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How Owen Coyle got Burnley smiling

Paul Fletcher | 16:14 UK time, Tuesday, 28 April 2009

It did not take me long to realise why Burnley manager Owen Coyle has been able to squeeze so much out of his players this season.

I texted him last week to arrange a time for our interview. Shortly afterwards the reply arrived. Not only did he call me 'm8' but he dropped in smiley faces at the end of his sentences.

It was unlike any other text I had ever received from a professional sportsperson. Smiley faces are what my nephew uses, or perhaps my wife after a satisfying day out shopping. I showed it to a couple of people in the office and, without realising it, I guess I had already started to become infected by Coyle's unbelievable enthusiasm. I hadn't even spoken to him yet.

Burnley manager Owen Coyle Coyle's Burnley will take on Bristol City on Sunday knowing that victory will guarantee them a place in the Championship play-offs.

It will be their 58th game of a season that has seen this famous Lancashire club reach the fifth round of the FA Cup and come within three minutes of Wembley in the Carling Cup before two goals late in extra-time from Tottenham delivered the most cruel of knockout blows.

All of this has been achieved with a small squad - no other outfit has used fewer players in the Championship - and at a club that would be battling relegation if their league standing was determined by average attendance.

Nonetheless, Arsene Wenger, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Tony Mowbray and Roy Hodgson have all shaken hands with Coyle this season on the wrong side of the scoreline.

Without doubt there is something special about this 42-year-old Scotsman who arrived at Turf Moor from St Johnstone in November 2007.

Burnley's cup exploits this season significantly raised his profile and a browse through the internet shows there has been plenty written about him this season.

He is one of nine children and was raised in the uncompromising Gorbals district of Glasgow, he is a teetotaller who likes Irn Bru and has been compared to Bill Shankly by the man who employed him at Burnley.

The increasing profile of Coyle was even brought to a wholly unsuspecting audience when a Burnley fan based in the US held up a large poster with the words 'Owen Coyle is God' written on it at a Wrestlemania event. The poster was captured by the cameras several times, to the bemusement and befuddlement of the watching American public.

Yet it seems obvious to me that Coyle's sheer love of the game is crucial to understanding why he is able to get so much out of his players.

Not long after Andy Cole retired a colleague of mine interviewed him looking back at the striker's glittering career.

Cole, who played for Coyle during a loan spell at Turf Moor last season, was careful with his praise of many he played under but said of the Burnley manager: "I cannot say enough superlatives about him.

"His enthusiasm made me feel like I was 21 again."

Coyle himself explained when I chatted to him: "I just love football.

"I was fortunate in that I had a professional career as a striker but if I didn't I'd still have been paying a fiver for a game of five-a-side. I hope that at 60 I'll still be able to get a game somewhere."

He still turns out for Burnley's reserves and recently scored a spectacular goal against Accrington. Yet his love of the game is allied with a determination to improve his players.Owen Coyle shakes hands with Arsene Wenger

The Scot, who played more than 600 games during his career, reckons that by playing alongside young strikers at the club he can help their development far better than if he was standing on the touchline. "I have tried to do that with Jay Rodriguez and I think he has responded," said Coyle.

Coyle, assistant boss Sandy Stewart and first team coach Steve Davis often participate in training. "The way we are with numbers we often need to do that and if something goes wrong we are fair game for banter," said Coyle. "We do have a fantastic team spirit."

Coyle insists his players turn up to training with a smile on their face. It is part of his policy. I reckon more employers would be well served to do the same.

But it would be an over-simplification and a disservice to Coyle and his squad to suggest that enthusiasm alone has taken them so far this season.

Coyle is constantly searching for an edge over his rivals. He doesn't play golf because he can watch three games in the time it takes him to play a round.

"If there is a game on - especially one abroad - it is worth taking in because you might uncover a hidden gem - and those are the sort of games we need to take in because we often cannot afford to fight for a player on a strictly financial basis," he said.

Sometimes he says to his wife that he is switching his phone off but he often just puts it on silent and checks for messages every now and again.

"The game moves so quickly now that you cannot afford to miss out on anything, you need to have your finger on the pulse all the time."

It is enthusiasm translated into dedication. Or as Coyle puts it: "There is no doubt that the harder you work the better chance you will have of succeeding."

Coyle sleeps for just six hours a night and has football on the brain at all other times. I asked him to give me an insight into what it is like to be a manager. "I don't think until people really dip their toe in the water they realise just how difficult a job that is," he said, before expressing a genuine admiration for anyone in the job. I detected a real sense of kinship towards his colleagues.

For example, had local rivals Preston not snatched a dramatic winner at Birmingham last weekend Burnley would already be in the play-offs. Coyle's take on it was to express real admiration for Ross Wallace's stunning free-kick and congratulate manager Alan Irvine for his efforts this season.

"It keeps it going to the last day," said Coyle. "What I love about football is all the twists and turns involved."

As a striker he enjoyed nothing more than hitting the back of the net and as a fan what he enjoys most is seeing a winger take on a full-back. Not surprisingly, the Clarets often line up with two wingers in their side.

