Date:Sunday June 7 2009
Clarets fans have of course been rejoicing since the 25th May when we finally achieved Nirvana by beating the Blades at Wembley in the Championship Play-Offs Final.
Our return to the top flight has perhaps overshadowed another aspect of promotion this time affecting our Reserve team.
Burnley Reserves were of course Champions of the totesport.com League West Divisions this season but the title itself does not offer any promotions.
Due to the success of the first team though the Reserve team too have now also got automatic promotion.
They will play in the Barclays Premier Reserve League (North) next season and have some juicy home games to look forward to against the second-string sides from Blackburn, Bolton, Everton, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Sunderland and Wigan(subject to confirmation)
The Clarets second-string will continue to play their home games at Accrington Stanley's ground providing the club can sort out their financial difficulties. Accrington Stanley only last week were issued with winding up proceedings over an outstanding £300,000 tax bill.
However the Reserves matches both home and away could be an exciting prospect for Clarets fans considering the Premier League first team players that could be on show if for example they are returning from injury and need to get some competitive games under their belt. Right then who will now be praying that someone crops Rooney et al? Imagine one of our young guns having to defend against Fernando Torres? Now that would be a baptism of fire!
I come from the old school that can remember reserve games back in the 60s and 70s, when it was not uncommon for the second-string games to attract regular gates of 5-10,000! In those days of course, life was simpler, we played them every other Saturday at Turf Moor when the first team were playing away.
We wont of course reach those sort of levels next season and will probably never see those sort of gates ever again but there should be a significant improvement over last season playing the likes of Bury, Morecambe and Tranmere.
In 2008-9 the Barclays Premier Reserve League (North) average gate was about 500 although one match between Liverpool and Manchester United did attract over 10,000 fans in 2007-8.
It would be interesting to know what sort of gates we would attract for Reserve matches at Turf Moor but Accrington though is not a million miles away and with the club keeping all the gate receipts we could be helping Stanley financially as well.
Burnley are certainly providing a better service to Clarets fans than Blackburn do for their fanbase.They have to hike up to Morecambe to see their 'home' reserve matches!
So who will be seeing more Reserve games next season? I know I would be if I lived locally.
Date:Sunday June 7 2009
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