    Up the Clarets

  • Comment number 28.

    Not at all Fletch, it's the antidote to the existential angst I'd wager many fans of non-Big4 PL teams suffer: a genuine REASON for the season, i.e. 'to beat that other lot from down the road'.

    It's not like Rovers have much chance of winning anything else is it? For most PL clubs the grim reality of a new season is setting out to stave off relegation for another year, or maybe, just maybe, bagging a European spot that recent history suggests you'll fail to do much with next year for needing to focus on the league and staving off relegation/qualifying for Europe again. /woot. It's hard to get excited about Not Going Down every year and a cup quarter-final appearance to get outclassed by Arsenal's 10 year olds or Man Utd's 3rd string is hardly the stuff dreams are made of either narmean?

    A proper full blooded local derbie, one with proper bit of history to it is just the ticket. It's parochial, maybe even a little pathetic, but it Matters and if it gives me a reason to bother reading the league table to check anything other than We're Safe/We're Not Safe next season well dang me if I'm not all for it!

    ....assuming we stay up :)

    Come On You Dingles!

  • Comment number 29.

    26 - Aww Kev. Bless your little London-Mancunian socks. And we absolutely love Man Utd. And what antics might these be? Not fielding weakened teams? Not conning the ref, cheating and diving? Not being petulent and argumentative to the ref?

    Sorry, I just discribed your disgraceful team, and in particular, Cristiano Ronaldo.

  • Comment number 30.

    I think for the good of football and i'm sure 90% of neutral football fans would agree, Burnley need to win the play-off final.

    The way that Sheffield United have acted over the past 12 months in bringing a law suit against West Ham for playing Carlos Tevez has lost them a lot of friends in the footballing world, particularly with many neutrals across the country. One player did not cost them their place in the Premier League. They needed to look in-house to see why they got relegated. The whole episode smacked of desperation.

    Burnley on the other hand have played some great football this season and have a number of players capable of stepping up to Premier League level next season. Coyle seems to be a manager of great tactical nous, coupled with a great desire to win.

    All the best Clarets!

  • Comment number 31.

    Extraordinary firepower? Really?

    How many goals have those 5 strikers scored combined?

    I'd place a bet that it's less than Ebanks Blake has scored on his own.

    Good luck for the final Burnley

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    After 60 games in a season using only 23 players along the way, and beating the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Fulham and West Brom, not to mention beating Wolves, Preston, Sheffield United twice and Reading three times, and twice drawing against Birmingham after throwing away the lead in games they should have won, Burnley should be extremely proud of what they have achieved this year.

    If the Clarets had not thrown away 11 points against Doncaster and Barnsley, not to mention countless other games, they would already be celebrating...

    But I don't feel agrieved. Last night was one of the greatest nights I can recall. The atmosphere was electric, and Burnley thoroughly deserved their victory. Over 180 minutes of football Reading were the better team, but Burnley worked harder, and more pleasingly defended better. Had Carlisle and Caldwell defended like they have been doing for the past 2 months all season we could well have been champions with 3 games to spare.

    But it gives us a chance to go to Wembley and show the country that a small northern town can really demonstrate passion that other places only dream about. The noise after final whistle last night was probably louder than some Old Trafford goal celebrations, and it certainly meant more. Burnley fans have a passion for their club unlike any other I have encountered, and with Owen Coyle at the helm, it allows the players to use this to their advantage, without getting carried away. He is undoubtedly Championship manager of the season.

    One thing does confuse me though... Why (according to the clubs' official websites) have Sheffield United been given 37,000 tickets and Burnley only 36,000? This is a final... is it not? Neutral ground... No advantages... Or have I missed something? Yes I know we only finished 5th and not 3rd... But we had to play 4th to get to the final, they only had to play 6th!! And it can't be based on expected ticket sales. Anybody remember 1994 when over half of Burnley's population was in the capital? Having said that, as good as Sheffield United's fans are (credit where it's due - unfortunately the same can't be said of their antics regarding a certain Argentinian), I don't expect the difference in numbers to affect us, "No Nay Never" will probably be heard on top of Pendle Hill come May 25th! I'm just a bit peeved!!

  • Comment number 34.

    Antics - there's that word again. We're sorry for protesting to a wrong-doing and winning. Happy now?

    Claret fan - Please don't feel offended we have an extra 1,000. I guess one team has to have more and as we average 25,000 can you let us off? Reading published ticket details for the final on their website before the playoffs started and they stated they only had 36,000 so its not a personal vendetta by the FL against Burnley.

  • Comment number 35.

    Good luck to both sides at Wembley.