He believes that as manager he has a duty to send his team out to entertain a public shelling out good money to pass through the turnstiles.

"Each and every game we enter we try to win - and to do so by playing a style pleasing on the eye with chances being created and goals being scored," Coyle told me.

The stakes are high this weekend but expect more of the same from Coyle and his men.


  • Comment number 1.

    As a long term (over 30 years) Claret, it is so good to feel the buzz around the ground again (and I don't mean the mascot....).
    Owen Coyle's enthusiasm is almost tangible, and I for one am proud to be a Claret.

    Whatever happens at the end of the season...

  • Comment number 2.

    Not sure if you are doing Owen Coyle any favours here Fletch. You make him sound like a footballing David Brent!

  • Comment number 3.

    Really enjoyed this blog.As a Dundee United fan Owen Coyle is a hero for me as he scored the winning goal in extra time of the 1st Division Play Off that put us back in the Scottish Premier.Really hope that he has the same play off success with Burnley

  • Comment number 4.

    As a lifelong Claret, I second SmileyRiley's comments.

    Whatever happens this weekend, we're all very proud and grateful for the season we're having. The standard of play has been great, the team play in an incredibly entertaining way, the players are as committed as I've ever seen, and when we're a goal down you know there's always a chance we'll still go on and win.

    We've had so many rewards already this year (Chelsea away, Arsenal home, the thrilling drama against Spurs), but a play off place would be nothing more than the players deserve - and a shot at the Premier League would be their reward for the great times they've given us this past 9 months.

    Cheers lads, cheers Mr. Coyle and up the Clarets!

  • Comment number 5.

    At Comment 2. Very harsh I reckon! Brent was arrogant, crass and insincere, I didn't get that impression of Coyle from this blog or anything else. Coyle comes across as genuinely enthusiastic, sportsmanlike and speaking good common sense.

  • Comment number 6.

    Just to say that I have followed the Clarets since 1959/60 when I was 10 years old. In those heady days I went with my dad to every 1st team home game and most of the reserve games too. The Turf Moor atmosphere then was fantastic and no wonder the Burnley team back then were fantastic. I was at Wembley in 62 and was so proud of my team back then.

    I cannot get to see Burnley in the flesh very often these days but I am always there in spirit. I was however very fortunate to be at Turf Moor for the Spurs game. Burnley were truely magnificent and the atmosphere was electric, just like the good old days.

    For my money I firmly believe that Owen Coyle is the best manager that Burnley have ever had and that includes Harry Potts and Jimmy Adamson. This man is an inspiration and I wish him and his small but beautifully formed squad all the best and hope that they at least make the play offs, they have earned it.

    What bugs me is the comparative lack of home support compared to recent past years when mediocracy under Stan Ternnent was the order of the day !!

  • Comment number 7.

    Owen who? Was the first reaction when he joined us in November 2007! It could have been Laws from Sheffield Wednesday or Newell (who was axed by Luton) but over a long search and to go to the limit to get his signature on that contract, it had to take great presuading for Coyle to join us!

    Ever since his first 5 games:

    Stoke (H) 0-0 being the first
    Watford (A) 2-1
    Leicester (H) 1-1
    Charlton (A) 3-1
    Wolves (A) 3-2

    11 points from his first 5 games and fans were already shouting his name! All the games we were clearly dominant, campared with Cotterill's tactics he had switched a moderately defensive team into one hell of an attacking force over night and not ust against the average bunch of relegation strugglers. Wolves, Watford and Charlton were in the first 5 and they were top 6 when we played them!

    It did slump towards the end but he did need money in the summer and wise signings like Eagles, PAto and big Kev, also putting Jay Rodriguez out on loan proved to be the bonus for us this season.

    We were always the team who suprised everyone but with Cotterill we weren't going to be real promotion contenders! With Coyle it is totally different, I love his enthusiasm and the way he sees the game. He just don't want to win the league games, he wants to win every single game! He just didn't go to Chelsea looking to get beaten convincingly and say 'we had our day out with the big boys' he told us to hold our own and enjoy the occasion and I (and i'm sure the players and fans will agree) enjoyed every single minute! Not just the Chelsea games, the whole ride up to 3rd of May where it all should be decided!

    I want for the sake of the lads, the fans and Coyle himself to be a happy 3rd of May, but no matter what happens we'll always have our team and hopefully have Coyle for many years to come! :D

  • Comment number 8.

    ack. i nearly gave up reading when i say the use of the word "texted". The word you should use is "Text", come on!

    Having said that, I'm a Birmingham fan and i can do nothing but admire how Owen Coyle has approached the game, both up in Scotland and here in England. He stil plays (masters football he is always brilliant) and is clearly doing something magical to players whom are exceeding their percieved ability.

    They play good, attacking football which is both exciting to watch and makes a fan envious when their club cannot do the same despite having a far superior transfer budget. It would be great to see them succeed while he is at the helm

  • Comment number 9.

