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Cuban Claret Reflects on Rovers Match




Penalty Scandal takes Burnley to the Brink

BURNLEY have one foot dangling back in the Championship after a scandalous penalty decision turned the destiny of the 168th East Lancashire derby in the favour of Blackburn Rovers.

Given the way the Clarets' fortunes have faltered since Owen Coyle ditched his club at the altar of a promising fledgling season in the top flight,there was a sense of weary predictability that the outcome of this match would hinge on such a controversial incident.

Having had a 'goal' chalked off for offside two minutes earlier, Blackburn's Martin Olsson went to ground under the force of a phantom foul so difficult to discern that referee Mike Dean did not even know who had committed it. That was the reason he gave to Sam Allardyce for sending off neither Tyrone Mears nor Brian Jensen.

You really couldn't make it up.

It is fair to say though, despite Olsson's cheating,that the points were taken by the better team on the day.The visitors were organised, disciplined and the more focused side throughout,a true image of a manager many Rovers supporters wanted sacked a few short months ago. And in the versatile Olsson, they had the game's outstanding player.

Typical too that Burnley would save it until now,our 15th home game in the league,to draw a blank.

Again, Blackburn's impressive defensive unit,in which Gael Givet was particularly commanding,gave our attacking players little to feed off. With a lead to defend,the Rovers men repeatedly put their bodies on the line and the Clarets lacked the liquidity in attack prevalent in the recent past.

Brian Laws opted for naming the same team that performed well at Wigan. Fair enough on paper, but this line-up was more suited to containment rather that creativity. At home in a must-win game,it was all to easy for the visitors to get on the front foot.In this observer's opinion, it was folly not to play Robbie Blake.

After some encouraging early exchanges where David Nugent looked to have the better of the ageing Miguel Salgado down Burnley's left flank,Rovers countered with a couple of enticing set-pieces on the edge of Burnley's penalty box but Morten Pedersen twice could only find the Burnley wall while Jensen looked vulnerable. The Burnley 'keeper was alert to thwart the slippery Olsson with a save at his feet before the same player hit the back of the net but was flagged for offside.

Allardyce contested this decision afterwards but television pictures were not conclusive.

No matter. Two wrongs don't make a right and there is no doubt that Mike Dean,who memorably refereed Burnley's play-off final with Sheffield United (waving away two strong penalty appeals from our opponents that day ironically enough),got the game's defining decision horribly wrong.

David Dunn nailed the penalty right into Jensen's top right hand corner.

While the deflation in the stands was palpable,the visiting fans appeared to be enjoying the rarity of a 2,000+ away day out.

A decent Burnley move saw Paterson and Fletcher combine well to play in Elliott but he was upended crudely by Christoper Samba for which the big defender was instantly yellow carded. The offence occured right on the edge of the penalty box and had a penalty been given, there could have been no argument, but a free-kick it was and Rovers cleared the resulting danger.

Burnley's best opportunity of the half fell to Leon Cort three minutes before half-time when Alexander cleverly picked him out from a free-kick.The lanky defender controlled the ball smartly on his chest before angling a shot narrowly wide.

It was the last chance of a disappointing half which ended with an injury to Stephen Jordan, who was replaced by Danny Fox at left-back.

Burnley showed much more urgency at the start of the second half, typified when Fletcher scampered after an under-hit back pass only for Brown to deny him. Paterson turned a shot into Brown's arms after good work by Mears before being replaced by Robbie Blake.

Kevin McDonald was becoming the game's most influential central midfielder as Dunn visibly faded.On the hour the young Scot produced a wonderful sliding tackle in the middle of the park before tee-ing up Fletcher but he failed to get a decent shot away.

A goal at the other end was just as likely, however, as play stretched from end to end. From an uncleared free-kick,Olsson struck a terrific shot off the underside of the bar from the edge of the penalty box. Jones was first to the follow-up but the young defender headed wide.

With Chris Eagles on the pitch in place of Alexander,Burnley were going for broke but time and again our defensive line failed to hold firm and Olsson did well to collect a through-ball before bringing a fine reaction save from Jensen.

Into the last five minutes and Burnley had a wonderful chance to equalise when Blake showed great poise in the penalty box before playing a clever pass for the overlapping Fox to fire in a perfect ball for either Elliott or Fletcher to nudge home. But it was Samba who deflected the ball just out of reach of both Burnley men, only for the hapless Dean to award a goal-kick.