    While I may not agree about 'righting wrongs' I do think more people should applaud the Blades for seeing the Tevez affair through. If they had not, what amounted to cheating would have been forgiven with a whimper. You do not have to agree with all of thier assertions to understand that something had to be done to discourage such activity in the future.

    For me though, I want to see Burnley go up. My mother is from Burnley, a place she grew up in and lived until she met my Father and moved to Liverpool way back in the 50s.

  • Comment number 36.

    Steve Coppell has done a great job good luck to him. I would not be surprised to see Brendan Rodgers taking over s the next manager. A Reading FC man through and through, did an excellent job at the Academy and has gained invaluable experience at Chelsea and in his current job as Watford manager.

  • Comment number 37.

    if burnley can make it then a quarter of the premiership teams will be run by scottish managers , what is it about scottish managers ? our players dont seem to cut it so well in the premiership but managers ferguson, moyes, sbragia, mcleish and maybe coyle ? none of them great players apart from mcleish who played his whole life at aberdeen ! mind you he still might resign .......

  • Comment number 38.

    I've been looking at some TV shots of fans queuing for tickets outside Turf Moor - I think there are some pretty excited characters, both young and old. One bloke suggested Burnley would "explode" if the Clarets won the final. That could be messy.

  • Comment number 39.

    As a Burnley fan I desperately wanted Birmingham in the playoffs, as they're the side I feared the least of the available opposition.

    Ater that I have to say I'm licking my lips at the prospect of Sheffield United - the only thing I could see upsetting us on that stage being the derby edge of going up against Preston under the arch.

    6 points of Shef Utd already this year leaves me feeling fairly convinced we've got their number - i you can deend a long ball into the box you can withstand them easily!

    Hehe - banter aside I'm just really hoping for a good game played in a great atmosphere and the chance to prove to the footballing world that you don't have to be a rich club (aside from Preston everyone else involved in the playoffs is far better off than Burnley) to succeed!

    Up the Clarets - maybe my dream's about to finally come true!

  • Comment number 40.

    Hello Guys,

    Believe it or not, I am a Burnley fan from Malaysia, located in Southeast Asia. I have been a Burnley fan since 1976 when I happen to watch them on local TV on a program called Star Soccer with Hugh Johns as the commentator. Burnley played against Derby and although they lost they played a very attractive game which made me want to know more about Burnley FC. Among the players I can recall from that game were Stevenson, Newton, Noble, Summerbee and Morgan. After watching that game, I tried to look for every bit of information about Burnley from magazines such as Shoot and Match.
    I remember having the opportunity to visit Turf Moor in 2002 when they were managed by Stan Ternent and it was an unforgetable experience. The club is very well maintained and Burnley locals should be proud of their club. They have a good manager in Owen Coyle who knows how to get the best out of the players and plays to their strengths.
    I have followed the team's ups and downs over the last three decades and it is good to see them performing so well this season and qualifying for the playoff finals. I believe that I am one of the very few Burnley fans in Malaysia if not the only one. When I tell my pals that I support Burnley, I get blank looks from them as they have never heard of Burnley.
    To all you fans and supporters of Burnley who are going to Wembley, make yourselves heard and cheer the players.

    Go Burnley and good luck!

  • Comment number 41.

    I'd rather have Burnley up. I'm an Arsenal fan and we played them home and away this season (they won at Turfmoor, we won at the Emirates) and they were classy to play against and never gave up. Sheff Utd are a bunch of moaners who have never really got over the Tevez affair.

    For that alone they should stay in the Championship. Come on Burnley!

  • Comment number 42.

    As a St Johnstone fan I was extremely annoyed when Burnley poached our manager, but after I had got over the initial anger I saw that it was a good move for him and he has done a fantastic job. When he was manager of St Johnstone we overturned 5 SPL teams (including Rangers at Ibrox) in a season in cup competitions thanks to his attacking style and we were only just pipped to the 1st Division title in the same year.

    It's great to see him adopting the same style at Burnley and if they get through against Sheffield Utd then I expect them to do well in the Premiership.

  • Comment number 43.

    As a neutral, I think Burnley have been team of the year (premiership included). Wonder how many of their players have played near to 60 games ? (Premiership players would faint).

    Given the heartbreak and traversty of the Carling Cup, it would be more than recompense to see Burnley go up, the way they have stuck at it despite that setback deserves reward, many would have collapsed after such heartbreak.

    Besides, if they go up, its another side who has never previously been in the EPL and I think thats to be applauded

  • Comment number 44.

