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Burnley FC blog: Nothing wrong with dreaming of Europe
ON July 1, Burnley could be 6,443 miles away in Kazakhstan playing Lokomotiv Astana in the first qualifying round of the Europa League. Be warned, Google Maps advises this journey could take five days and 20 hours.
If it is not Astana, then it could just as easily be Valletta (Malta), Runavik (Faroe Islands), Glentoran (Northern Ireland), Llanelli (Wales), Ulisses Yerevan (Armenia), Trans Narva (Estonia) or Fylkir Reykjavik (Iceland).
Some might say that the possibility is farcical, that the Clarets should have no time for such nonsense against little-known sides from all corners of Europe.
But Burnley would do best to ignore the kill-joys, the nay-sayers and the spoil-sports.
Of course, the Clarets will count themselves extremely fortunate if they qualify for Europe via the Fair Play League – something that is likely to rely on Fulham winning this season’s final next Wednesday.
It is hard to argue that any side deserves a route to Europe by such a method. Should relegated Burnley really be given a place in the Europa League while eighth-placed Everton miss out?
But that would take nothing away from the once-in-a-lifetime experience for Clarets fans – the ones not around in the 1960s at least – should they make it into Europe on July 1.
The Europa League is often unfairly maligned by those on the outside.
But did Fulham fans regard it as a waste of time, as extra games that would ruin their season, or are they currently savouring some of the greatest moments in their history while still enjoying a respectable league campaign?
Did those who travelled abroad moan about the expense, or relish the chance to see Europe in a way they had never done before?
No-one would expect Burnley to emulate Fulham, but they could make it through a few rounds.
Football must always be about ambition and the greatest possibilities for Burnley lie with the Europa League.
The Clarets can still dream of an experience that would be truly unique, truly different.
And that cannot be a bad thing.
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