    I've had a season ticket for over ten years at burnley since I was 7 or 8 and Owen Coyle is far and away the best thing to happen to the club in that entire time.
    Every game he sets out a team that plays positively and he has an uncanny knack to get the best out of his players on a regular basis.
    Also his commitment to the fans is second to none, after meeting him several times I can say first hand that he has time for everyone and always takes time to praise the fans for their support.
    This article sums up just how great a man he is and is a fantastic representation of what he brings to burnley.

  • Comment number 10.

    A good blog Paul.

    I have a lot of respect for Owen Coyle and what he has achieved at Burnley. Would love to see him at Boro if (when) Southgate decides he has had enough. That's not a slur on Southgate by the way.

    When I was a wee boy I wanted to be Jimmy McIlroy and have always had a soft spot for Burnley.

    Good luck to them in the playoffs - hopefully!

  • Comment number 11.

    I wonder why so many Scots make good football managers?

    We know managerial legends such as Dalglish (EPL winners with Blackburn), Shankley, Stein etc. The English league managers covers the likes of Ferguson, Moyes, Sbraggia, Coyle, McLeish, Sturrock, Davies, Gunn etc. Even Mowbray was selected for WBA based on his impressive Hibernian managerialship. Paul Lambert has turned Colchester around and look at promoted Peterborough's Scottish manager of the future, Ferguson Jnr. no less!! - The list goes on...

  • Comment number 12.

    Just goes to show not only is he a top top manager but he's a top man aswell. Owen Coyle will be in the Premiership before long.

  • Comment number 13.

    Having watched alot of Burnley games this season, the main difference between OC and our other recent managers is that he always wants to win a game and the team are still trying to do so, even in injury time! I have met him a number of times and he is as described - happy, knowledgeable and committed to Burnley FC and his players. UTC!

  • Comment number 14.


    In draft additions to the Oxford English Dictionary (Feb 2004), "text" is included as a transitive verb, with the following definition: "To send (a text message) to a person, mobile phone, etc.; to send a text message to."

    So, Fletch is fine to use the verb in the first place. As to your contention that the past participle of "text" is "text" rather than the more logical "texted", the OED goes on to quote the Leicester Mercury, on 31 July 2001: "I texted my mother and my friends when I got my results" - as eligible usage.

    With that evidence in place, I think "texted" must be considered correct in this instance.

  • Comment number 15.

    I really like Burnley and I hope they are promoted to the Premier League. I am pleased with the current change of fourtunes for certain clubs within the football league. The former well-established Premier League teams like Leeds, Leicester, Forest, Southampton, Norwich, Charlton, Newcastle, Middlesborough are all starting to slide down the footballing pyramid and its the small town teams like Hull, Reading, Stoke and Wigan that are breaking into English footballs top flight and making an impression. I believe Burnley will be one of the latter teams. Everyone loves a good cup upset and the Clarets provided us all with so many this year. For a Championship club to reach the semi - finals of the Carling Cup is a huge achievment and many people believed that this couldnt be replecated in the FA cup and Burnley almost proved them wrong again by being within touching distance of a quarter-final appearence. Barnsley and Cardiff were most famous for their cup exploits last season but the magic with Burnley is not only have they exceeded expectations in the cups but they have also had the league form to match their cup performances. I believe Burnley will definatley make the play-offs but my only concern is whether they have the longevity to guide themselves through this hurdle and into the top flight. If they do make the play offs then this will mean them playing a minimum of 60 matches this season and with a smaller squad than the other teams i believe it will take their toll at the final stage of asking. Owen Coyle has done a brilliant job at Turf Moor and it is refreshing to see a manager that is not bitter and has so much enthusiasm for the game. If Burnely dont go up though they will strugle to hold onto him next season when the Premier League sack race begins however Coyle seems as if loyalty is another one of his many qualities. Come on Burnley! As a Man City fan - you deserve to go up!

  • Comment number 16.

    I really like owen coyle. I was always surprised none of the SPL teams went for him sooner seeing as St. Johnstone are still in the scottish first division.

  • Comment number 17.

    I can see Burnley going up, and having been to Turf Moor on a few occasions when I was a kid, I'd love to see top flight football being played there once again. Up Clarets.

  • Comment number 18.

    Mr Brett,
    That is exactly what I was about to post...
    Er, far more importantly: "Come on You Clarets!"

  • Comment number 19.

    As a Southampton fan I have to say that I'm quite jealous of the success Burnley have had this season and feel we should look at them as an example of how football club should be run. How I wish we had a manager like Owen Coyle. A well respected British manager that knows our game inside out.

    Well done Burnely and Owen Coyle.

  • Comment number 20.

    Being an Airdrie fan, we have always known the man Owen Coyle is, he didnt come back to the club on three different occasions just for the cash !!
    A model professional and i know there are many fans in Lanarkshire looking out for Burnley results - Good luck for this weekend and hopefully the playoffs.

    Oh aye, can we have him back by the way !!!

  • Comment number 21.

    One slight inaccuracy ; Owen Coyle is Irish, not Scottish.

    He has one cap for the Republic of Ireland, gained in a friendly match v Holland in 1994.

    He's a top bloke and was a great lower league striker in his day. I remember being in awe (I was 9 or 10) when I was in a Glasgow sportshop when he walked in to collect a new pair of football boots. I am from Airdrie and he played for Airdrie at the time.

  • Comment number 22.

    the lads done good, but looking at Hiddink tonight, well he is too in love with the game to make a success of it in the premier league.

  • Comment number 23.

    Good luck Burnley, hopefully not at our expense.
    From what I've read and seen, you have played the tastiest football in the championship this year. See you in the play-offs?
    Cardiff fan

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    Great article Paul but one thing... ''when a Burnley fan based in the US held up a large poster with the words 'Owen Coyle is God' written on it at a Wrestlemania event.''

    I don't live in the US!!!

    I live in Burnley...,,10794%7E1631100,00.html

    Anyways... I have been a season ticket holder since the age of 5, I am now 20 an in all my years of being a Burnley fan I have never been so proud of my club and the way they go about their football. Owen Coyle has us playing some fantastic stuff every week. My team deserve to be playing Premier League football next season & Owen Coyle is the man to get us there, after all he is God you know! :)

  • Comment number 26.

    Well done Owen and the lads - we are all so proud of you and hope we get into the play offs this weekend. What a tremendous season!

  • Comment number 27.

    As a St Johnstone fan I always look out for Burnley results, and wish them well in getting into the Premiership
    Coyle was agonisingly close to taking us up to the SPL, when a 90 minutes James Grady goal against an alrady relegated Ross County (which they were unaware off and kept pushing for a goal, which led to the goal).
    Having said this his subs could be baffeling at times, but the football was exciting at times although this perhaps was his downfall

    Gooid luck away OC, nice man

  • Comment number 28.

    Regarding why the large number of apparently successful Scottish managers brought up in the posts above, I believe it can be traced to the Scottish leagues and national teams. The Scottish Leagues are not awash with money, so you can't use money to fix your problems, you (and your team), needs to find a solution to fix that problem. Owen Coyle started his career in management at St. Johnstone. In the scheme of things St. Johnstone isn't a particularly dire club, indeed they look likely to get back into the SPL this year, but to get solutions to problems, he couldn't demand money to solve the problem. It's because of their playing careers being non-descript, they don't get these top jobs, so they have to work their way into a position where they can acheive this.

    Paul Ince is someone who I felt sorry for, he had started right at the bottom IIRC (weren't Macclesfield 92nd when he took over), and was then successful at MK Dons, but perhaps the step up was too much (and perhaps still too soon).

  • Comment number 29.

    Good blog Paul, you've often referred to Owen Coyle as a scot but I think he has played for the Ireland, which if true would mean he has an Irish passport and that would make him Irish.

  • Comment number 30.

    #29, he probably holds a UK and Irish passport.

    I remember him as a very good striker in the Scottish Premier League. He scored in a 0-2 defeat of my team, Hibs, in a SC quarter final while playing for Airdrie in 1992. His assistant sandy Stewart played for Airdrie as well.

    Good to see him doing well down south and good luck to Burnley for the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 31.

    MacBullyBoy... technically not an inaccuracy. Owen Coyle was born in Scotland and is therefor Scottish. Just as Eduardo, playing with Arsenal, was born in Brazil and therefor Brazilian, or Deco born in Brazil is also Brazilian. Just because these players decided not to play for their country of birth does not mean they are not that nationality. I know that if you were to ask OC he would clearly state that he is Scottish.

  • Comment number 32.

    Owen Coyle is god. An absolute diamond when he played for Airdrie, I remember when we first signed him from Clydebank, went on to score hattrick after hattrick, christ knows how many he would have scored that season if he hadn't got injured. By the way he played for Airdrie when Pavel Nedved made his debut, Sparta Prague v Airdrieonians UEFA Cup. Good luck in the play off. Airdrie for the cup.

  • Comment number 33.

    #32; it was the Cup Winners' Cup, not the UEFA.

  • Comment number 34.

    Not only was Owen an Airdrie legend, but so was his assistant Sandy Stewart, who managed the club for several years and was also Coyle's assistant at St Johnstone.

    When Coyle left for Burnley, Sandy took charge of one St Johnstone game before moving to join him - the Challenge Cup final where they beat Dunfermline. Not a bad record!

  • Comment number 35.

    It has been a great season. I was gutted watching the Spurs semifinal. It was on early doors here in OZ and I went to work that day a very sorry guy indeed and worse than that my son-in-law is a Spurs fan and an Aussie!! I want to wish Owen and the boys all the luck in the world for Saturday and for the games after that. Playing Rovers next year in the Premiership....Mmmm I'd like to see that

  • Comment number 36.

    Oz, you'd better not see THAT, I mean Rovers v Burnley next season. It's 31 years and counting since your last win over Blackburn in all competitions so I wouldn't fancy your chances!

    And where this "they deserve to go up" bla-bla-bla stuff came up from?! As if the teams ahead of Burnley don't "deserve" to be promoted. There is no such thing in football as "they deserve something". It is a highly competitive game at all levels, every team has its positive sides throughout a season, every set of fans are extremely passionate for their club...The team that shows more reselience and finishes higher up the table, that is the team who deserves to go up!