By the time the fourth official showed five minutes of extra time it appeared that all hope had been eviscerated from the Burnley supporters. I could never recall such a significant amount of added time given such short shrift from a such a fixture of importance.

Belief cannot easily be manufactured and the reality of our predicament is hitting home now but we should still feel pride,albeit wounded, t what we have achieved over the past couple of seasons. We have done it with honesty and without risking the fiscal health of the club and if we return to the Championship sooner than hoped,as looks likely, then we return there stronger for the experience.

Defeat to our nearest doesn't change anything about the affection for our dearest. UTC.

Cuban Claret
The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday March 31 2010

Time: 10:06AM

Your Comments

How many of the 19,000 fans including the new found fair weather fans jumping on the Prem bandwagon do you think will have enjoyed the experience enough this season to support the Clarets in the Championship should we go down ?
turfmanphil
As a long term season ticket holder I have renewed mine!, but I would put money on us having less than 10,000 season ticket holders next season.
sheclaret
i;d put money on having less than ten thousand sadly i dont have one but would love too
jodielou903
After a season in the prem I would of thought we would have kept around 15,000 at home even in the championship but I agree with sheclaret we will be looking at 10,000. There is some big decisions for kilby and the Burnley board at the end of the season Ijust hope they make the right one for Burnley Football Club and the Fans.
Fedupclaret
A good account of things CC.- Our average gate depends on how well we do in the Championship with walk ons we will average over 11,00 even if we do not have a good season.
Grimsby Claret
Well we did pretty well in the Championship last season but I think the average gate was still only about 11,000. The highest we had in the Championship I think was in the pre-Digital days when we got it up to about 15-16000 if I recall. I would be happy if we achieved 15,000, it's just that I cant see it happening! I'd love to know how many went for the 'early 'Early Bird' not knowing our fate
turfmanphil
Me I went for earlybird!!
sheclaret
So did I,sheclaret but we are seasoned campaigners! I just wonder how many of the prem bandwagon ST holders have done so?
turfmanphil
so did I
Fedupclaret
I tell you what if we do go down, I am going to try and get my Loyalty Points up by going to more away games than I normally go to in the fizzy pop league! If we get promoted, I certainly dont want to have to deal with this stupid ticketting system again
turfmanphil
I also wonder how many are waiting to see if BL stays or goes. Isn't today last day for earlybird.
sheclaret
I think a lot of 'fans' would not come again even if we stay up - they are the classic 'lets have a look at the Premier League and Man U' etc. If we start okay in the Championship I reckon we will get 13,000 plus whatever fans the away team brings. However many there are they will be the best fans of the best team in the world!
ozjean
Anyone thinking of criticising Barry Kilby and the board re Laws, financing etc should read the article in today's Guardian re Hull and it's owner Russell Bartlett. Under the guise of being its rich benefactor Bartlett has actually taken money out of the club in the form of 'loans' - including one to enable him to buy the club in the first place! It's a disgrace how they can get away with this - it's illegal in most other countries including the US and Australia. No matter what mistakes the board has made they were done honestly by genuine fans and we should always remember that and be grateful.
ozjean
Seconded.
Couch Potato
Sack the board ozjean......they dared to try and run the club as debt free...foolish they should have borrowed 60 Million and brought in some proper players...Prem League ones that you can pay proper wages too. Not this useless bunch of Championship misfits....luckily Vital has turned me from a chap who wanted to give Laws until December and a bloke who thought it was wise to guarantee our clubs future rather than gamble just 10 million into a proper gung ho Sack the Board type if person...I have seen the light.......BUY..its the only way...cull the useless Championship players...cos we are Prem League...say we are Prem League.....NURSE they still aren't working am I taking the right ones today...can you check
VinRogue
I have read the Hull thing and it hasn't changed my opinion one iota. We are not Hull, We are not Pompey, neither are we the other 17 clubs in the Premier League but it looks like we are down.
turfmanphil
Haven't bought a season ticket , never have because of working a lot of weekends and the 450 miles round trip but I'll still manage between 8 and 10 home games as well as roughly the same number of away fixtures. Always have and always will, be it premiership or championship, and this Sunday's game will be the next one so that I can drool over Tevez and Bellamy. There'll be a lot less drooling next season if we go down, but the passion and craving for a win will be the same. I've said it before, this club is in safe hands with Kilby and Flood at the helm, and when we return to the premiership I'm sure they'll do things slightly differently, having learnt the lessons that we all have this year.
WelshClaret
I'm in agreement with Welsh again as whatever league we're in I will still try and get to games.
RickersTwickers
