I don’t know why we decided to go to Burnley on Valentines Day in 2009, but one things for sure… I fell in love with watching other teams! Probably because Bolton were under the reigns of Gary Megson at the time!
On our way to Turf Moor, Dad and I didn’t have a clue what to expect, but I was very excited. I had watched Burnley beat teams such as Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal in the League Cup about a month prior to visiting so I knew about their manager – The God himself, Owen Coyle – and their in form striker Martin Paterson.
We arrived in Burnley at around 13:00, and chose to park at neighbouring Burnley Cricket Club, which is situated directly behind the David Fishwick Stand at Turf Moor. Parking cost us £3, but only after the parking attendant came to the conclusion we weren’t supporting Wolves. He obviously charges more if you are an away supporter!
After getting to Turf Moor far quicker than we expected, we proceded to purchase our tickets from the Ticket Office. We chose to sit in the cheapest area of the stadium – Jimmy McIlroy Stand Upper – and it came to £29 for an adult and a child. The exit from the Ticket Office was a strategic one, as you had to exit through the club shop! Where were we? Old Trafford?!
We decided to have a stroll around the stadium to keep ourselves warm. Along the way we met a couple of interesting characters. First of all, the programme seller who didn’t seem happy when I came to him whilst he was eating his hotdog. The programme cost £3. Then an old woman approached us, trying to sell her ‘Golden Gamble’ tickets. My dad said “No thanks.” To which she then replied in a very patronising tone “Well, you’ve got to be in it to win it!
The walk around the stadium was a long, tedious process. So after two walks around Turf Moor, the turnstiles finally opened, and we went in. We were the first people in the stadium, and my first impressions were very good. It was a typically Northern setting for a football match. You could see the Lancastrian hills around Burnley, old chimneys which still stand, and of course… the grey clouds!
INTERESTING FACT – The stadium has a total capacity of 22,546, which is one seat for every three inhabitants of the town, no other league team has such a high ratio.
Situated to my left was The Bob Lord Stand, which has a capacity of just under 4,000. The stand houses executive lounges, dugouts and a trophy room. Built in 1974 it is named after Bob Lord, the former chairman. The stand has wooden seating… which to a young lad like me was a complete shock.
To my right was the largest stand at Turf Moor. The James Hargreaves Stand, which opened in 1996. The stand holds 8,154 spectators over two tiers. The television gantry is located in this stand along with the media area.
Straight in front of me was The David Fishwick Stand, which is the oldest current stand at Turf Moor. It was constructed in 1969 and backs onto the pavilion of Burnley Cricket Club. The away fans are usually given all of this stand. Like the Bob Lord Stand it has wooden seats.
We were sat in the Jimmy McIlroy Stand Upper. We chose to sit here as it had the cheapest tickets – due to it being the family area. The view was fantastic!
Burnley at the time were sponsored by Hollands Pies, and I have a theory that they had vents which poured pie odour into the stands. So in the end we cracked, and bought two Hollands pies.
The ground was very empty, until 10 minutes before kick off. It then filled to the brim… well our section did anyway. An old woman sat down next to my dad, she then went right into his face and asked “Is he not here this week then?!”…. “Sorry?” my dad replied. She then wrongly informed us that we were in a season ticket holders seat. To cut a long story short, nobody on our row had a clue where we were meant to be sitting, so we came to the conclusion that we were right.
Going into the fixture Wolves were top of the league and Burnley were chasing a play-off position.
It was the visiting team that started off the match better with Karl Henry having a shot from 20 yards out. However the Wolves pressure was short lived when on just 6 minutes Burnley took the lead. Wade Elliott fired the ball into the area and found Chris McCann who finished brilliantly past Wayne Hennessey in the Wolves net.
Wolves continued to pile pressure on the Burnley defence. Luckily for the Clarets, Brian Jensen – or the ‘Beast’ – was in inspired form and kept out shots from Matt Jarvis and Michael Kightly.
Sylvain Ebanks-Blake had gone into the match in impressive form and he nearly added to his goal tally when his free kicked curled just wide of the post.
Burnley defender Steven Caldwell was unlucky not to double the Lancastrian sides lead when he was denied twice by Hennessey.
The Wolves defence had fallen asleep and Burnley wasted another good opportunity when Wade Elliott headed over Robbie Blakes cross.
Half time arrived, allowing both sets of players to have a rest before what proved to be a frantic second half.
Martin Paterson had a number of chances, and fluffed each and every single one of them. We sat there wondering how this man was top of the Championship goalscoring charts. He was awful!
As Paterson continued to frustrate the Burnley faithful the match turned into a physical contest as both teams were guilty of giving away free-kicks. Wolves had a number of free kicks on the edge of the box, but were unable to test Jensen in the Burnley goal.
The match ended, much to the relief of many jubilant Burnley fans.
I really enjoyed my trip to Burnley and will return sometime in the future.
“They are all vital three-points in the Championship but having said that, we were fully deserving of the three-points” – Owen Coyle, Burnley manager.
“It is a young squad and I have no doubt that they have lost confidence. Sometimes it takes a lucky break to get back on top but you have to earn that luck” – Mick McCarthy, Wolves manager.
- DISTANCE TRAVELLED TO GROUND: 34 miles
- PROGRAMME PRICE: £3