BURNLEY may be one of only two Premier League clubs without representation at the World Cup, but co-chairman Mike Garlick will be flying the Clarets flag quite literally in Manaus tonight.
Garlick has flown out to Brazil to take in two England games at the tournament – the clash with Uruguay in Sao Paulo on Thursday, after tonight’s 11pm kick-off against Italy beside the Amazon.
It will be his fourth World Cup and the Turf Moor chief will be aiming to get Burnley on television after obtaining a Clarets flag for the trip via a Twitter appeal.
Like fellow Premier League club West Ham United, the Clarets do not have any players featuring in the tournament but Garlick joked that he has his eye on one or two players to bring to Turf Moor.
“I’m going to try and sign Messi!” he laughed.
“It will be great to see a lot of the players that we will be playing against in the Premier League next season.
“In the Championship there is only a player here or there at the World Cup, but pretty much every country has a player from the Premier League.
“I will be doing some scouting for Sean!
“But I’m sure Sean will be glued to the television keeping an eye on the players we’ll be playing against, too.”
Garlick, the managing director of London-based consultancy firm MBA, is combining the visit with a little bit of business.
“There are a group of us who have travelled and we’re going to England Italy in Manaus, then having three days in Rio,” he said.
“Then we’re going to England against Uruguay in Sao Paulo before flying home on Saturday.
“We’re opening an office in Brazil later in the year so we’re actually going to interview some people for that while we’re there.
“I’m hoping to put an appeal out on Twitter so that hopefully we can meet up with some other Burnley fans at the England games.
“A lad called Callum has already given us a flag and I must thank him for that.
“It’s a four metre by three metre England flag with ‘Burnley FC’ in one corner and ‘England’ in the other.
“We’re going to make sure it’s displayed prominently.”
Garlick travelled to England’s unhappy World Cup campaign in South Africa in 2010 and also saw them in Germany four years earlier, but his trip to Japan in 2002 stands out.
“This is my fourth World Cup,” he said.
“I went to England against Argentina in 2002 when we beat them and David Beckham scored the penalty. That was probably the highlight.
“I enjoy seeing new places and I’ve been really looking forward to it.
“I’ve been to Mexico but I’ve never been as far down as Brazil and I’m just looking forward to the whole Brazilian experience, whatever that may be.”