IN terms of a bonding exercise this past week has been a huge success. I can honesty say that I have never hugged so many men, kissed so many women and shaken so many hands.
It started with my 40-year attendance celebration at Blackpool, continued with Burnley’s promotion confirmation on Easter Monday against Wigan and culminated with our last home game when Ipswich were the visitors.
Victories in all, historical milestones achieved, and just next Saturday’s game at Reading to go.
It’s been pointed out that I didn’t look my healthiest when interviewed on Sky on the Tuesday morning following our promotion.
Well let me tell you, if George Clooney had celebrated like I had, he too would have looked like an advert for Alka Seltzer!
It’s that time of year once again when the players’ awards are handed out, and if ever a season warranted a team award this has been it. Every piece of the jigsaw has fallen perfectly into place to make ‘Team Burnley’ my overall winners.
A truly fantastic achievement against the odds.
And from a personal perspective these are my number one tributes.
Best result No contest! Our 2-1 victory at Ewood Park not only ended 35 years of hurt but galvanised our promotion push.
Best performance There were many, but our 3-1 home win over Nottingham Forest, particularly in the first half, saw us play a ‘tiki-taka’ passing football that Barcelona would have been proud of, leaving the Forest players and fans gazing at us like startled rabbits in a car’s headlights.
Best goal Again, having seen all 70 league goals scored so far it is a tough choice.
However, for the sheer difficulty of finishing, there can been no harder test than Kieran Trippier’s 50-yard placement to Danny Ings in a swirling wind in our 3-1 win at home to Millwall.
Killing the ball with his first touch, Ings poked it past the goalkeeper with aplomb.
Player of the season As I’ve said, every player has proved their worth, marshalled superbly by our captain fantastic and ever-present Jason Shackell.
But given that we had lost our two leading scorers before a ball had been kicked, my dual ‘players of the season’ must go to Danny Ings and Sam Vokes.
To both hit 20 league goals in such circumstances is a fantastic achievement.
Manager of the season Runners up are Tony Pulis at Crystal Palace, Mark Warburton at Brentford, and Russ Wilcox at Scunthorpe.
But there can only be one winner of this top accolade, and that man is of course Sean Dyche for conjuring the magic of a Burnley promotion back to the Premier League.