    Great article Paul and a suitable testament to Owen Coyle's abilities, without doubt manager of the season in my book! In response to the comment made by furphyboy, and accepting that we are probably no less fickle than others, I feel it is relevant to note that the population of Burnley hovers around 69,000, so 12,000 is not a bad percentage to turn up week in week out. It could be argued that the catchment is much bigger but is it really when you consider the number of other professional league clubs within a small radius? I once heard it said that, per head population, Burnley are the best supported club in the country. This can't be far off the truth. There will be no problem selling the 36,000 tickets we have been allocated for Wembley.

    C'mon u clarets!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    Well done Owen and the boys. I watched the second leg against Reading in the early hours of Tuesday morning here in Perth Western Australia and I was overcome with emotion when they won. They handled themselves with great dignity at the end of the game which was also brilliant to watch.
    I have followed Burnley since I was a little lad of 8 when my Grandad used to take me on the bus from Great Harwood complete with a box to stand on in the old longside terrace. Those were the days of Andy Lochead etc. I was there when we won promotion from the old second division at Preston in the early seventies and there at Hillsborough watching then go down in the FA cup semi against Supermac and co.
    I wish I could get back to see them on the 25th but I will be watching the game probably through my hands as like most passionate supports cannot bear to watch sometimes. If any of the lads I used to take in my old Morris 1000 van from Great Harwood read this I hope they can get in touch. Ah great memories, Alan Stevenson, Paul Fletcher, Peter (Uwe) Noble

    C'mon u Clarets

  • Comment number 46.

    Who do you support Paul?

    And who do you want to win the final?

  • Comment number 47.

    Burnley have done the double over Blades this season but in the game that really matters....The red side of Sheffield will come out on top.

    Having seen off Preston with an emphatic win there is no way that UTD will lose. Sheffield have been the better team and deserved to be 3rd place. However, the play offs being the scam that they are (for sky) means that we still had 3 games to play, and were 'gonna' win the most important one and get back to where we belong.

    Burnley are a championship side....Just like Hull and many others that didnt (dont) deserve to grace the premier league.

    Wembley will be painted in red and white....we will take 37000 and Burnley....A man and his dog.

    You probably want Burnley to win because they are the 'smaller' team and everyone likes the underdog. Just think what happened to Ricky Hatton though.

  • Comment number 48.

    What a fantastic season we have had so far - one more win and we're Premier League bound! It is fully 33 years since our last appearance in the top flight of English football and over the years there have been many highs (and sadly many lows). There is however a genuine belief about this team and amongst all true supporters that this could be our time! Owen Coyle and the rest of the management team have worked wonders this season in getting this squad of players to work hard for each other and to come together as a team to be reckoned with - as numerous victories over top flight opposition in cup competitions clearly testifies!
    It is 50 years since we were last League Champions - wouldn't it be fantastic to see them grace the top flight once again!
    C'mon you Clarets!

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm a claret living in Bali. I remember the days as a kid running after the likes of Colin Waldron and Alan Stevenson in Thompson;s park trying to get an autograph as they took their wives out for a stroll on a Sunday. It's really hard to follow the championship out here in Asia but the premier is another thing, if we make it is going to be a few late nights. I'm really gutted that I can't be there on 25th. I remember 1994 and what a great day that was. All the best to the diaspora on the big day. Have a great time.

    Up the clarets.

  • Comment number 50.

    I'm a claret and now living in USA. Finally a chance to see Burnley games live on TV here in USA, provided they beat Sheffield of course. Wonder if Indoclaret remembers the Burnley squad (Waldron, Stevenson, scott, collins, James, Fletcher, Hankin, etc. hanging out in the Falcon pub on a Saturday night after a game. Looks like Owen Coyle has a better grip on the discipline than Jimmy Adamson..

    Up the clarets..

  • Comment number 51.

    As a Preston fan I'm obviously disappointed about the play offs, however, in reality Burnley have a better nucleus of a squad and I think and hope they get into the Premiership. It will be good for East Lancashire and it will also be good for the Premiership.

  • Comment number 52.

    I am a life long Clarets fan now living in Arizona, so the only way I get to listen to the match is on Radio 5 live. I was a kid when Burnley were Division 1 Champions and then in the FA Cup final against Spurs. So I remember the days of beautiful football with McIlroy and co, and the gut wrenching demotion into the second division after so long in the top flight.

    Paul this is a great article. I think Owen Coyle is a fantastic manager and he has brought together a small squad that don't know how to give up but play classy football.

    Being a Burnley fan requires a strong stomach at times, but the memories are fantastic and whatever the outcome on the 25th we will all look back on a season with pride. I will be up early on the 25th to listen to the game - who knows, one of the US cable channels may even televise the match!

    I also wish Steve Coppell the best in his future endeavours, I know many Reading fans and he has been a credit to that club and will be missed.

  • Comment number 53.