    As for all this promotion talk, you should be there in the first place! One more game to go, if you don't win and Preston wins they'll be in the play-offs, not Burnley. It's not an unlikely scenario, you know. Besides, Preston are a Lancashire club, too. They have not tested top flight football for a long time, too. They too have lots of fans and are just 2 points below Burnley.

    So, come on Bristol and come on Preston! What did you expect? After all, I'm a Rovers supporter!

  • Comment number 37.

    Delighted to see Owen Coyle doing well with Burnley, and wish him and the team every success in trying to get into the Premiership. The season Dundee United spent in the First Division we had a ridiculously attacking team, with 4 strikers playing virtually every week: Robbie Winters, Andy McLaren, Gary McSwegan and Owen Coyle. Owen will never be forgotten for his contribution at Utd, getting us back into the Premier League at the first attempt, and of course his winning goal in the play-off. All the best!

  • Comment number 38.

    Typical Rovers fan! Feeling a little sore about having to put up with watching the dire battle against the drop at Ewood again! Of course Clarets fans (me included) are going to feel that we deserve a playoff place - we've got the smallest squad in the division, and have played some of the best football in the League this season.
    If we miss out to Preston this weekend, we will still believe we deserve to have got a playoff spot - perhaps belief has been missing too long for you Rovers fans. (btw, 37 points would get you relegated in the Championship!)
    Good luck to OC and the boys on Sunday - lets top a fantastic season with a playoff spot and from there, who knows. Come on you clarets!

  • Comment number 39.

    There is something about the personality of Owen Coyle that makes him standout from his fellow professionals. His attitude towards fitness and his professionalism ensured that he was not only a boyhood hero of mine when he first signed for Airdrie in 1990 and scored a hat-trick on his debut, but was still my hero as a grown man in 2005 when he was still banging in the goals at the age of 37. He is a model pro for any young footballer and in his later years at Airdrie he was instrumental in coaching and developing several young players who have gone on to enjoy good careers, most notably Alan Gow who is at Norwich. He was a good but never a great footballer, but his personality and attitude meant he always made the absolute most of his abilities and when he looks back at his career he can be content he gave it his best shot! He has all the attributes to make a top manager. I just wish Owen & Sandy were still the managment team at Airdrie..though for their sake, its best they aren`t!! Good luck to them both.

  • Comment number 40.

    #28. Sorry to have to correct you, but Owen's first managerial role was with Falkirk. He was took over as Co-Player-Manager with John 'Yogi' Hughes - who is still in charge - after Ian McCall left for Dundee Utd (Another example of a manager taking the step up too soon). Both were asked to stay on after winning the First Division, but I don't think Coyle was keen on the Co-Manager role.
    That said, He is a genuinely nice guy and I wish him and Burnley all the best on Saturday and I hope they can reach Wembley.
    And good luck to my own Falkirk and Yogi too, in the relegation battle and Scottish Cup Final.

  • Comment number 41.

    #24 I think it is very unfair to include Tommy Coyne in the same category as that other lot. When Coyne was at the top of his game circa 1997 he would never have made it into Craig Brown's Scotland team with the likes of Gallagher, Durie and McCoist et al kicking about at the same time.

    Have to agree with all that has been said about OC. Great guy and not a bad football player either! I will always remember when he scored twice for us at Ibrox (the last time Motherwell won at Ibrox which is a shocking stat) to albeit delay Rangers 9 in a row celebrations.

    Good Luck You Clarets! Will keep an eye on the result on Sunday with interest

  • Comment number 42.

    Excellent blog from Paul Fletcher - with a name like that (consider who used to be centre forward and is now back at club)you should have an affinity with the Clarets! Now living over 100 miles away from Turf I don't get to see the team very often - just twice in the flesh this season - but I have to say this season has brought back fond memories of circa 1972-76 when I hardly missed a home game with my dad when the Clarets played some superb stuff.
    Well done the lads and Owen - I just hope we can hold our nerve on Sunday. I'll be a bag of nerves driving up to Inverness for work commitments that day but I'll have 5 Live on. Let's hope Bristol City have one eye on their foreign holidays!

  • Comment number 43.

    Well done Paul Fletcher - great blog, and so it should be with a name like that (consider a certain centre forward of the Seventies for BFC who is now back at club....)
    Living more than 100 miles away from Turf I don't get to see the Clarets in the flesh that often these days - just twice this season - but the season has brought back memories of days circa 1972-76 when I hardly missed a home game with my dad.
    So well done Owen and the lads. Because of work I'll be driving up to Inverness on Sunday so I'll be a bag of nerves listening to 5 Live. Hope thousands are there to cheer them on - and that Bristol City have one eye on their holidays in the sun already!!

  • Comment number 44.

    Fletch, tremendous blog. As a Saints fan he was a good manager for us, however he just couldn't put an entire season together (especially the one where we lost out to an injury time winner for Gretna at Ross County as scobby_sjfc mentioned - Gretna were 13 points up with 6 games to go and nearly blew it spectacularly!).

    Cup runs are great - he led us to a League Cup and Scottish Cup semi in the same season, knocking out 7 different SPL teams and very nearly beating Celtic in the semi final - but left at the right time for the club and for him.

    I hope he gets promoted as I don't want to see West Brom at Turf Moor next season as they'll beat the Albion convincingly again I imagine!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    As a Watford fan, I will be putting money on Burnley winning the play offs. Everything about you throgh the season and more specifically now reminds me of when we went up through the play offs under Boothroyd. An enthusiastic manager, a team with momentum playing to your strengths, great team spirit and a manager who wants to be a winner. I hope you get to the is always good when an underdog/unpopular club like Watford, Barnsley get there..Didier Drogba at a cold and windy Turf Moor will teach prima donna's like him what REAL football is all about.

    Good luck Clarets..

  • Comment number 46.

    The comment about 'paying a fiver for a game of 5-a-side' made me smile. A few years back I was on holiday in Cyprus and Owen and his family were staying in the hotel. Every day he'd come down and play 5-a-side on the small hotel pitch. We'd pick teams and he'd come round and shake everyone's hand and say hello, he'd pass the ball around and get everyone involved, talking all the time. A true gent. He was still banging in the goals for Airdie at the time, I don't suppose the physios would be too keen to know he was involved in 5-a-side in Cyprus on a tarmac pitch!

    Best of luck for the playoffs Owen (if the Bristol result goes well...), a true fairytale story if they were to steal into the Premier League. I remember the general bemusement and disappointment when Coyle was announced as manager amongst the Burnley fans. What an achievement it would be.

  • Comment number 47.

    Cracking blog about Owen Coyle. Like many I wondered when he signed for Burnley who was he and were did he come from, but luckily I have several colleagues north of the border who had nothing but praise for him and that he liked attacking football that was played on the deck. This season has been the most exiting one at Turf Moor I have experienced in all of my 30 years of going to watch the Clarets. Owen has the whole team in believing in themselves and they will not give up at all, a winning mentality. Having met him on several occassions both at the BFC Childrens Xmas party and also in the tunnel half an hour before the game at home against Preston he still had time to answer any questions asked. Absolute tope bloke and hopefully he can take us up to the Premiership, if not I hope he stays longer at Burnley but I can see some of the bigger clubs coming in for him.

  • Comment number 48.

    As a long time fan of "The Clarets" dating back to the time when "Mck the Knife" caused havoc to visiting defenders, I believe in Owen Coyle's philosophy, smiling can overcome adversity every time.

  • Comment number 49.

    Nice blog - I'm a Burnley fan who doesn't get on many matches as I live in Reading now.

    As everyone's said already, we've had a great season and if it wasn't for the slump after Xmas would've probably gone up automatically by now.

    I'm pretty confident we'll get the right result on Sunday and if not it's still been a great season, once which we should be able to replicate next year.

    I hope we don't get Cardiff in the play-offs - I'm not scared by any of the others but I think Cardiff are a quality side.

  • Comment number 50.

    Now then,

    Many thanks for your replies. In case you hadn't yet guessed (see post eight and 14), Ollie Brett sure does know his way around the English language, and French and Spanish and Portuguese and Italian.

    As for Coyle, he might have played for Ireland but he sounded Scottish to me. Reading through the posts it seems obvious how popular he is. Those that have met him seem to have nothing but good things to say. If Burnley do win promotion or he eventually moves on to a 'bigger' club then it would be interesting to see how effectively he is able to ration his time and cope with increased demands without sacrificing the remarkable impression he seems to make on people.

    And Cav88BFC - Do accept my apologies. Come back on and tell us all about the reaction your antics generated.

  • Comment number 51.

    Both Owen Coyles parents are Irish and are from Donegal in ROI. He was born and raised in Glasgow but chose to play for Ireland as anyone with a full Irish heritage like he has would do.

    I have follwed Burnley since he moved down there and every game I have been to has been outstanding. Football consistently played in the right spirit and with genuine quality. What he has achieveed at Burnely in his short tenure is tremendous and if not with Burnley, he will be a premiership manager before long. That's if Celtic don't come in for him first, hehe. Never played there but I would expect him to take that job before any other in the world....

    All the best this Saturday. Mon the Clarets!!

  • Comment number 52.

    He sounds as west coast as a west coast Scotsman can sound like (just ask Ray "Paddy" Houghton!!!).

    One thing about Coyle that sticks in the mind from when he managed Saints was the revelation that when he had the chairman (Geoff Brown) round at his house either interviewing him or offering him the job, he offered Mr Brown a cup of bovril as it is the only hot beverage he drinks!

  • Comment number 53.

    Like many others, I am a fan of Oweny; a great, engaging personality, comfortable with the modern demands placed on a football manager to be media savvy (incidentally, another scot from the same mould is Alex McLeish).

    I'v met him many times over the last 20 years, and he is always the same; I don't expect that will change, Paul (irrespective of which club he will manage in future).

    Oweny has been with: Dumbarton, Clydebank, Airdrieonians, Bolton, Dundee United, Motherwell, Dunfermline, Ross County, Airdrieonians, Falkirk (Player Co Manager), Dundee United (Player Coach) Airdrie United (Player Assistant Manager), St Johnstone (Player Manager) and now Burnley. Each club's supporters will claim him as their own, such is his ability to engage with people - though we @ Airdrie know he REALLY belongs to us & regularly comes back (although his heart is with Celtic! lol)

    I think the Coyle/Stewart partnership is a good one; at Airdrie United, I always felt it was the wrong way round (i.e. Sandy Stewart was the manager). Their camarderie - and the ability to generate the same in a small squad @ Burnley, with cup giant killings and the increased fixture list that success brings, will owe a lot to the mindset of the Alex MacDonald-led Airdrie side of the early 90's, that punched way above itself, getting to 2 Scottish Cup finals in 3 years; League Cup semi finals; european football and a 7th place finish in the league.

    With the greatest respect to Burnley (& I hope they go up), Owen will NOT hang around; he is ambitious and will move on, but it will be done on good terms & always with a smile. He once told a story of how, when a 1st season pro with Dumbarton, he was pushed forward by the senior players to negotiate a pay rise with their then boss, Bertie Auld; coming from the Gorbals, Owen is no shrinking violet & wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth; he knows his own worth - and he is entitled to ask for it, it in my view, as he WORKS hard to obtain success.

    PS As well as his remarkable goalscoring record, he also appeared in the 'football' film, 'A Shot At Glory', along with Robert Duvall, Michael Keaton, Ally McCoist & most of the Airdrie team of the 90's! Duvall's take on a Shankly-esque Scottish Manager, complete with tartan bunnet & hand-wringing is comical, mostly for the mangled accent! (PS It was a surreal experience to sit in a room with 100 others for a testimonial dinner for Airdrie's long-serving keeper, John Martin, with Duvall at the top table; he wasn't asked to do his accent

  • Comment number 54.

    Good read.

    There are a lot of really good managers at this level. This season has been more competitive than last save for the top 3 teams who, until recently, had run away with it.

    There is no longer any pressure on my team, Bristol City, to win this saturday at Turf Moor; we fell away a couple weeks ago and will not repeat our superb run all the way to the play off final last season but i am still happy we have held our own and will be back stronger next season. As for Burnley, they will need to play at the very top of their game to have a chance of beating us; pity for them we are only going there to play for fun.

  • Comment number 55.

    Blackburn fan in peace...One of my wifes colleagues is a real Burnley and Owen C Fan. He,(OC,) recently spoke at a fund raising event for the School his children attend and my Missus's colleague was there too. Well OC was a diamond apparently. Answering questions, handshakes, all the usual stuff. Plus OC's missus helped out with the refreshments. How refreshing to hear a story like this in the days of £125k per week prima donnas.

  • Comment number 56.

    Thanks for the reply Paul!

    I travelled all the way from Burnley to Houston to watch WrestleMania... And it's sort of a tradition for wrestling fans to hold banners, flags, signs etc. at an event. So I already had my Burnley flag to take. My mate and I were writing a couple of signs and I turned round to him and said 'Owen Coyle Is God, that's my sign'.

    Anyways when I got back I had heard it got on TV and also The Football League wanted an interview with me! haha.

    But I must say the greatest thing of all was when Owen Coyle himself mentioned it in his programme notes the following match! Mr. Coyle also signed a copy of the programme for me... complete with a smiley face!! :)
    He is a class act, and a credit to Burnley Football Club, I just hope he'll stay with us if we don't make it to the Premier League this season.

  • Comment number 57.

    I've been a claret my whole (admittedly not particularly long) life, from the days of Jimmy Mullen, through Inchy, Waddle, Stan and Cotterill and I have to say that never in all my years have I been so proud of my club.

    The boards mentality, while often frustrating, has been key in keeping the club financially viable and in O.C. they've put a man in charge who knows how to work with limited resources and a tiny squad.

    He's got the best out of some players who most of the fans honestly thought had passed it, notably Jensen and Robbie Blake who, despite his clear talent, was poor last year.

    I, like many people here, have also had the pleasure of meeting him and he's an entirely unassuming, open man who made me feel at great ease.

    I for one hope, obviously, that the clarets can do it this year, but if not I think if O.C. stays we'll be an absolute force to reckon with for the next campaign.

    Up the clarets, it's great to feel so optimistic about a club who have made a recent precedent of being dependable but uninspiring.

  • Comment number 58.

    I know it's a bit off topic but to clarify my point about the board it can be annoying hearing the manager has transfers (or loans) lined up, only to be told that the finances aren't there to allow it.

    However, with the way football's going at the moment it's nice to feel secure in the knowledge your board isn't going to do anything drastic and risk the future of your club - how I'd hate to be in a situation like Southampton, Leeds, or particularly Luton right now.

    All the best to those clubs too, because the football league is the platform on whoch English football's built and we can't afford to lose any of these great old clubs.

  • Comment number 59.

