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Great to be there, Shame to go

The 2009 / 2010 season and Premiership football at last. For Clarets in Thailand it also afforded to see regular games on television. Am I sad we went down? of course, all Clarets are! but was it a good year? Well I enjoyed it, we had some good nights and some good games. What is done is done. 
So here is to the Clarets and winning the championship.


Here are a collection of the Premiership year memories.


Stoke City 2 - Burnley 0 (Prem) 15 August 2009

Comments by Alan T, Photos by Nigel Whittlestone.

Burnley 1 - 0 Manchester United (Prem) 19 August 2009

Picture
photo LH
The sign says it all!


Burnley 3 - Sunderland 1 (Prem) 19 September 2009

Report by Nigel Whittlestone
Friday 18th September found me making a quick dash from work to be able to attend the Burnley v Sunderland game the next day. This part may not sound too unusual but it involved a 14,000 mile round trip and 28 hours of flying to see the game. Why do it? After all the years of watching Burnley in the lower divisions I had always promised myself and said to my wife that if Burnley ever made it to the Premier League I would attend every game I could, regardless of where I might be working. Our promotion to the Premier League found me working in Penang, Malaysia, where I had been since 1996. Even at this distance I still normally manage to attend 2 to 5 games a season, depending on the fixture list and my holidays. When the eagerly anticipated fixture list was released I quickly looked at it in the context of which games I could make, in line with the school holidays. It was not good, while I could make the first game of the season ( thanks to the help of the London Supporters Club with the tickets), games at Xmas and Easter, the games at half term were ones where I would struggle to get a ticket (Blackburn away). However Sunderland at home was possible as we were on holiday on the Monday and Tuesday. Flight schedules mean going to a home game on a Saturday I get back to Penang on a Monday morning. The first part of the journey home on the 18th was probably the trickiest. It was the last Friday before the end of Ramadan and I had 4 large mosques to get past to reach the airport on time. An earlier than normal departure meant I got past them while the prayers were still on and cars were parked all over the place. The one hour flight from Penang to Singapore was fine as was the 4 hour wait for the connecting flight to Manchester. It is fairly easy to find things to do in Singapore Airport. I met up with a colleague from work in the airport who did not believe I was going back to see the football until I showed him my flight ticket. The fourteen hour flight to Manchester went just as smoothly. The couple next to me, on a once every five years trip back to England, being surprised at what I was doing. The flight arrived early and I was soon in arrivals, having no luggage. A bit too early as it meant I had to wait for my sister to give me a lift back to West Yorks. Everything else went smoothly. Got home and was in Burnley by 11.30. I managed to see some of my relatives before the game, who have season tickets for different parts of the ground.Not having a season ticket I was watching the game from the lower tier of the JM stand, just to the side of the goal towards the Bob Lord Stand and about 10 rows back. Last time I had seen a game at Turf Moor from this position would have been the late 1980’s from the Bee Hole End. When buying a ticket for the seat I had run into a little problem. The phone number for the ticket office is a premium rate number, which you cannot dial from Malaysia. Fortunately I was able to get my mum to buy the ticket. Even at 40 years old I have to depend on my mum!

Burnley 2 - Birmingham City 1 (Prem) 3 October 2009

October the 3rd, 2009 was a fair old day for me; it was both my father’s 86th birthday and my first opportunity to go to Turf Moor this season to see Premiership Burnley in action. Not only that but they were playing fellow promoted club Birmingham City.  OK you may not think that it being Birmingham City is the bee’s knees as it were but as usual there is a bit of history, not a lot bit a little. It isn’t the type of thing that justifies detail but it all started when Birmingham managed promotion and we missed the play offs on the last match of the season.   Combine that with relegation, 3 chaps that worked together and a willingness to bet on the comparative performance of our teams, Burnley, Birmingham and Wolves and you get the idea. It is the type of thing that matters when you live 6000 miles away in a country where you can’t go to the bookies and have a bet.

My brother in law had our tickets and off we went to the game, premiership football, I thought.

Interestingly I don’t think the turnstiles have changed much. “which is the one for fat blokes” I asked but all I got was a shrug of the shoulders as I squeezed through and headed for some liquid refreshment and soon enough it was time to take out seats.

