Ahead of what seems like the graveyard shift for our first match up after the international break, TEB had a chat with Dan from THE CRICKET FIELD END about the last campaign, hopes for this season and much more.
Q. The last campaign was quite an odd one as things go but how did you rate it from a Burnley perspective?
I must say it was definitely a strange one. Silent stadiums, no fans, no atmosphere apart from broadcasters attempt of crowd noise. It was very surreal but overall I think we performed well. It is always going to be hard at Burnley to play without that roaring Turf Moor crowd but I think for us, we achieved our main aim of staying in the Premier League.
Q. How are fans feeling about the season ahead and what are the expectations?
Going off our start to the campaign, friends, family and general fan concensus is that this season is going to be as long and as drawn out as COVID. We started with practically half of our first team players injured, valuable team members left at the end of their contracts and with our current situation strained at boardroom level, it is clear to see that things off the pitch are potentially having an effect on it. Said it before and I’ll say it again. For me, it’s still about staying in the division as much as we’ve punched above our means, year on year. This year is going to be a massive test for us and I think if we do manage to stay up with that steely Sean Dyche grit, it will certainly be by the skin of our teeth.
Q. How active were Burnley in the transfer window and are there any areas that will need attention in January?
A. What?! There’s been a transfer window?? I wish somebody would have said haha!! Our activity in the summer window was ABYSMAL, I say it in capitals to emphasise how awful it truly was. Two incomings in the shape of (based on a fully fit squad) Dale Stephens, a fourth choice central midfielder who we wanted to sign four years prior and the player wanted to leave Brighton (then in the Championship) by handing a transfer request in. Four years too late in my opinion because what we have seen of him so far is nothing short of bang average. Our second big money signing of the window, pffft… Will Norris, a third choice goalkeeper from Wolves who spent last season on loan at Ipswich in League One. Where do we need to strengthen you ask?? All over the park. It’s looking likely we are to lose James Tarkowski in January so a centre back will be of massive importance. I’d love us to sign a right midfielder and a pacey forward. Talks of a takeover are ongoing so let’s see if we can fulfill my preference of positions, pleaseeeeeee Burnley FC!!
Q. Even though Sean Dyche has been an advocate of VAR, even he must be questioning its implementation and use in the Premier League?
I don’t see how he can’t question the way it is used. The game we once loved and loathed has been turned into a viper pit for the cash cow. Rules are being chopped and changed every season. Handball used to mean handball, a strikers toenail wouldn’t have any adverse effect on the offside rule. It’s farcical. Dyche obviously can see it working to some degree, but its common use was to stamp out diving and the obvious flaws in our game, not make pivotal choices on is it a goal, isn’t it, checking goals for the slightest of things. It’s a joke, like does any ref even check the pitchside monitor anymore??
Q. We are keen to see young players coming through the ranks here at TEB so is there anyone that we should keep an eye on who could make the breakthrough into the Burnley first eleven?
There are a few players that ideally to fulfill our team sheet have had to fast track their way to the Premier League. We have from our U23’s, Bobby Thomas who is a centre back, Anthony Glennon, a left back, Josh Benson and Mace Goodridge in central midfield and Max Thompson and Joel Mumbongo up front who have all made the bench due to our dwindling numbers in the squad. I hope after seeing him in the early stages of this season that centre back Jimmy Dunne gets a chance. In the games he had played he had shown maturity which I feel he would have gained from his many loan moves. Obviously Dwight McNeil has emerged as a first name on the team sheet, so it’s now to look for that next talent and I hope we can unearth a gem very soon.
Q. Let’s have some predictions from you for the season;
Premier League Champions – Tottenham Hotspur
Champions League spots – Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea.
Relegated – Fulham, West Brom, Brighton
Surprise package – Aston Villa
FA Cup – Manchester City.
League Cup – Leicester City.
Q. A fully loaded question but what are your thoughts on the return of fans to games this season, pay-per-view, Project Big Picture and the European Premier League?
I’m more suprised you’ve managed to get all that into one question!!
Obviously, the return of fans to stadiums this season has to happen in my opinion. Bums on seats for clubs especially in the lower divisions is pivotal to their survival as a club/business. Providing it can be agreed and the correct measures are in place with the regulations of the current situation then I don’t see why it shouldn’t be happening.
Pay-Per-View…what a joke. What’s all that about really? Some fans are struggling financially in these current times and are still paying direct debits for a season ticket they are not using and it’s not just small figures we are talking about either. After all the money that is distributed across the Premier League, a more subtle approach for the paying fans and television package subscribers is the best way forward.
Not much to say on Project Big Picture, it was clearly a bullying antic from the big clubs in the Premier League and I am happy it was squished early doors. It’s a similar one with the European Premier League. The fat cats within the bigger sides in football just can’t get enough of the smell of money, it’s clear that was the motivation for that. Teams like Burnley or Palace can be on television as it is and they still spend the match preview talking about Pogba or how Liverpool’s defensive crisis is a major talking point. Don’t want to see a more in depth analysis of a European League, I mean for starters, that’s why we have a Champions League.
Q. What do you make of Palace ahead of the new season?
I must say its been a good start for you guys, sat in 8th with 8 games gone. Your demolition of Leeds was a stupendous performance and one that came at a good time going into the International break. Hopefully you’re too rested and we perform on matchday but every year Roy Hodgson pulls out some magic and gets you guys playing some good attacking football. Certainly makes for a good game this coming Monday evening.
Q. Name one player from each team that you believe will be a threat to the opposition in this match.
We are a slow, tiring, old team so you can’t look past Zaha for Palace. If you can alienate McNeil and get forward via the pathway of Zaha then you’ll win this game comfortably. A player from our team, now that’s a challenge. If he’s played in the centre of the park then I have to give it to Josh Brownhill, when pushed out to the right we lack the flair and creativity to a degree in our midfield but playing in the middle, he’s different gravy.
Q. …and finally, your all important prediction?
Well, well, well…this is tough. You don’t know whether your gonna get a battling Burnley performance or a hell hole of wasted talent at the minute. Will I take a point? I’d snap your hand off for it now but we need to get going, get points on the board. Its got a 1-0 written on it in my opinion. To whom, I cannot fathom. COME ON BURNLEY!!!!!