    Its gonna be a fantastic day at wembley. wembley is gunna b alllll claret and blue.burnley fans out singin the blades and we will rock the wembley stadium.

    !!BURNLEY FOOTBALL CLUE FOR THE PREMIERSHIP!!

  • Comment number 54.

    CLUB*

  • Comment number 55.

    All these R**Vers fans thinking that they are gonna get an easy 6 points (If we make it-Yea course we will) Well you are looking at a side with 23 players, 1 who has played 61 games this season. You are forgetting that we will receive money and therefore buy new players for the premiership.

    Anyway, if we could beat the top flight like Chelski and Arsenal, we can beat an alomost relegated side like the B*****ds easily.

    I think that we will make it and maybe just about survive the prem next season and then grow from strength to strength.

    The future is Claret, the future is Burnley FC.

  • Comment number 56.

    It's hard to get excited about Not Going Down every year and a cup quarter-final appearance to get outclassed by Arsenal's 10 year olds or Man Utd's 3rd string is hardly the stuff dreams are made of either narmean?
    http://www.nowgoal.com/19.shtml

  • Comment number 57.

    It's going to be a memorable day whatever the result, but i have to say Up The Blades!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 58.

    i want burnley to go up by a mile


    CRYSTAL PALACE RULE

  • Comment number 59.

    So North End blew it again eh, Fletch? Same old, same old. A perverse part of me actually wants Burnley to win the final. Another Lancashire club in the top flight would be nice. The hotbed of English football, as a Dingle said above. But are we ever going to get up there ourselves? At least I don't have to rush home from Brazil in September, eh?

  • Comment number 60.

    Why does everyone still think united are a physical team?
    I guarantee that almost every burnley player will be bigger and stronger than all our players with the exception of Henderson, Kilgallon and maybe Morgan

  • Comment number 61.

    Brilliant ! Ive got a ticket for Wembley to see the CLARETS. My son spent 3hours manning 5 of his business lines just to get this old man an early 60th birthday present( just missed out with concessions damn it ).
    Its 48 years since I was last there to see the CLARETS and I'm pretty certain that Owen Coyle and his men are going to do the business this time. This time they really do deserve some glory. Come on Owen 'King ' Coyle just one more game ! !

  • Comment number 62.

    Although Burnley will not be going up, best of luck to them next season as they are top footballing side, but its time bring the Blades back to where they belong.

  • Comment number 63.

    To all you people who 'despise' Sheffield United because of the Tevez affair... all I ask is for you to put yourself in that same position that the Blades found themselves in, would you lot GENUINELY say that they would not do the same thing? Any of the clubs who were in danger of being relegated in the 3rd spot were resolved to do exactly what the Blades did ( Wigan, Fulham etc). United had the sympathies of several other clubs, the likes of Liverpool, Man City, Portsmouth to name a few. For the record, as a Blades supporter, I agree that we relegated ourselves by not getting enough points to stay up, that was our own fault. The fact of the matter is that WHU were not punished correctly or consistently by the Premier League. And another point for the record, I personally believe that the blame lies not with WHU, but with the Premier League. WHU paid the fine, that's all they could do - they're hardly likely to say 'we're not being punished enough!' For my money, it's the Prem League who should be compensating the Blades NOT WHU, because it's they who cocked things up. Having finished my rant, may I say to all Burnley fans, let's have a great day out and a great match. Good luck to all!!

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    Sounds like sour grapes to me, reading 'Faster than our kes' above. There's nowt wrong with having a positive attitude. Man United would not have won the Premiership if Fergie had constantly told his team they were a load of toss pot losers !!

  • Comment number 66.

    I didn't massively care at first...

    But SU were given 1,000 more tickets than Burnley to start with. And even though they have not sold all their tickets and Burnley have, SU have been given another 500 tickets!!! We've sold out, but they still get more tickets?!?!?!?

    What the hell is going on??

    All we get is a handful of pansy prawn sandwich tickets!!!

    Shocking!!

    Wembley should be ashamed. They screwed up our ticket allocation to start with, now they've screwed up again.

    Get a grip people!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    Yes you have sold out but can you confirm if you sold/had any tickets for the £98 category? We got loads of tickets for this and unsuprisingly they are the ones that have not sold very well.

    Also we had strict policies relating to one ticket per person based on games people had been to, unlike your policy of any season ticket holder gets three tickets so once again it is not suprising you sold out first.

    UP THE BLADES!

  • Comment number 68.

    Burnley's 98 quid seats sold out before any other category!!! Your website says you still have seats left in every price zone... It makes no difference how many we sell to people. We clearly have more fans who want to go than you do!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Well as you only have an average attendance of 13082 for this season it is interesting that 22918 fans have come out of the closet for this one.

 

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