“The town is the club the club is the town” – that is Aaron Wright*‘s grand description of Burnley. Yet he’s from the other side of the Pennines and is the first in his family to support the club. All the same, he is passionate, knowledgeable, opinionated and just 17. Wasn’t too keen on Steven Fletcher and was unimpressed by Ryan Noble but hails Gus Poyet as a miracle worker …
Salut! Sunderland: Tony Scholes from Clarets Mad declared himself well pleased with the summer acqusitions. Do you agree or could Sean Dyche have done more or better?
The deals done before deadline day were a bit worrying. Michael Kightly we had last year, so personally I didn’t see this as an improvement. Marvin Sordell I personally think is a bit of a buy based on one good season – that season was under Dyche but I don’t think he’s Premier League quality.
Lukas Jutkiewicz is a good signing, he won’t score bags and bags of goals but will be the target man when attacking. Matthew Taylor was my favourite signing before deadline day with the experience and he pops up with the odd goal from a ridiculous range which could turn a 0-0 into a 1-0.
Steven Reid I think was necessary but is a squad signing not a first XI starter with Kieran Trippier easily in front of him. Matt Gilks from Blackpool gives competition to Tom Heaton in goal but he won’t start that often if competition has the desired effect. Stephen Ward again will put pressure on current left-back Ben Mee for the place and so far does look like he will get a run of games at some point this season.
* Guess the Score in Burnley vs Sudnerland. You may win a mug … https://safc.blog/2014/09/burnley-vs-sunderland-guess-the-score-and-safc-towels-hit-turkey/
George Boyd on deadline day? Good signing just a bit hot-headed at times but from the performance at Palace seems a good one just didn’t look to have the stamina in the last 20 minutes. Nathaniel Chalobah and Michael Keane on loan: Keane is a good signing. The age of our centre backs is a bit high with Michael Duff being 38 (36 according to the club site – Ed). Keane should give him a run for his money in terms of places. Chalobah is a fantastic signing especially for away games when a slight formation change is needed. He adds some competition to David Jones and Dean Marney in midfield but especially Jones as he is currently our defensive centre midfielder. Overall good signings, just two problems, a former Blackburn theme and no backup Premier League quality striker. Vings (Sam Vokes and Danny Ings) both injured (at the time of writing) only Jutkiewicz looks Premier League quality at the moment.
What do you make of the Mike Garlick/John Banaszkiewicz pairing at the helm of the club?
It goes well for the most part, they seem to have the club financially stable and going well. Bit tight about the transfer fees and wages available to Dyche in the window and how they have basically gone “oh Premier League let’s put a £400 price rise on adult season tickets then make walk-ons unbearably high trying to con the away fans”. It keeps the club stable but maybe puts some fans out of reach of the club for the majority of this season at least.
It was a great achievement to get back to the Premier after four years. Is survival the only thing that matters or do you honestly feel something better is in prospect?
Yes, survival is the only aim. Don’t care we lost to Sheffield Wednesday in the Capitol One Cup and wouldn’t even care if we lost v Hednesford in the FA Cup 3rd Round if it means staying up. One Burnley fan on a website of ours would probably say 4th place and beat Bayern Leverkusen for a Champions League spot next season. We all know that isn’t going to happen though.
You are far too young to have any direct knowledge of Burnley’s grander days. What do older relatives and acquaintances tell you of them?
I’m the first Burnley fan in my whole family. The early 60s sounded like a great time for the club. The 70s and 80s not so much, especially when we only stayed in the Football League on the last day one year. It’s got better since them so I’m happy.
Which players do you really wish you’d seen, who are the best you’ve seen yourself and who should never have been allowed to wear your claret and blue?
Would’ve loved to have seen Jimmy McIlroy play. He’s a Burnley legend and has a stand named after him. I was just too young to have seen Andy Payton and his golden boot year. I loved watching Jay Rodriguez – Burnley-born and bred and I still watch him. Looking forward to his return to the Turf later this season – just as long as he doesn’t score. I don’t feel like Ryan Noble was of good enough quality for the shirt last season but I’ve got to say Andre Bikey (or whatever his name is at the moment). Sent off v us in the playoffs in 2009, signed him that year and I personally don’t feel like he stepped up nor did he perform that well when we were relegated. No doubt people will disagree but that’s my opinion.
What have been your own highlights as a Burnley fan?
9th March 2014. A day that will stay with every Burnley fan for the rest of their lives. 35 year hoodoo vs Rovers broken. I honestly can’t remember a time when I was happier watching football. The Wembley promotion was special and the whole of last season was special but nothing will ever compare to the feeling I had when Ingsy scored that 2nd goal at Ewood and then when the final whistle was blown. Couldn’t have been happier.
