The Clarets had looked into the jaws of hell, and managed to pull
its self clear just in time, and the club looked to build on it's new
found connection with it's faithful supporters.
1987-88 saw a completely new team rebuilt
under the management of Brian Miller, and
sustain it's position in the League comfortably,
and they even managed to win through to the
Final of the Sherpa Van Trophy at Wembley
against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves
had also dropped down the Leagues, but had
just won the Fourth Division Championship.
A record crowd for an all Fourth Division game
of 81,000 saw Burnley beaten 0-2 on the day,
but it seemed like the misery of 12 months
before had already started to be cleaned away.
Burnley stayed in the Fourth Division under the management of Brian
Miller, and although he had steered Burnley out of trouble, the club had
started to look onwards and up wards, Frank Casper was brought in, but
the closest he got was a Play-off semi-final defeat by Torquay in the
A little way into the 1991-92 season, and he too was replaced, by Jimmy
Mullen. Instantly form changed, and the Clarets zoomed to the top of the
league, and the Championship was won with a 2-1 win over York City, it
gave Burnley the
title of all four division, and the Clarets became
only the second club in history to complete the
feat (the other team being Wolves in 1988).
Mike Conroy scored over 20 goals that season,
which gave him the honor of being the first
Claret in nearly 30 years to breach that magical
The season was also marred by the tragic loss
of Ben Lee, an apprentice player at Burnley
who tragically lost his life when he fell through
the roof of the Longside, when attempting to
collect lost footballs.
A season of consolidation in the newly formed League two, (this being the
first season of the Premier League) established Burnley as a side to be
reckoned with especially at Turf Moor, and the following season held the
same pattern, with Burnley winning nearly every game at Turf Moor, but
the away form was poor, but a place in the Play-off's was earned. Burnley
had finished in sixth place in the League, and drew Plymouth Argyle in the
semi final, a first leg 0-0 draw at Turf Moor, left supporters down hearted,
as the Clarets away form had been so poor all season. A incredible 3-1 at
home park, with John Francis scoring two vital goals, booked Burnley
fourth trip to Wembley, and it's second in 6 years.
The Play-off final between Burnley and
Stockport County was a scruffy affair,
but it was Burnley who won out with goals
from David Eyres and Gary Parkinson,
giving the Clarets a 2-1 win, but the day
was marred by trouble on the pitch, when
two Stockport players took exception to
Ted McMinn, and both ended up being
sent off, but Burnley ended the day with
their first win at Wembley, and more
importantly a place in the First Division.
It became obvious that the Burnley side of 1994-95 was not good enough
to survive the hardship of the First Division, and one quick season was all
the Clarets got, as they tumbled back down in the second division, things
did not get better and after a poor season back in the Second Division,
Burnley replaced Jimmy Mullen with player manager Adrien Heath.
Adrian Heath managed two seasons at the
helm, where we were never far from
mid-table, and he left the club to take up an
assistant managers appointment at Everton
The club then moved for a big name signing, to show their intent on
making a concerted effort to get out of the Second Division and get into
Chris Waddle, ex-England and Spurs midfield maestro walked into he club,
and 12 months later, and a battle against relegation, he walked back out
again. Waddle did manage to buy Burnley Born Andy Payton, who was
brought to the club from Barnsley, as part of a swap deal, with Paul
Barnes, a player who had scored 5 goals in a game against Stockport
County, going the other way
The club was on the threshold, they had seen quick changes in
management damage the club internally, and if the next appointment
wasn't the right choice, the club could undo all the hard work of the last
In came Stan Ternent, ex-Claret, and an
expert in winning promotion on a shoe
string, as he had done at Bury. Stan set
about the squad, and he was never far
from public attention, when he publicly
sacked 3 first team players at a press
conference for poor performances in
the previous game.
Stan's first season, was mediocre, but a change in chairman, was to help
his cause financially. Frank Teesdale, who had see the club through it's
toughest stint in it's history made way for Barry Kilby, a local business man
who wanted to invest heavily in the club. Frank Teesdale, had over seen a
marked change in the club financial balance since 1987, which included
the building of two huge stands, at the cost of 6.5 million pounds, to
replace the Longside and Bee Hole end terraces, and make Turf Moor into
an all seater stadium.
The Claret then proceeded to buy a new team,
with old favourite Steve Davies returning for
a club record £750,000. Even signing
ex-England and Arsenal great Ian Wright for
the end of the 1999-00 season, which ended
up being a masterstroke, as the Clarets
forced their way into second position and
take the remaining promotion spot behind
Preston North End at the expense of
Gillingham, with a dramatic 2-1 over
Scunthorpe on the last game of the season.
