Burnley – what a season, but what next?

What a season! That is simply all that can be said about the 2016-2017 season as a whole. 

At the start of the season, Burnley Football Club set out to achieve survival in the Premier League at the third attempt and achieved it with relative ease. The table will show that Burnley finished six points above the drop zone with a far superior goal difference, which is really all that matters.

Unfortunately the last game of the season, at home to West Ham, resulted in a 1-2 loss with a poor performance to boot. Of course, it didn’t matter too much as the fans aren’t extremely bothered about the extra few million quid at stake for finishing in 11th rather than 16th but it would have nice to bow out with a win or a fierce and rip-roaring performance.

There have been other disappointments throughout the season; the utilisation of an unsettled Steven Defour who is without doubt Burnley’s most talented technical footballer, having to wait until the back end of April for an away win and the reluctance to get Robbie Brady and Gudmundsson into the starting XI towards the latter end of the season.

However, now is not a time to focus on the negatives but a time to reflect and look back on a fantastic season. To hit 40 points is a phenomenal achievement, and the fortress Turf Moor was obviously key to Burnley’s success. It is a place that creates a wonderful atmosphere when the crowd are on their game and can be incredibly intimidating for other teams players to come and try to get a result, this form must continue into next season to ensure the Clarets can look to establish themselves in the Premier League.

Burnley have now accomplished something that would have only been a pipe dream 10 or 15 years ago and testament must go to the Sean Dyche. The affectionately known ‘Ginger Mourinho’ is an extremely level-headed man, press conferences never deflect away from the truth nor does he use them to lambast officials, players or opposition. A careful and considered approach, with a clear conviction in his mind as to how the club can continue to achieve the goals he sets of them.

That being said, Burnley have somewhat limped over the line, with only two league wins since the beginning of February and some flat performances but that is being critical to an underserving level given the achievements of the boys this season.

There is now such a good feeling around Burnley Football Club and this season has helped to continue the growth of the club on all fronts. Burnley have gone from the longest serving Championship club to a team that can now truly call themselves a Premier League side.

Whilst still being a yo-yo club, Burnley can now look forward to their biggest summer transfer window in recent history with a sense of optimism, rather than trepidation. There will of course be some outgoings, as it looks certain Micheal Keane and Steven Defour will be leaving Turf Moor in the summer, with George Boyd and Scott Arfield likely to be close behind them.

I’m sure every Clarets fan will look back with jubilation on the past season, it has been an absolute pleasure watching Burnley Football Club defy the odds and hopefully this will continue to be the case.

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League One clubs sticking up for fans!

Football today is ruled by one thing, money. The top flight clubs seem to have it in abundance, yet some of them make the fans pay through the nose to support their club.

The fan is the little man, the smallest, yet most vital cog in the football machine. Without fans, the game would not exist, well not in its current form anyway. Bar a few clubs, ticket prices have generally sky rocketed over the past few seasons and have often been the causal factor in large numbers of debates and protests. I mean, who can forget the 77th minute protest by Liverpool fans at Anfield against Sunderland, which seemed like a brilliant idea at the time but was attributed as the main factor the Reds capitulated and dropped a 2 goal lead to draw the game.

All in all, fans are generally taken for granted, so it’s wonderful to see them being given something back for their long-standing commitment to the club they follow. Unfortunately, it is not one of the Premier League big boys forging the way in this matter, but two League One sides that have made football headlines in the last few days and all for the right reasons!

I’ve heard of a ‘kid for a quid‘ advertising before, where a child can get into the ground for a solitary pound if they are attending with a full paying adult. I must say, I have never heard of any fan being able to attend a game for £1. Until now. Up step Rochdale to hopefully change the way clubs think about generating interest and giving kids the opportunity to soak in some live football. It means that you could take the entire family, grab a pie and a drink for each person a
nd you’ll probably spend less than £25 based on a family of four. Phenomenal!

rochdale

The game in question is being played tonight and is against Port Vale, so if you’re in the local area get yourself down. I think this is such a big step forward and many clubs could learn from it. The additional interest and media discussion regarding Rochdale is helping the club become more recognisable, it should see a bumper crowd fill Spotland and hopefully will prove to be a long-term success.

The next League One side causing a stir for all the right reasons is Bradford City. The ex-Premier League club have been in and out of the limelight for some years, and not always for positive reasons. Being up north the cost of a season ticket, in theory, should be lower than down south, and this is purely based on average income of people in the relevant areas. However, Bradford City have not just set a reasonable price, they have effectively offered the opportunity to watch all of the home league games in the 2017/2018 season for around £6.50 per game, absolute madness!

bantams

It’s always important in remembering that taking stances like this allows many more people a way into football, to pay £149 for a season-ticket and therefore 23 league games, is brilliant. Almost any person will be able to afford such a ticket and this will therefore make the Bantams a much more accessible prospect, rather than face losing any support to either local rivals or any of the Premier League big boys.

Both of these schemes will hopefully boost attendances, and generate the next generation of staunch football fans. I’ve always been a firm believer that it is far better to have a higher attendance, as this gives the best chance to create a phenomenal atmosphere and think this should be done by keeping ticket prices as low as possible. Obviously, it is not possible for all teams to do this and for example, a League Two side would probably only see a negligible benefit by lowering the ticket price.

I am not naive enough to believe this sort of thing would be a long-term strategy but knowing these clubs are thinking of the fans and taking that into consideration gives you a little bit of hope, just when it seems to be dripping out of football.

There is very little else to say, other than ‘thank you‘ and ‘congratulations‘ to the Dale and Bantams boards respectively. Long may this continue and, hopefully, other clubs will take note of your example and begin to follow it.

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