And your saddest moments supporting them?
Losing to Spurs in the League Cup in 2009, 118th minute and we were going through on away goals to the final against United when they scored twice in quick succession. The heartbreak was unbearable even though the likelihood of beating United was very slim.
Biggest difference between Championship and Premier League football?
The quality of players is obvious. The distance to away games has risen in general. The money was massively different until Fulham signed McCormack from Leeds. How is he worth only £5million less than Balotelli? The number of games played and therefore the number of games I personally can make has dropped remarkably especially at our prices (how everyone is selling out in the away end is remarkable in my eyes).
And Premier League badges on the shirts don’t seem to stay on as well as the Championship ones but that’s not really what people think of when they ask you that question.
Did you see The Inbetweeners? What do Burnley fans make of the reference to them?
We don’t care about the reference – all it does is makes us more annoying away from home, ask the Reading fans. I seem to care more about Rovers being shown in a good light.
Walking around the town, is there real pride in the local club or do you still see plenty of United/Citeh/Liverpool gloryseekers.
The town is the club the club is the town. There are not very many people in Burnley that don’t support the club but you’ll get the glory supporting fans everywhere you go so that doesn’t seem to matter. The support for the team in the town is great.
Who will be this season’s top four, in order, and who is going down?
Top 4 (1st to 4th) Chelsea, City, Arsenal, Liverpool
Bottom 3 (20th to 18th) West Brom, QPR and West Ham.
If our clubs didn’t feature in that answer, where will they finish?
I think Sunderland will again finish 14th but more comfortably this time. I don’t really care where we finish as long as its 17th or above.
Lots of links between our clubs (eg Billy Elliott and Jimmy Adamson from way before your time, Phil Gray when you were small, Steven Fletcher more recently). Any thoughts on Fletcher or handed-down anecdotes about the others, or any I’ve missed?
Heard great stories about Jimmy Adamson. Not going to lie, I’d never heard of Billy Elliott except the film. Phil Gray I have a brief recollection of but nothing that memorable. Steven Fletcher tried to keep us up but the number of feet he had while playing football only seemed to be one. Ryan Noble was yours wasn’t he(Yes- Ed)?
And what do think of Sunderland: the club, the fans, Poyet, the region?
Sunderland the club I like. Very similar to ours in that it’s a local club that is close to the area. Your former Chairman is a rubbish pundit but that’s a problem with him and not you. The fans stuck with the club when you looked doomed last year so I have to give you credit. Poyet was unjustly sacked by Brighton while he was on TV which was just wrong but I only have two words for Poyet. Miracle worker! Never been to Sunderland; all I can say is surely it can’t be worse than Middlesbrough. Only thing I don’t like about Sunderland is Connor Wickham, good player but while playing for Leeds he told an Under 10s team to eff off (Evidence? – Ed).
What single step should be taken to improve the matchday experience, especially for young supporters?
Heated stands stops fans from freezing in the winter although they won’t do that as Bovril sales will drop. On a serious note, I feel for young supporters of any club that there has to be that childish mascot. It seemed to work for us, Bertie Bee, legend sent off and rugby tackled a streaker.
Brazil 2014: did you love or loathe it?
Brazil 2014. No other way to put it but fantastic, if you sweep England under the carpet. The holders out in the group stages again. Surprise packages like Costa Rica playing well, only falling to the Netherlands and Tim Krul in the quarter finals. Brazil’s brilliant play until they lost both Neymar and Thiago Silva. After that it was utter demolition by both Germany and the Netherlands. The final was good but slow in parts but definitely better than the two I remember. Germany deserved to win it. They were typically German in efficiency. Nice to see Götze score in the final being young and a great talent.
Has diving and other cheating become so routine that we should give up complaining and just write it into the coaching manuals?
Other countries do so why shouldn’t we? But it’s just wrong in terms of the sport. Complaining to the ref is just annoying. Take the card and shut up is my advice. Starting to get over the diving especially whenever England play. FIFA need to either get it out of the game or we need to teach it, simple.
Will you be at our game? What will be the score?
I can’t make it to the game on Saturday. The score could go 1 of 2 ways either very few meaning one goal either way or a high scoring game. I’m going to go 1-0 Burnley but I could see you winning should Ings not be fit and we have a bad day at the back, entirely possible.
* Aaron Wright on himself: I am 17 and currently live in Harrogate. Supported Burnley since the age of four with no ‘guidance’. Just chose them. Currently at sixth form in Year 13 studying Media, Geography and Science. I’m hoping to get to Uni next year at UCFB to study Football Business and Marketing. @aaron97bfc
Interview: Colin Randall
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