Super, Super Kev McDonald!
SUPER Kev McDonald was the cry of 19,000 plus Clarets crammed into Turf Moor on Tuesday evening as Owen Coyle's Burnley sent Arsenal crashing out of the Carling Cup to progress to the Semi-Finals of the competition.
Who would have thought it?
After the woeful displays against Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town in the opening two games of the season, who would ever have predicted that the Clarets would be marching into the Carling Cup Semis after sending three Premier League teams out?
Round One of the tournament saw Coyle's Clarets travel to Gigg Lane to face Coca-Cola League Two side Bury, who were dispatched thanks to goals either side of half time from top scorer Martin Paterson, before a tricky home tie at Turf Moor against League One opposition Oldham Athletic, who were sent packing thanks to another Paterson double following Chris McCann's opener.
Round Three and in come the big boys from the Premier League, and straight away Burnley were paired with Roy Hodgson's Fulham, who travelled to East Lancashire only to crash out to an 88th minute goal from homegrown talent Jay Rodriguez, who rounded the Fulham keeper to slot the ball home and put Burnley's famous name in the hat for the Fourth Round.
The draw was made whilst I was at work (Burnley Football Club), coaching a group of Scottish youngsters who were on a day trip to the club courtesy of Mr Owen Coyle, and so my boss came running into the hall at the Turf Moor Leisure Centre, telling me we had drawn Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. What a cracking do. Coach places booked, tickets bought off we go. Eleven hours after setting off and we were boarding the coach ready to return home. The coach was literally rocking after Brian Jensen's heroics in a penalty shoot out had just seen Chelsea, one of the best teams in the world, beaten even with a near full strength side, by the Championship's little club, Burnley!
After that I had never heard as many people describing the club as 'we' and 'us'. Even people who didn't support the club said 'We played fantastic at Chelsea', it was a game that united the town. And then came the draw to face an Arsenal side who's youngsters had beaten Sheffield United six-nil in the Third Round before breezing past Wigan Athletic in the next.
But they were no match for Burnley, who now even have a range of sausages named after them in a local butchers shop!
The Sky cameras rolled up to Turf Moor on a very cold Tuesday evening, an evening which brought a close to a day of snow in the town, and so conditions around the ground were a little challenging to say the least!
All I had hoped for was the Clarets to show the world how they have been playing all season, fantastically well, because I don't think our performance at Barnsley the week before had done us justice infront of millions of watching eyes.
Kevin McDonald! I will say no more. After the Derby County game was won comfortably 3-0 with Big Mac getting his first goal in the Claret and Blue shirt, I said what a fantastic player he will be. And he is continuing to prove me and many others right, with a fantastic double that won us the game!
We are a fantastic town, with a fantastic football club and a fantastic team within that club, and now is the time to step up to the plate! We are two games away from a trip to Wembley! Can you believe it?
Imagine this... Manchester United beat Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday night at Old Trafford, and then Burnley draw Derby in the Semi-Finals. We beat Derby to face up against United at Wembley who have eliminated either Watford or Tottenham. We are automatically in the Uefa Cup before we have even got to Wembley, because if United win, they will be in the Champions League already meaning the spot will be passed to the runners up.