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Monday, May 23, 2011

QPR Report Interview: The Burnley Perspective

January 11, 2011


Profound thanks to www.burnley.vitalfootball.co.uk Vital Football Burnley Editor, Phil for offering his very insightful perspective re Burnley Football Club.

How long have you supported Burnley? And how long have you been involved with the Vital Burnley www.burnley.vitalfootball.co.uk Website? (How do you get on with the other Burnley fan sites: Are there any serious inter-Burnley Messageboard conflicts (as there certainly are between certain QPR boards)?

I am now 56 so well over 40 years as a Clarets fan. I joined VB in 2005 as a Co-ed and became it’s editor about a couple of years later. Messageboard rivalry? Tell me about it. in order to preserve my sanity these days, I simply avoid any mention of the rival boards and just focus on Vital Burnley. I still find it mildly amusing that the other boards still try to have their digs about me and my site from time to time. It must annoy them terribly that I don't respond on my own site! I think I have been banned on the others anyway not that I even bother looking these days.

Which club is viewed as Burnley's primary rival? Bolton or Blackburn? Is it a mild dislike or a viceral hatred? (and do they feel the same way about Burnley)?

There has been a terrible rivalry and hatred between Blackburn Rovers and Burnley since about the 1880s. We affectionately call them ‘Bastards’(Listen to the No Nay never song) and we get called dingles and six-fingered mutants in return. All laughable really! Derby games between the two though are a major,major headache for the Police. In the Prem last season, Burnley and Blackburn fans could only travel to the away games on specially laid on coaches.! Even Burnley fans living in Blackburn had to travel to Burnley to catch the coach back to Blackburn,it’s that bad!

Bolton were never on the ‘hatred’ radar until Owen Coyle jumped ship and stabbed us in the back last January. The hatred now though is more aimed at Coyle than Bolton and that hatred will never be on the same scale as Rovers. Preston normally take up the mantle in the Championship but even that is tame in comparison to Blackburn.

I normally ask in these Q&As, "What do you think of your current manager?" However in your case, that's a little difficult! (Although by the time you respond, there could be an appointment!) So What DID you think of BRian Laws (and his various predecessors especially of course, Owen Coyle).

Brian Laws really did get the poison chalice after Coyle left but the Board were at fault big-time for making him the manager. He had no experience in the Premier League and indeed looked to be a failure at Championship level after being sacked by Sheffield Wednesday only a month before. The club also issued a really daft statement to justify his appointment based on an accountants report from ‘Dolittle & Spend Nowt’ saying Laws had a good record of winning games in the Championship on a low budget which was crazy since we were a Prem club at the time! It just looked like penny-pinching with no ambition and we paid the price with relegation although any manager would have found it hard to keep us up. Even then Clarets fans were willing to give Laws a chance in the Championship but most felt deep down he just didn’t have the charisma to take us forward and he constantly looked out-of-his-depth in the dugout. The fans in sizeable numbers began to boo the gaffer and his days were numbered.

What do you think of the current Burnley Chairman and Board of Directors? Why are they involved with Burnley? What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more? (I'm old enough to remember Bob Lord, the autocratic Chairman who ran Burnley, regardless of what Fans thought - and sold off players such as Dobson, James, Thomas)

I fall between two stools on this one! There is no doubt Barry Kilby & Co have been good for this club in general terms but I just think they have lacked enough ambition when it really mattered. We could have easily spent a bit more in the Prem last season to try and keep up. We made £14.4 million profit, so without going mad a la Pompey/Hull we could have spent say £7 million or so on a couple of decent players. Had we still gone down, we could have sold them on at a profit! Had we stayed up we would now be reaping the benefits of £90 million/year with gates averaging over £20,000. Instead of that we are now relying on £45 million parachute over four years with gates dropping back down to about 14,000. We could have missed our biggest chance of ditching the ‘pleading poverty’ lark for years to come and now we have to do it all over again before the parachute money runs out. We have recently made some changes to the Board and whittled the size down to five Directors. The good thing is that they are all Burnley fans to a man but I just wonder sometimes if that is more an hindrance than advantage and leads to a small-town mentality approach when we need someone really without the emotional attachment to make more calculated risks.

Are you disappointed How are Burnley doing this season? In your heart of hearts, did you really expect promotion this season? Do you expect to improve?