It is a while ago now so there isn’t much point in going on about the game, it was great to see Bikey in such good form and of course to see the Clarets continue the home win run.  To be honest, even the Birmingham goal was not too much of a surprise; it was as if we had done enough.  Birmingham were poor and they dragged us down with them I thought at the end of the game but what I really felt was that it was a shame so few Birmingham supporters looked to have made the trip.

Great game? Hardly. Worth it? Absolutely no question.

 

Blackburn Rovers 3 - Burnley 2 (Prem) 18 October 2009

Rovers Away, well there is hardly a fixture like it but with all the things I am hearing, I am not sure it is better to watch from afar. I wasn’t there so I have no idea if the huge imposition and mandated travel arrangements were warranted. Still, for those who made the trip it must have all seemed worthwhile when the ball flew into the net from Robbie Blake who’s cracking shot left format England goalie Robinson with no hope.But things were not to stay that way and looking on the big screen from where I viewed the game, joy turned to disappointment touched with some disbelief as we appeared to gift the lead to Blackburn.  It could be argued that if we were a certain Manchester team, the push I could have sworn I saw even after a number of bottles of Chang and a couple of carafes of claret (well red wine of some description) would have resulted in a free kick, not a goal, but we are not so the Beast needs to be a bit more, err well beastly I suppose and get in there.Still we rallied at the end and were clearly on top when the final whistle rescued Blackburn whilst they still had a slender lead.

Manchester City 3 - Burnley 3 (Prem) 7 November 2009

Photos; Paul Mooney
Settling down to my seat at the bar of the Red Lion ChiangMai there was the usual banter between the locals that frequent the place to watch the football and enjoy the atmosphere at the weekend.Being a Claret in ChiangMai is to be a part of a fairly exclusive club; if there are any others that live here they keep themselves to themselves so as usual there were more supporters of other clubs here for a night out than to support the clarets or City for that matter.The pre match chat tended to revolve around the lesson we were about to be given by the mega stars from Manchester, yes how odd, when people talk of the richest club in Manchester now they don’t mean United.  I put a brave face on, I believed City to be a footballing side and that would allow Burnley to play football also.  As long as we are playing football we are in with a chance, it is when we are under pressure away from home that we seem to crumble, lose shape and leak goals.Still, the visit to Ewood had shown us that we had spirit and we could fight back, such an important change from the game at Spurs at the end of September. As the game started it was Shean Wright-Phillips that caused the first intake of breath. Most of the people around me were commenting about players like Tevez, Lescott and Barry but for me City’s danger men are Wright-Phillip and Bellamy both of whom are a right handful plus of course Adebayor who is a prolific striker.Settle down, settle down and after withstanding the first couple of minutes Burnley started to play some nice football and looked to be controlling the game.Burnley were playing good football and getting shots in but it was still nil-nil when Tyrone Mears crossed ball connected with the hand of Lescott... penalty! My phone bleeped for a text message, it was from Paul my friend and City fan.  It read; *!* Lescott £20million? (Well similar).Alexander hit a sweet penalty giving Given no chance and we were ahead at City!And thing got even better, city seemed to lose the plot as Burnley pressed onwards with skill and determination and Elliott running his heart out and making such a difference to the game.  Elliott is my favourite player, he has proved he had the skill for this level and he works harder than anyone I know.Eagles also seems to be growing in confidence and he provided the ball for Fletcher to score our second goal and we were 2-0 up and what’s more a deserved 2-0!Grabbing another bottle of Chang I turned to a friend at the bar and said “if we can go in at half time 2 up I will be a happy chap”. As if they had waited for me to open my big mouth as Shaun Wright-Phillips wriggled past players and had his deflected shot fly into the net and City had one back before the half time break.The second half saw City come out with determination, probably motivated by the recent goal but I am still a little lost as to the referee’s decision(s) that led to the free kick to Burnley? No?  City? And the resultant goal, 2-2. I must go a little easier on the Chang so I can see what the ref it actually giving and why I think.Then from bad to worse as Bellamy, who I rate as City’s most undervalued asset, met the Wright-Phillips cross and City were ahead 3-2!  We had managed to go from 2-0 up to losing 3-2 and we were away from home, what hope now?Well if I was wondering what to do, Owen Coyle certainly knew what was needed substituting 3 players for fresh legs Burnley lifted themselves to be the aggressors again taking the initiative and the game to City and when McDonald hit the net to bring us level on 3-3, I could hardly contain myself.At last an away point and against a top team, but it is more than that to me, we are showing that we are a team not just players but a premiership team.Land of Smiles... you should see my grinJ

Big Game Meet Up Manchaster United

Picture
Date; 16 January 2010
Time; 10pm
Suggested Venue; *NEW VENUE*
Pattaya, World of Sport Bar


It is 6pm on a Friday night and of we go to the Arcade bus station in ChiangMai, the reason, the overnight bus to Pattaya.  By 7pm we were settled in our seats ready for the bus to depart and off we went all ready for the big game.