Ian Wright to the horror of most Burnley fans decided to hang up his boots
at the end of that campaign, but it was not a sign that the Clarets would
have a tough season ahead, as they took to the First Division as a duck to
If supporters thought that the first season
back in the first Division was a fluke, then
they were rudely awaken by the second,
as Stans team took on all comers, but
sadly a blip at Christmas, which included
a 1-5 defeat by eventual champions
Manchester City saw any promotion
dreams fade away, Stan attempted to
inspired another end of season promotion push when he sign probably the
greatest England player of his generation, Paul Gascoigne, but this time
the gamble did not pay off.
Suddenly though ITV digital, a company that had paid vasts amounts of
money to the Football League for exclusive rights, went bust, and the
financial burden was suffered by the clubs, hardest hit were the smaller
clubs, like Burnley who had gambled on the money in lieu to get to the
promised land of the Premier league.
Quickly, the team was sold off, or off loaded, to bring finances back into
line, and the 2003-04 season was to be Stan's toughest at the club. Huge
losses to Grimsby and Sheffield Wednesday, left Burnley supporters in no
doubt as to the severity of the situation, but Stan pulled it out of the bag in
the end, and kept Burnley in the First Division. Sadly that was Stan's last
season at the club, and the board stated the would not be renewing Stan's
contract at the end of the season.
June 2004 saw the board appoint a promising new manager, Steve
Cotterill. Cotterill was at the club for just over 3 years, and all three
seasons have seen mid-table finishes. He bore the brunt of the cost
cutting exercises by the board, when leading goal scorers Robbie Blake
and Ade Akinbiyi were sold in consecutive seasons, and promising
England under 21 Richard Chaplow was also sold off. When new director
Brendon Flood appear at Turf Moor, a new brush swept clean, and a
casualty of the new direction the club would take, would be manager Steve
Cotterill, and he was replaced by Owen Coyle, from Scottish minnows St
Johnstone. The club then sold top goal scorer Andy Grey to Charlton, and
in the close season young starlet Kyle Lafferty to Rangers for a record
£3.5 million, this then helped the club smash it's transfer record for Martin
Patterson for £1.3 Million from Scunthorpe United, and Chris Eagles for
about the same amount from Manchester United.
After the first 4 games of the 2008/09 season, Burnley had only managed
to gain 2 points, and had been heavily beaten by Sheffield Wednesday
and Ipswich, but things quickly changed, as a good Carling Cup run, which
accumulated in the defeats of Fulham, Chelsea, Arsenal and then a had
fought loss in extra time against Tottenham Hotspur in the Semi Final,
propelled Burnley into a Play Off hopeful, the post Christmas crash came
and went, and Owen was able to infuse the players with self belief when
other teams faulted. They gained 5 place in the League on the last game
of the season, and drew Reading in the semi final, the first leg being at
Turf Moor. A nervy and hard fought 1-0 win by a Graham Alexander
penalty, coupled with the sending off of future Burnley defender Bikey,
sent Burnley to the Madjeski Stadium with hope.
A fantastic second half performance and wonder goals from Martin
Patterson and Steve Thompson saw Burnley through to play Sheffield
United at the newly built Wembley stadium, for a day no Claret will ever
Enough has been written about that gorgeous afternoon in May, as
Burnley hammered out a magnificent 1-0 victory thanks to a peach of a
goal by Wade Elliott 13 minutes into the game, against a physical and
direct Sheffield United.
37,000 Burnley fans were sent into rapture at the end of the game, and
dreaming about the Premier League, which would now be played at Turf
Moor. 33 years of hurt, 22 years since the Orient Game, all forgotten on
an afternoon where mine, and a number of other Claret's dreams were
After the Civic reception on an open top bus, it was back to business, as
Owen Coyle set about creating a team capable of retaining it's position in
the Premier League for more than one season.
Owen Coyle has been able to finally put to rest which had started many
years ago in 1987. Many managers and players had tried, a number had
helped but in Owen Burnley had finally got the man to finish the job
Burnley were BACK!!
The new Premier League season, promised much including a vast amount
of money, the sort of cash influx which would safe guard the clubs future.
The fixture list was hotly anticipated, and it was to every Clarets joy that
Burnley would host Manchester United in their first Premier league game
to be held at Turf Moor.
Owen Coyle bought Steven Fletcher from Hibs for a record £3 million, he
also bought Andre Bikey, who had been sent off in the first leg of the Play
Off semi-final against Burnley, from Reading for £1.5 Million. Another
notable player to come in was Tyrone Mears at right back.
First game back in the top flight was against the previous years surprise
package Stoke City, who had been virtually unbeatable at the Britannia
Stadium during there first season in the top flight.
