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Premier League? You're having a laugh

Premier League? You're having a laugh
The fallout to Burnley's defeat against Wolves at home last Saturday coupled with Hull City's dismissal of Phil Brown this week has left Cuban Claret a little disenfranchised with the 'at all costs' existence of the Premier League.

Turn the clock back to this time last year and the thrill of the closing stages of a magnificent Championship campaign.

Cuban wrote the following article for the When the Ball Moves...Magazine but missed the deadline.

He unearths it here instead, simply for a bit of respite and a bit of reflection on what is becoming an increasingly bitter Premier League experience.

Premier League? You're having a laugh

THERE was plenty goodwill being thrown in Burnley's direction when the pundits picked their play-off contenders pre-season.

More than anything, it was probably the landing of Chris Eagles that made Premier League-obsessed hacks take notice of us.

And isn't it ironic (in an Alanis Morrisette kind of way?) that our regular substitute made no. 13 in FourFourTwo Magazine's 42's Top 50 Players in the Championship.

Robbie Blake, consistently one of the top 10 Championship players for a decade, wasn't mentioned!

But with the Championship season grinding to its usual gripping climax, here we are, like many predicted, 'there or thereabouts'. On the cusp at a crack at reaching the 'Promised Land.' Anything other than a fairly dramatic implosion should see us make the top six. But we only need to look at the five straight defeats after Christmas to remind ourselves what can so easily happen.

Ten points from our last six matches will leave us on 75, and match our previous record Championship tally. Only in that season (2001/02) was this total an insufficient one to reach the play-offs.

It was the super slick football we conjoured up at Coventry as far back as October that convinced me we were a top six side. Any other recent season I'm sure the amount of cup games would have scuppered this notion, and I guess they still might come to bear over the final strains of the season but frankly, it's hardly a hardship if we don't make the play-offs and we shouldn't get our knickers twisted if we pull up short.

Truth is, in so many ways, I couldn't care less if we do or don't go up.

Maybe being weaned on lower league football is part of the problem. I feel conditioned to watch football at real football grounds and follow a team that can compete. We're about where we should be, indeed a little higher. Let's not get greedy, it could wreck everything.

Watching Burnley this season has been so pleasurable in context of my 25 or so years following the club that I want more of the same. I'd like to see Owen Coyle and his young charges develop and get better; see Kevin McDonald and Jay Rodriguez blossom as young starlets in the Championship. In a perfect world, the Burnley born and bred descendent of a Spaniard would be Burnley's Steve Bull, a one club man who'd notch 250 goals in 475 appearances! Sure, we can continue to scalp Premiership teams in the cups but every week. We shouldn't forget it's better to win at Plymouth than lose at Portsmouth, to outclass Preston rather than doggedly resist Stoke.

Better to marvel over sustained success for our team at the right end of the Championship than approach it with the sole objective of avoiding demotion from where we came.

The Premiership is a crude league where myths are made and predictability is rife. It's very difficult not to really dislike nearly everyone in it. Just look at Blackburn, perishing in Premiership purgatory, hating their football almost as much as everyone hates them. Their most creative players benched and their talented young forward loaned out to Greece. OK, so Owen Coyle won't tell his players to boot the ball at the moon but a genuine attempt at survival will come at a cost. Many of the current fifteen who have slogged their guts out for us over 55 odd games would need to be sacrificed. And for what? Marlon King and Scott Carson on loan.

And we'd play less games. 38 instead of 46. What kind of season is that? We'd do well to win a quarter of our home games. Misery most weeks walking past IDIOTS on the coaches from Tottenham, Arsenal, Devon Red Devils, Wigan(!) Liverpool. Proper idiots. The Big Four ? 6-0-6. Spoony. Alan Green. Alan Shearer. Steve Claridge. Jamie feckin Redknapp. IDIOTS. Just for one minute imagine sitting through The Last Word with Andy Gray analysing Clarke Carlisle's defending?

There's a school of thought suggesting this has to be this season. It's now or never. This year or we'll lose the manager to Bolton. The team will break up. We have proved this season, in Owen's words, we can go toe-to-toe with the best. Such a philosophy has been undertaken by Tony Mowbray and it will last for one underwhelming season punctuated with small joy. Nobody should kid themselves that West Brom have had a more enjoyable season than Burnley.