Arrival time was about 6.30am so we wandered over to the baht bus stop and went down to Lek Villa, just off Naklua road where we indulged in the breakfast buffet.  If you have never been they do an eat all you want buffet line with hot and cold food for 110baht and the coffee is passable too!

We were staying at the Barracuda on Naklua road and they were happy to allow us to check in early so we got a good chunk of rest before the Mrs. went off to see a friend and I settled into a seat by the bar. I like sitting at the bar, you meet lots of interesting people, even a German football supporter.

As the night started to draw in some of Pattaya’s tourist attractions started to arrive, if you are from the UK and you haven’t been to Pattaya there are some pictures to help you understand what I mean.

Pattaya has a lot of bars, I lost count of the bars between the Barracuda and the World of Sport bar but sure enough the game was on for us and we settled down and met up with Ken and Colin. Sure enough other Clarets also arrived and the occasional red.

I guess we all know the result, but one day our football will bring a deserved result, but it wasn’t to be this time.

Of course we spent more time in Pattaya, went to some usual haunts and had the occasional beer before taking the long overnight bus back.

 

All in all I had a great time even though there were not that many Clarets at the meet up.

 

The next one is scheduled for ChiangMai which, let’s face it, is not at all like Pattaya. But I still think we can have a great time watching the game so come and enjoy!



 Burnley 1-1 Arsenal, 16-December-2009

Big 4 football returned to Turf Moor on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning as it was here as the Arsenal young guns came looking to improve their European challenge. Of course by now they had already been to Anfield and created a further dent in the Liverpool championship effort and I for one expected that game could well effect the Arsenal team that turns up to take on the Clarets. Settling down on the sofa in front of the TV at 02.45 the game kicked off and what a game with both teams determined to get the points. The early first half belonged, in the most to Arsenal or more particularly, Cesc Fabregas started to dominate the game and sure enough popped in the first goal following a terrible mix up on 7 minutes. Not that Arsenal hadn’t had the occasional scare especially as Vermaelen made goalkeeper Almunia tip a goal bound wayward header over to prevent a home goal. As Burnley pressed, Vermaelen fouled Bikey in the area giving Alexander the chance to score his 100th in the league. Once again the spot kick was true and Burnley were level. As the first half drew towards the end it was clear that Fabregas was in trouble and sure enough he had to be replaced, a real blow to Arsenal. The second half saw more action and effort by Burnley with a cracking effort by Eagles hitting the woodwork. It seemed that the match was to remain equal, 1 goal each, 1 cracking shot against the post each. And so it remained despite the view from the television cameras that the Clarets should have had at least one more penalty it was not to be. Overall I was happy to see Burnley to perform so well at this level and so on we go with a visit to Wolves. I said before the game “Quality and high flying they may be but is that any match for northern grit and determination... I THINK NOT” well perhaps it was a match, this time, but only just. 

Up the Clarets


Hull 1 - 4 Burnley 10 April 2010


Burnley 4 - 2 Spurs 9 May 2010

Cock -a- doodle - do!


Swept away in the first part of the game with possession stats of Burnley 24% Spurs 76% the commentators were full of praise for the way Spurs have progressed under Harry this year. Which of course they have.


With reference to a possible Man City score line at turf Moor they were pretty certain the days of fortress Burnley were over but slowly and surely they changes their story and were man enough to not credit the win on an exhausted Spurs from the previous game.
There were some great moments, Wade Elliott who many know is my favourite player scores a great goal, Fletcher's great touches the list goes on and to all of them that made the last game a day to be proud of many many thanks
Once again the Clarets fans showed themselves to be the finest in the land with terrific support for the full game.


Up the Clarets