Many supporters thought "Doing a Stoke" would be the best way Burnley
would be able to stay in the Premier League for longer than a season. The
first game however was a let down, especially after all the build up, as the
Clarets went down 2-0. Ominous signs were pointed out by the national
press that Burnley just weren't good enough for this level.
The second game of the season though saw the whole football world sit up
and take notice, as little Burnley humbled the biggest club in the world,
Manchester United 1-0, thanks to a Robbie Blake stunner (later to be
voted Burnley's goal of the season), and a penalty save by Brian "Beast"
Burnley then made it 6 points from a possible 9, with a 1-0 win at home,
over Everton. Sadly Burnley's away form was completely the opposite of
their home form, they beat Sunderland 3-1 and then Birmingham 2-1 at
the Turf, but suffered heavy defeats against Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool
and Spurs, before being beat by arch rivals Blackburn 3-2 at Ewood. It
was around this time that former Preston NE and England international,
David Nugent arrived from Portsmouth, we was to stay until the end of the
season, and chip in with a number of important goals, but Burnley lost
both Chris McCann and Martin Patterson to serious knee injuries. Pato,
was to return to the first team before the end of the season, but Chris
McCann's season was virtually over.
Burnley were then defeated 3-1 at the Turf by Wigan, with Jensen limping
out of the game with an ankle injury, sustained during their first goal.
Burnley's' good home form and poor away form saw them through to
Christmas, and they were sitting pretty on New Year's Day in 15th place,
when rumours of the possible exit of manager Owen Coyle to Bolton
Wanderers where doing the rounds. These increased after a 2-1 win over
MK Dons in the FA Cup Third Round, when Owen Coyle refused to
conduct an post game press conference, and left to travel back to
Scotland straight after the game.
Then on 8th Jan 2010 confirmation was announced that Owen Coyle had
left Turf Moor, to take up the post as new manager of Bolton Wanderers.
Burnley fans were left devastated, what had promised to be a season to
remember, as quickly disintegrating. Burnley's next match was the small
matter of an away trip to Old Trafford, after the home game to Stoke had
been postponed due to bad weather.
Brian Laws was quickly installed as manager, the former Burnley player
had recently left his former post as manager at Sheffield Wednesday by
mutual consent, but his appointment at Turf Moor took everyone by
surprise, and many national press journalists stated that Burnley lacked
the ambition to stay in the Premier League with that appointment.
Brian Laws' appointment also divided the fan base, as many saw him as
the cheap option when compared to some of the other candidates.
Burnley then struggled through January, Brian laws was left with no back
room staff after a mass exodus of the entire first team coaching staff
followed Owen Coyle to Bolton, including former fans favourite Steve Davis.
Defeats against Manchester United, Reading (in the FA Cup), Owen Coyle
new Bolton wanderers and then a televised home game against Chelsea,
saw Burnley drop into the relegation zone.
A spirited home win against West Ham prompted hope of a possible turn
about of fortunes, Burnley Burnley's terrible away form continued, and
their home form had started to crumble.
Limp home losses to relegation rivals Wolves, Portsmouth and Blackburn
Rovers had placed Burnley 2nd from bottom, and only just ahead of
Portsmouth, due to their 9 points deduction for going into administration,
but things were to get worse, and a 6-1 home drubbing to Manchester City
was the final nail in th coffin for a large group of supporters, especially as
Burnley were 3-0 down after 7 minutes. Only a terrible rain storm in the
second half prevented the score from being increased to double figures.
For many Burnley supporters the realisation that the Clarets were heading
back to the Championship after only one season in the top flight was
realised after that game.
5 games remained of them 3 were away and Burnley needed at least 9
points to stand a chance of surviving. That meant that Burnley would have
to do something they had failed to do all season, win away from home.
Surprisingly the very next match was against Hull City, and after going
down to an early goal, Burnley bounced back to win 4-1. Could the great
escape be back on?
Sadly not, as after an away defeat against Sunderland, Burnley's
relegation was confirmed after a 4-0 defeat at home to Liverpool. Burnley
were able to win their final game of the season against Spurs, who had
just confirmed a Champions League place the week before, 4-1.
Sadly that was the end of Burnley's journey to the promised land. Brian
Laws roared that he would lead Burnley back to the Premier League, but I
doubt many Burnley supporters felt that way, after Burnley had meekly
surrendered their position in the first place.
The national press the claimed that Brian Laws was to be sacked, but
Barry Kilby stood by his man, and gave him the money to rebuild he
Burnley squad, for their new season in the Championship.
Scotland international Chris Iwelumo was bought from Wolves, as well as
Dean Marney from Hull and Ross Wallace from Preston NE.
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