Don't get to quite as many home fixtures these days as I'm exiled down south working in Westminster and, in fact, have been to slightly less games in the Premier League than I went to when we were in lower divisions. I'm the opposite of a bandwagon jumper - whatever that is. But I'll be at the City game and hope Welsh knows it is now a Saturday tea-time kick off.
RickersTwickers
I hope they have learnt the lessons and are more 'daring' than 'safe' next time! If you want safe open a building society and don't play the stockmarket would be my analogy! Yes, I have my Early Bird ST too and will support them in whatever league we ply our trade next season but it wont be the same for me playing Donny Rovers instead of Arsenal on a cold Tuesday night freezing my nads off!
turfmanphil
You know I am in total agreement with WC and RT, I have bought my season ticket for next year, love our seats and the friends we see every other week. Been brilliant this season having minivr home from Germany and Afghan and able to have a season ticket too. We used to pick our games home or away, somewhere exotic like Doncaster or Hartlepool or Cambridge...never matters as we are Clarets no matter what. I just feel sometimes it is too easy to slag things off with hindsight, the board have had the foresight to preserve the club for a long long time, we are sat on a good number of young players who will be high profile targets for bigger clubs in years to come....I support the board and Laws as I have often previously said.....and I have tried today to play being in the other camp and I hated it. UTC
VinRogue
Pity they didn't have the foresight to preserve the club in the Premier League. and it's a pity Coyle realised they didn't have that foresight. But hey ho,lets see what 'hindsight' we can discuss at the end of next season
turfmanphil
cant believe not one of you have faith, all this talk about the championship is mental, you guys still have 6 games left, i was at turf more sunday and i honestly couldnt hear your fans. stop talking negative and get behind your boys, and yet you get burnley fans complaining about how there side peform, well the players are helped by the fans, i have nothing against burnley bein quite young but i fancy a few more rovers burnley matches, dont talk about the championship till your there, enjoy premiership football and talk about next season bein in the prem, talk more positive and and the groud be more positve and give your lads that extra push they need, good luck i honestly hope you guys stay up :) rover and out!
scottrover
You saw our team on Sunday, how can we be positive when they cant even show some passion against Rovers for gawds sake? I have spent all season going to the away games and have yet to see us win one blessed match! The passion of the fans died when Coyle left, he ripped the heart and soul out of the club and players! There is no belief anymore and Laws doesn't seem to have the answer to it
turfmanphil
Oh heck a Rovers fan talking a bit of sense, unfortunately it is hard to stay positive when you see the way we are playing compared to last year. I have to agree I thought we were very quiet on sunday considering the game. Mr Rovers fan we fans have given it our all when we have been 3-0 down away from home, I will get behind the lads 1 million percent all I ask for is 100% commitment from them. That said I will be there season in season out with my season ticket even though I have ork commitments, I change shifts or take leave so ensure I get to home games, unfortunately this means I get to very few away games this season I ave only managed 5 away games.
sheclaret
I have always believed that it is just as much up to the supporters as the players and I think we have shown that in the past couple of seasons. The players are low in confidence and they need supporting. I don't believe the players have let us down - look how far they have brought the club - I just think too many supporters don't understand football. The long term consequences of operating with a third of the budget as a club like Blackburn will mean relegation perhaps 19 times out of 20. Blackburn have 12 years of Premier League experience (or whatever it is) and they used all their nous to negate our parlous threat. Given the goal came via such controversial means, I was amazed that Turf Moor did not respond to the injustice. Sitting in the Bob Lord Stand one can only be so rowdy yet I still found myself trying to get some atmosphere going. However, I will defend our support in any argument against Rovers as their away support this season has been far more meagre than ours and they've been up for 2 games - Bolton and Burnley - if they'd seen what we had on the road who knows what lows they would have reached. Yes, they are up for the game against Burnley because they know the odds are always against us getting the better of them - hence it's two days a season when they can be all pleased with themselves. Blackburn have NEVER in my lifetime had to deal with anything like the emotion of what we've had to pull through this season, being ditched like that. Furthermore, Blackburn have never suffered anything, apart from a comical demotion despite Walker's millions under Brian Kidd, for years. Lets not forget we played better football than them for half the season and only three months ago many of their supporters wanted Allardyce out. Things change quickly in football and - while I appreciate the sentiment of Scott Rover who is possibly too young to even remember Blackburn pre Premier League - those from the other end of the M65 are steeped in a bit more of the gritty reality of football.
