Robbie Blake played for his fair share of clubs but says Burnley tops the lot. BEN PETT talks to him about the Clarets and his role as a coach at Bognor Regis Town

“Danger not passed yet, back with Stephen Jordan for Burnley, Paterson coming in, and it drops for Blake!

“Top class – Premier League class – Robbie Blake.”

Martin Tyler’s famous words as Robbie Blake fired home the Clarets’ first Premier League goal against the then title holders Manchester United.

No-one could have scripted that newly-promoted Burnley would be contenders for upset of the season just two matches inside the 2009/10 campaign.

What made Blake’s goal and the win even more special was it was Burnley’s first victory over Manchester United since 1968.

“It was monumental really because people would have thought Burnley going up would mean they would struggle and hardly win a game,” said Blake, now coaching at Bognor Regis Town.

“It has to be up there as one of my personal highlights in my career, it doesn’t get bigger than scoring a goal against a team like Manchester United.

“One thing you can say about it is that it’ll always be in the history books and for that reason it has to be the highlight of my career.”

It was a surreal situation for Blake, who couldn’t have dreamed of being part of such a unique moment in the club’s recent history.

“You couldn’t write the script,” said the 44-year-old.

“Football throws up some crazy scenarios and situations and this was one of those moments, it was incredible.

“If you said to anybody in the team that our first goal and win would be against them, no-one could have guessed it.”

Blake enjoyed two fruitful spells at Turf Moor, accumulating more than 250 appearances and scoring 62 goals in the top two divisions of English football.

Lancashire Telegraph:

He also played for the likes of Leeds United, Bradford City, Bolton Wanderers, Doncaster Rovers, Birmingham City, Darlington and Nottingham Forest.

In total, Blake mustered up nearly 600 league appearances across a near 20-year playing career.

The former striker was appreciated at all the clubs he pulled the shirt on for, but one team in particular has a special place in his heart.

“I enjoyed playing for every team that I was a part of,” he said.

“Leeds were class and are a fantastic football club with immense fans who are so passionate and are generally a great club.

“But I think my most enjoyable time has been at Burnley.

“I just clicked there and had the most brilliant affiliation with the supporters, they loved me and I loved them.

“They were also a great club to play for and I enjoyed going there every day and playing down at Turf Moor.”

The ground is home to nearly 22,000 Clarets fanatics who pledged their loyalty to the striker, and possibly allowed him to play with a bit more leeway compared to other players.

Perhaps that was the reason he enjoyed his stays in Lancashire so much.

“If I didn’t play well for a couple of games, I feel like because I was so well-liked and loved I guess you could say I kind of got away with it where as some of the other players wouldn’t,” Blake admitted.

“It was a big help knowing that I didn’t exactly have so much pressure on me to have my best game every week.

“I think for anybody going forward who is loved by the supporters or the club, if you’ve got that little bit of leverage it does stand in your favour.”

Blake’s coaching journey began in Belfast, aiming to achieve his badges and he is still working his way through on the way to gaining his A-licence.

He has since moved to the south of England with his wife and three kids, a good 300-mile trip away from his hometown and the rest of his family in the North East.

“Initially moving from Middlesbrough to Darlington it was around an hour away, so it wasn’t far but I was away from family,” Blake said.

“But now, when you’re older the family understand you may need to travel even further, but life goes on and we’re still in contact regardless.”

Blake was part of Paul Cook’s successful spell at Fratton Park, working as coach at a time when Pompey won the League Two title under the former Clarets midfielder, who went on to become Accrington Stanley boss and is now with Wigan.

After Kenny Jackett introduced his own backroom team at Pompey, Jack Pearce invited Blake to Bognor and things swiftly moved forward from there and he has now just finished his second season at Nyewood Lane, helping a side who play in the Isthmian League Premier Division.

He said: “I liked the set-up of Bognor when I visited for pre-season games with Portsmouth.

"I’m enjoying it so much and learning every day, hopefully it continues and I can achieve a lot here.

“It’s fantastically run and the fans are incredible, they are the bedrock of English football.”