In all honesty I am disappointed after a season in the top flight. We were fancied as one of the automatic promotion contenders pre-season and now we are just one of many average teams fighting for a play-offs spot. I did think this could happen though but if we don’t at least reach the play-offs this season, that will be seen as failure. Even Kilby said that recently!

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

Our defence is shocking at the moment particularly in the centre and at left back. That's the area of weakness you will no doubt exploit on Saturday. Jack Cork, the on-loan midfielder from Chelsea is a cut above the rest and is a handful for any team. Chris Eagles too on the wing is getting back to form. Lee Grant has not kept a clean sheet since replacing Jensen back in October and that continues to be a worry

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction?

I have moved Burnley down from automatic promotion to play-offs (just). Not sure we could do the Wembley thing again though! QPR despite the recent inconsistency have probably done enough to secure automatic promotion unless you go on a really bad run. Difficult to say who will get the second automatic promotion spot but I think it will be a club from Wales. Relegation? Well all Clarets fans will be hoping one club will be Preston and they look almost doomed now despite Phil Brown coming on board. Although Sc**thorpe embarrassed Burnley at home recently, a defeat that led to the demise of Laws, I still think they will struggle to stay up. My surprise tip for the drop is Sheffield United. They look a shadow of their former self at the moment and even we managed to beat them 4-2!

What is your view and the general Burnley view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness)? Over the years: A few shared players including of course Dave Thomas and Leighton James (and Clarke Carlisle and Arthur Gnohere)

I enjoyed my first visit to Loftus Road this season although came away disappointed we only got a point in the end. I have always been impressed with Neil Warnock too, wish he was our manager at this moment in time! He certainly knows about attacking play and always has this cunning plan to sign up all the strikers so the rest of us don’t get a look in!! . I don’t really have any strong views about QPR (Good or bad) and probably speak for most Clarets fans but I do wish you well for the rest of the season after Saturday of course

I think back to QPR and Burnley of the early and mid-1970s: Burnley with Jimmy Adamson and the "Team of the 1970s" - There was a certain rivalry between the two clubs in the early 1970s...Two progressive clubs small, playing good football.

I come from the generation that remembers the Burnley Team of the Seventies too (yeah OK not quite Mr Adamson) and was gutted when you got Dave Thomas off us! Best season for me and I am no doubt you will remember it was 1972-73 when of course we came up as Division 2 champions and you joined us as runners-up. What a season! Made up for you getting Thomas that season! I remember you being a great side back then playing attacking football and you took three points off us as well 1-1 at Turf,2-0 to you at Loftus I think

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past Burnley-QPR Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? Ditto any view of Neil Warnock?

See comments above re Neil Warnock. He used to be the Burnley hate figure in the Stan Ternent days (they had some sort of barney as well) and some bright spark came up with the anagram ‘Colin Wanker’. You must have been fed up with us during our promotion season of 2008-9, we played you four times, got the double over you in the league and knocked you out the FA Cup via a replay at Turf Moor. I was particularly pleased with our 1-0 home league win against you that season at a crucial time over Easter.

You have had some great players over the years. Taarabt is the one to fear currently, keep him quiet, QPR are quiet! I have to go back though to your team of the seventies Rodney Marsh of course rolls off the tongue Stan Bowles was another. Don’t really recall any Rs player getting up my nose although Marsh does now!! lol

We've both had narrow by the teeth survival - QPR were in administration and in the (old) Third Division...Burnley were in the (old) Fourth Division and just managed to stay in the football League. Do you think that gives a certain sense of perspective re the importance of success vs Failures versus just surviving?

Yes, I think you have hit the nail on the head. We are both traditional clubs with traditional style grounds deep in the heart of town and share a similar history as you say. Been there done that but I certainly don’t want to go through that again!
Are you looking forward to playing QPR?
Always like playing the better clubs, losing aint that painful then and winning is so much more rewarding! Getting stuffed by Sc**thorpe recently after beating Man U at home in the Prem sums things up for me this season.


Will be a tough.close game. Burnley will shade it 2-1 though, sorry!

Where, realistically, do you think Burnley will be in five years time?

It has to be in the Premier League as I will be drawing a pension in about five years time! We will need more financial balls this time round though. I hope we are as I am sick and tired of mid-table mediocrity in the Championship. I don’t see why with the parachute payments we shouldn’t be able to build a squad that is capable of getting promoted and if the likes of Stoke & Wigan can get up and stay up then we should be able to do so as well.

Many thanks again to Vital Burnley (www.burnley.vitalfootball.co.uk) Editor, Phil. Great comments!

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