cubanclaret
CC, I think the reality is that the vast majority of fans have simply had enough and their dream has been shattered. They have nothing left to give. I was at Fulham they sang 'Brian Laws Claret&Blue Army' for a full 50 minutes-We lost 3-0! They attempted similar at Villa We lost 5-2. We lost at home and away to bottom club Pompey, Wolves turned us over and Blackburn had it easy! All this under the backdrop of Coyle leaving and shafting us. With the best will in the world, what you are asking for, I think is impossible unless by some miracle we suddenly start winning and can revive our survival chances.
turfmanphil
Very well said Cuban, and on reflection didn't a lot of us say if we only stay up for a season it doesn't matter we can be a yoyo club like WBA. For me i'm frustrated due to the brilliant start to the season. Also at home I don't think there have been to many teams who have utterly out played us.
sheclaret
TMP - When Derby County amassed a record low number of points they took maximum followings everywhere and their support was phenomenal. That was support. Wolves and WBA have also showed more stoicism in the past then we are doing now. Why do the majority supporters "have nothing left to give". Are we no longer immensely proud of our club and its recent achievements. When I received my letter from the chairman pre season with my free season ticket confirmation I thought it was amazing that we had a club that showed such gratitude for the support we had given. I felt so privileged and proud and that all those dark days had been worth where we had come to. I won't let that feeling go so easily. Digging deep is what separates some clubs' support from others. As I said in my report, you can't manufacture belief, but no-one can convince me that we shouldn't have done much better in backing our boys on Sunday. It was a tepid atmosphere, as poor as anything all season, and when we spend all season singing about this game and then don't show the heart for it, I think that's inexcusable. The players' failings were simply mirrored by the lack of expression from the support. If we were to fall short by three points at the end of the season, some will no doubt blame the Board for not spending that little bit of extra money that could have given us the players we needed to survive, I wonder whether we will be honest enough to also lament our support for not really sticking with the team when the going got tough.
cubanclaret
I don't know the answers to your questions,you will clearly have to canvass the opinion of the majority of fans it seems who appear to disagree with you if the Rovers game is anything to go by. I can only surmise. I suspect unlike the other clubs you mention, we have not tasted life in the top flight for 33 years and some expected a little more fight & support to try & stay up
turfmanphil
I would also add that the uninspired appointment of Brian Laws did not help despite most fans back in January willing to give him a chance. I think the fans clearly wanted someone with more of a premier league pedigree and dynamism to counteract the disappointment of losing Coyle. Whether we could have got anybody is a different matter but let's say the appointment enhanced the feeling that the club were more concerned about preparing for the drop on the cheap than they were about staying in the Prem
turfmanphil
Well said Cubanclaret. Stick with the side come what may. If we can't generate any enthusiasm then it's hard for the players. I think a lot of West Ham's problems is the appalling booing of the team and manager. On another issue, when talking about the Championship, why do we talk about going to Doncaster away as an example. There are a lot of big clubs in the Championship, which is the fourth biggest League in Europe. Going away to Wigan or Hull in the Prem is hardly thrilling either and going to Man U and Liverpool without much prospect of a result will soon lose its thrill.
ozjean
The answer to that is simple for me, the club are in the Championship to achieve something, that achievement is promotion to the top league in Europe! All the clubs in the Championship are playing for that dream. I am sorry but going to the likes of Donny Rovers or indeed anybody in the fizzy pop league just will not have the same appeal to me after reaching the dizzy heights for the first time since 1976. It is maybe because I was around back then,that being in the top flight means more to me that it appears to do to others
turfmanphil
Can't wait for Donny, decent footballing team, should be a good contest.
cubanclaret
Yeah but 19 clubs in the Premier League are better footballing teams and that is the 'contest' I would prefer to strive for
turfmanphil
Agree, Doncaster , along with Swansea and us were the attractive footballing sides in the championship last year . I was there pre 76 as well tmp, so know where you're coming from believe me. But there will be no problem for me watching Burnley in the championship next year if that's our fate, especially as I think we'll do well there, and knowing that we'll be building a strong side for the return to where we belong. It's been a harsh lesson this year but we'll have learnt a lot, especially defensively. Anyway, what price us causing the big upset in the premiership tomorrow , beating City while Hull and W Ham loose, putting us right back in the mix for a visit to Hull ? Love this game and love this club, alway have and always will. Come on you Clarets . . . behind you all the way.
WelshClaret
 

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