Away Days with HTSA
Burnley - Saturday, 23rd September 2017
Stadium: Turf Moor (22,546), 52-56 Harry Potts Way, Burnley, BB10 4BX
Nearest station: Burnley Central/Burnley Manchester Road
Last Season: 16th
Ticket office: 0871 221 1914
SLO: Harriet Harbidge (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DLO: Doug Metcalfe (email@example.com)
By Car: Follow signs for Towneley Hall from Junction 10 of the M65. You'll eventually pass the ground.
Parking: There are two main car parks near Turf Moor: one is located next to the ground at Burnley Cricket Club (BB10 4BN) and costs £6; the other is about 400 yards away on Doris Street (BB11 3DL), just off Belvedere Road, and costs £5.
By Train: There are two train stations within walking distance of Turf Moor. Burnley Central (BB11 1DA) is on the East Lancashire Line and is a twenty-minute walk from the ground. Manchester Road (BB11 1JZ) is slightly closer—about a fifteen-minute walk—and is on the Calder Valley Line, with regular express services to and from Manchester Victoria.
Pubs and grub
Burnley Cricket Club (BB10 4BN), which is situated conveniently next to the stadium, welcomes a mix of home and away supporters. It has a decent selection of beers and spirits, all at reasonable prices, and it has the added benefit of onsite parking.
The Queen Victoria (BB10 3EF) on Belvedere Road (ten-minute walk from the ground) is also popular with away fans, especially families with children. It’s a Brewers Fayre chain pub, so at least you’ll know what to expect, and the menu is varied and cheap enough to please just about everybody.
For those who prefer real ale, it’s worth heading to The Bridge Bier Huis (BB11 1UH), a free house in the centre of town. According to its website, The Bridge has been recognised by CAMRA “for the quality of its cask conditioned ales” and regularly appears in the Good Beer Guide. It also serves traditional pub food at what can only be described as bargain basement prices (i.e. steak and ale pie for £5.75, a cheese burger for £5.25 etc). Vegetarian options are available.
Inside the ground
Record Attendance: 54,775 v Huddersfield Town, FA Cup 3rd Round, 1924.
1. What are your thoughts about last season?
Having already enjoyed two previous seasons in the Premier League (2009/10 and 2014/15) and seen both end in relegation, I think there was only ever one target and that was to try and make it third time lucky with a season that ended with us 17th or higher in the league.
Half of the league proved to be very close with very few points separating them and had we won our last two games rather than lose them, we'd have been up in 8th or 9th place. But it was 16th and that has to be considered a very successful season for a club like ours in this league.
The season certainly had its highlights with the home win against Liverpool and the home draw against Chelsea top of the list while watching Jose Mourinho have a tantrum because Manchester United couldn't beat us at Old Trafford was good fun, more so when he was forced to watch the second half from the stand.
Throughout the season the home form was a massive positive with a total of ten wins including five in succession during December and January; the reverse was the away form which saw us win only once and that at Crystal Palace in the penultimate away fixture. There were a total of 14 defeats on the road although we deserved much better than the 2-1 losses at Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.
2. And your expectations for this season?
We're a club who have exceeded expectations for three of the last four seasons and that takes some doing, but having achieved safety this time round it is very likely that the supporters will be demanding the same again or probably better.
Obviously, we will need to do some squad strengthening again and it does seem each season that there is a demand to spend more money than in the previous season. We have broken our transfer record three times in the last year and I expect the current high of £13 million will probably be broken again.
I'm sure what we all want to see is a continuation of the team giving absolutely everything every game and, with a little bit more quality added, another good season battling to stay in the Premier League.
3. Who’s your key player?
The one thing about Burnley is it is very much a team effort and so there is probably not one key player in the team but eleven at any time of any game.
That doesn't mean we haven't had players who have stood out and you only need to look at our record from last season that most of those players will have come at the defensive end of the pitch.
Goalkeeper and captain Tom Heaton won the supporters' player of the year award but the two central defenders, Michael Keane and Ben Mee, weren't far behind in the vote. It was certainly our strength in 2016/17 and until the last three games the two central defenders played every game. They both missed the last three during which we conceded six goals.
Keane is a player who we were sad to see leave. He's been fantastic for us over the last two seasons and has proved exception value at £2 million.
4. What do you think about Huddersfield Town?
I started watching Burnley in the early 1960s when Huddersfield were in a lower league, so at the time, as an impressionable youngster, I didn't think much of them at all.
Now, I think they are a club very similar to ourselves, certainly in size and even the old Leeds Road ground had a resemblance to Turf Moor, particularly the terraced side opposite the main stand. Despite considering them similar, we haven't been in the same division very often over that sixty years so my visits to Leeds Road and the current ground have not been regular although I've always enjoyed my visits.
If you'd asked me about Huddersfield a year ago, I'd probably have suggested a fight against relegation in the Championship. I was at the John Smith's when we won 3-1 in March 2016. We played particularly well that day but I thought Huddersfield were disappointing and believed they and David Wagner might not be right together.
I couldn't have been more wrong could I? And now Huddersfield are in the Premier League and our two sides meet in the top flight for the first time since the 1970/71 season.
5. Is it safe to say that Burnley are an established Premier League team yet?
It's far from safe to believe we are established; we are far from that. I'm not sure what needs to be done to establish yourself in the Premier League but I remember Tony Pulis, when at Stoke, suggesting it took at least four years of continuous membership in the league.
For clubs of our size with no benefactor, it will always be a tough ask to stay in the league. We've won one of the three battles so far and next season will see battle number four. Am I confident we'll survive it? Yes I am, and, of course, with each season you stay up it does make you stronger financially. The money is no more than any other team in the league gets but it starts to give you an advantage over promoted teams and such.
I think you might get a surprise at just how good some of the teams are in this league. The gap is huge and while there are teams near the bottom of the league we can compete with, those at the top are often in a different world. It was no surprise to me that Chelsea and Spurs took the top two places. Chelsea were, I think, the best team we played away from home last season and if they were bettered at Turf Moor then it was by Spurs. Both are fantastic sides and so, so very difficult to play against.
If we are still here in a year's time then we will be a step closer to being established. I'm not sure we've even seen the top of the staircase yet.