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David Eyres: Promotion would be fitting for the Clarets
IT would be so fitting if Burnley could win promotion today, in front of their own fans.
It would be lovely for Gary Parkinson too, on his first return to Turf Moor since illness.
It promises to be an emotional occasion for him and his family, and no doubt myself, but hopefully one of celebration too come the final whistle.
It takes us back to when we won the play-offs at Wembley in 1994, with me and Parky on the scoresheet against Stockport.
I’m sure both of us wish we could wind the clock back 20 years to that minute before the final whistle and re-live the feeling afterwards.
When you’ve been through times like that you want them over and over again – not just the day itself but the bus tour and all the celebrations afterwards.
I can remember the game as if it was yesterday, and I’m sure Gary can too. Whenever we meet up with the Vintage Clarets we talk about that game. It’s something that will live with you forever, being part of Burnley’s history.
Going into today I don’t think it will be the same feeling for the players as we had at Wembley.
We were going into a one-off game, when all our hard work that season boiled down to the play-off final at Wembley. I’ve been on the losing side of that scenario, and it’s really not nice.
If promotion isn’t confirmed tomorrow, the lads have four more games to do it so the pressure is not the same. They’ve already done all the hard work, it’s just about getting over the line now and a matter of when, not if.
The lads will go about their job the way Sean Dyche has instructed them all season.
To be there, and part of what is hopefully a successful day, is fantastic for me and Parky.
If Burnley get the win they need and Derby don’t against Huddersfield, we’ll probably say it was meant to be.
Gary’s first public appearance was for the reverse fixture at Middlesbrough on Boxing Day, and I know how much it meant to him, Debbie and their children.
It’s fantastic for the Clarets to invite him back.
What happened to him in September 2010 happened in an instant, so hopefully the stimulation of having all that support and well wishes when he goes onto the pitch at half-time will help flick that switch back in his body and spur on his recovery.
It will be great to see his reaction to the ovation that I’m sure he’ll receive, from all sides of the ground as a player for both Burnley and Boro, although I’m sure it will be a mixture of tears and smiles.
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