    Wherever I roam, I also meet Burnley fans - be it in Asia, the US or even Blackburn! (my wife says its the same two who keep changing shirts). As a lifelong fan of Burnley since those heady days of 1960-62 and having to routinely take stick from my Liverpool /Everton/ ManU- loving, ill-informed family, I can really take some pleasure in holding my head high this season in celebrating the Club's achievements, whatever the outcome. The thesis expressed above that It has been down primarily to Owen Coyle is clearly correct but the manner with which he has been able to inspire his team to play good football and entertain as well cannot be over -stressed. Harry Redknapp and Arsene Wenger both paid tribute to the Burnley style of play this season which is interesting to me as I think they all share common traits - intelligent leaders and good people managers who know how to blend the discipline needed to win with the enthusiasm and compassion to make it happen. Most of all, I like OC because of his sincerity and honesty - when his team falls below his and the fans expectations, he is the first to admit it but in a way that does not belittle his players, taking a lot of the heat himself. Nice guys finish do finish first sometimes - and perhaps take us to the Premiership!

  • Comment number 60.

    great blog owen coyle is a legend the best player ive ever seen play for airdrie in the 20 years ive followed them looks like he is going to be every bit as good as a manager his passion for the game is incredible i hope he can take burnley to the premiership

  • Comment number 61.

    Ive been a Burnley supporter since birth and after years of unsuccesfull seasons where (i personally) couldnt see any progress on the pitch what so ever.
    I finally feel someone has brought some kind off positive vibe to the club and all of a sudden the players and supporters are seeing what can be achieved with hard work and belief.
    Thanks Owen, for a season we will never forget.


  • Comment number 62.

    As a Bolton fan I have got to say I think our chairman got it all wrong when he went for Megson and told Burnley about Coyle. A favorite of mine from his playing days, I hope Burnley go up, I hope Megson leaves in the summer and I hope he's replaced with Coyle. I live in hope! Sorry to Burnley fans for wanting to pinch your manager, but he was a legend at Bolton long before he turned up at Turf Moor!!

  • Comment number 63.

    No offense gin ger garcia but,
    Me being a Burnley supporter I think that Gary Megson has done an oustanding at Bolton, and the idea that you can't apreciate the fact that he has turned Bolton into a durable mid-table Premier Leaugue team is for you to possibly re-think.
    Unfortunately Bolton have been suffering from a string of poor results lately, but to therefore criticise Gary Megson is absurd.

  • Comment number 64.

    choptastic (post) 52 - that is a cracking anecdote - only wish I knew about it before I wrote the article.

  • Comment number 65.

    Nice comment on the average attendance's, it is very poor considering what the yorkshire club has acheived this season, nowt, anyway there will be another 8,000 or 9,000 dingles dissapointed on sunday when they make a draw against Bristol and Preston win, just what the John Bond ordered.

  • Comment number 66.

    Paul - don't know if there's something that you can post up of future blog interviews or stories that you are covering for such anecdotes, especially at they do make a change from the normal interviews given in most of the media content out there today.

  • Comment number 67.

    Kenshead (post)65 - Strangely Burnley have always had a huge following of support from the Craven area of Yorkshire. In my early teens ( 1960s ) coach loads of us Tykes left Skipton bus station heading for Turf Moor on match days. Yorkshiremen probably still out number the Lancastrian Claret supporters even now.
    Simply - when the lead mines of the Yorkshire Dales had had their day just over a century ago, thousands of redundant ( and no doubt destitute ) miners and their families headed west into the booming cotton industries of east Lancashire. Those folks that were left behind in Yorkshire ended up with kinsmen who had eventually become Burnley supporters - dont forget that in those days Burnley F.C. were founding members of the football league . Though now distant this bond or tie still exists.
    Sadly in my opinion today's lack of support stems from the town itself. Although to be fair, economically this region is constantly being kicked
    in the teeth. Once upon a time these honest, hardworking people put Britain on the world map. When the cotton kings finally ran off with the loot they left nowt in its place.
    Burnley needs a boost and Owen Coyle in his small way has give Burnley something to smile about. So come on you Burnleyites get behind the man and the team. You can be great again !!

  • Comment number 68.

    Owen is of course Scottish and not Irish. Just because he was eligible to play for the ROI doesn't mean he is Irish. Tony Cascarino also played for Ireland. Great to see he is doing so well down south.

  • Comment number 69.

    His enthusiasm and passion for the game coupled with an almost geeky pursuit to watch so many other games reminds me of Fergie. That sort of desire and drive is something you're born with and can't be taught at the coaching academies. Utd would be better off looking at OC when Fergie retires rather than Moyes, Phealan, O'Neill or whoever else is flavour of the month for the press.

  • Comment number 70.

    I played for St.Johnstone in the 1949/'50&'51 seasons and appeared at every home fixture at Muirton Park --- never scored a goal,I was a piper with the Perth and District Pipe Band!! So I've been a Saints man since 'way back but just following their fortunes from afar. I've been taking an interest in Burnley's fortunes too since Owen Coyle went there and I'm delighted at his success.Good luck to them in the play-offs and also to the Saints on their return to the SPL next season.

  • Comment number 71.

    As a Rovers fan i hope Burnley get premorted. It will be good for the premiership & good for the area of Lancashire.


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