Welcome back to the big time, Burnley
It’s been a while since Burnley last enjoyed top flight success but fans of the Lancashire club can dream once more after winning promotion to the Premier League on Monday, beating Sheffield United 1-0 at Wembley.
Founding members of the Football League in 1888, Burnley, join Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City as next season’s new boys, replacing relegated West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United.
Burnley’s success will please more than a few neutrals.
Manager Owen Coyle’s team have received praise all season for their good football and have regularly caught the headlines in the domestic cups, beating no fewer than four Premier League sides including Chelsea and Arsenal and reaching the League Cup semi-finals.
A long time has passed since Burnley’s glory days, the second league championship in 1960 and a place in the European Cup quarter-finals the following year, and it’s probably no surprise that bookmakers hardly gave the players time to enjoy a post-match glass of champagne before slapping them odds-on for relegation next season.
But Coyle need only look at Hull City, who received similar treatment a year ago from the bookies. Not many would have imagined that Middlesbrough and Newcastle’s long stay in the top flight would end thanks to Hull’s outstanding early-season form.
No-one is safe. Good luck Burnley.
PHOTO: Burnley’s Steven Caldwell (L) lifts the trophy as teammates celebrate after their English Championship play-off final soccer match victory against Sheffield United at Wembley Stadium in London May 25, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis