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Stephen Cummings: Clarets deserve bragging rights
1:00pm Tuesday 11th March 2014 in Sport
IT must have been some time towards the end of the 1994/95 season.
At the same time as Burnley were unsuccessfully attempting to put the skids on a return to the third tier of professional football, Blackburn were edging ever closer to the Premier League title.
It felt as though the two clubs were operating in parallel universes.
And the thought that we might never again meet in a league fixture was not nearly as outlandish then as it sounds now.
Happily, times have changed for the better. Burnley slowly but surely got their act together, whereas Rovers – well it all went a bit Venky’s didn’t it?
In fact, what happened on Sunday was merely a continuation of what has been happening for the past couple of seasons; namely the shifting of the balance of footballing power in east Lancashire.
Consider the facts.
Burnley sit in an automatic promotion spot, eight points clear of the chasing pack. The man at the helm is a shoo-in for Manager of the Year. And the board is comprised of Clarets.
Blackburn meanwhile are huffing and puffing along, chasing the chasing pack. Their manager brings in 19 players over the summer, then complains that he can’t get a settled first XI out.
And their board is comprised of characters who appear to know little about football, let alone Rovers, and under whose stewardship the club find themselves almost £40m in debt.
But enough with the analysis. Back to Sunday.
Messrs Heaton, Trippier, Mee, Jones, Duff, Shackell, Arfield, Marney, Ings, Vokes, Kightly, Wallace and Barnes have written themselves into Burnley folk-lore. In fact if the club shop knows what it’s about, it should by now be flogging T-shirts with Sunday’s line-up printed on the front.
The breaking of the 35-year hoodoo was just the latest record that this outstanding team has shattered in this most incredible of seasons. But it was, without question, the one that mattered most to fans.
The game itself wasn’t much of a spectacle, but it cast up images that have instantly and indelibly burned themselves onto the mind’s eye.
Jason Shackell sticking his head in where angels fear to tread, Danny Ings threading that ball through a forest of Blackburn legs, Sean Dyche on the pitch saluting the 4,500 supporters.
The hope now is that the momentum generated by Sunday’s win, coupled with the eight-point cushion, will prove sufficient to drive the Clarets over the finishing line.
The job’s far from done. But who knows? It could be some time before we play Blackburn in the league again.
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