“IT was a complete fluke,” former Burnley striker Paul Fletcher has had 34 years to reflect on his goal against Blackburn in the Clarets 2-1 win at Turf Moor in December 1978.
The Clarets did the double over Rovers that season with Tony Morley and Brian Hall scoring the goals that gave them their last win on April 14, 1979.
But as the two sides prepare to do battle again in Burnley this weekend Fletcher admits that his effort, which set the Clarets on their way to victory with Peter Noble adding a second, had more than its fair share of fortune.
“If I remember rightly it was a complete fluke,” said the 61-year-old of his goal.
“I was on the far touchline and I went in for a tackle and I struck the ball and it kind of came back off my knee and just floated into the net.
“I turned to the crowd as if I meant it and took the applause.”
The crowd that day was 23,133 and Fletcher knew the significance of the goal he scored.
“We did the double over them that season and it was such a big occasion,” he added. “We had a very good team back then.
“In those days, a bit like now, we didn’t play Blackburn much. At that time though Burnley were usually in a higher division so when we did play them it was a huge fixture.
“It was obviously massive to score in the derby and we have waited long enough to beat them again.
“The derbies were very spicy in those days and it meant everything to the fans. I don’t think outside of the area too many people realise how much the game means to the fans of both clubs.
“There is a lot of rivalry between the fans but most of it is good natured banter and not at all vicious.
“It is a massive game and these Burnley fans have been waiting a long time to end the hoodoo and I think the current squad can do that.”
Fletcher’s optimism stems from Burnley’s improved defensive record under new boss Sean Dyche, they have kept three clean sheets in his five games and taken a nine point return.
“We have that character now and you are going to need it in a derby. As we used to say in my day you have to come back with blood on your shirt,” he said.
“There are fans who have been waiting a long time to be able to go into work on a Monday morning with a smile on their face because we have beaten Blackburn.”