The Premiership gauges out on the most appropriate cliche. 'The grass is always greener'. I would like us to get there, of course. But only because of this season. Not the next one. For the chairman. For Robbie Blake. And for Graham Alexander. For the rest of us, it would be better to wait. Best league in the world? We're already in it.

Cuban Claret

Date:Wednesday March 17 2010
Time: 1:08PM


So much I hate about the Prem, the money, the TV rights and the messing about with the fixtures, the ticketing fiasco and the hassle getting tickets, the deluded belief that you might beat Liverpool at Anfield, the deluded belief that if you beat Man U at home all will be well etc etc...and YET and YET 33 years to get back and play in the most prestigious league in Europe, be mentioned every week in the papers, see the Town on the map, drink and banter with Man City fans instead of Preston fans? Like everything else pros and cons but I guess from my way of thinking playing in the big boys league is still preferable than freezing your nads off at Plymouth!
17/03/2010 13:14:00
Up until this season I had lost practically all interest in the premier league, largely because of the silly money situation - where's it all going to end etc. etc. I remember talking to Preston and Wolves fans last season with the general concensus being 'is it worth going up to be tuned every Saturday ?' My answer at the time was that it would be worth it just to get a slice of the money if nothing else and also to see . . . just to see. Well is has been worth it , and the results against Utd , Everton, Sunderland etc. , not to mention some of the performances even in matches we lost, such as OT and Chelsea have all made it worthwhile and have added good memories to an already long list. I really do hope we stay up, but I don't have a problem with the Championship at all , especially as I think we'd be contenders there without a doubt. And then we'll be back and all the wiser.
17/03/2010 14:25:00
I had a conversation with Cuban before the Derby game last year, which is probably about the same time this was written. It is a good article, as per usual, and I agree with most of what is written. I wasnt sure I wanted to be in the Premiership although the thrill of achieving promotion was an absolute dream. I have thoroughly enjoyed this year and the way we have gone about trying to compete but for a variety of reasons - I will not be too upset if we have to wave it goodbye.
17/03/2010 15:23:00
Turfman - I wish you hadn't brought Plymouth up! If we do go down, it looks highly unlikely that either of my local teams (Plymouth and Southampton) will be there to greet us! But there'll still be Bristol, and maybe Swindon if they could sneak past Leeds (Come on!), and Portsmouth and Cardiff if they don't get liquidated.
Couch Potato
17/03/2010 16:39:00
Having had a taste of thr premier League and being able to watch all our away matches live on the pc and the home ones that we havent got to. I will be gutted if we go down (and its looking that way) to be amongst the elite best teams top league in Europe if not the World Burnley has become a household name again in the football world The best teams and players coming to Turf moor I havent seen the like for 33 years so be proud we lived to see it lads. If I have to wait another 33 years I may be dead or far to old to go to watch Burnley play. So lets be proud of where we are now and what this little club have achieved If we go down there will be tears. But Our dream lives on.
Grimsby Claret
17/03/2010 17:54:00
burnley come
17/03/2010 17:55:00
Really interesting this Cubes. I have mixed feelings about the Premier League. Positives include the fact that we're playing at the top level, have a lot more press coverage and, I suspect, promotion pacified the bank manager. Against that, we've struggled for points, tickets are no longer guaranteed and there haven't been as many midweek games under lights. I hope we don't go down and we still might not - but if we do it won't change my love of the club in any shape or form.
17/03/2010 18:59:00
This article was written in the relative euphoria of a promotion challenge but I'm sure if we are relegated I'll be as gutted as the next person. I recall that feeling of an exciting season in the Championship being second to none - as it is free of the pretension that exists in the Prem. I still feel there's an adventure in store in these closing weeks - but feel a sense of perspective is somehow being lost in the anguish of it all.
17/03/2010 19:01:00
Spot on Matt
17/03/2010 20:20:00
Yep nice one CC I have taken my mind set back to last season a bonus if we go up a bonus if we stay up! we will no doubt be better off than we were whichever league we are in.
17/03/2010 20:56:00
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