As attentions turn to a fourth straight Premier League campaign for Burnley our Clarets columnists Andrew Greaves and Natalie Bromley, editor of the No Nay Never podcast, take a look back at last season. 

Assessment of the season

AG: I think you’ve got to look at the season being a success, especially given the fact we looked dead and buried at Christmas. 

At the start of the campaign, the goal was to retain our Premier League status and we did that with some space to spare. 

European football killed us and I’m not sure we really knew what we wanted to do with that - I think the fans’ view and the management’s view were probably very different. 

It was clear that after the summer transfer window that we weren’t really in a position to fight on multiple fronts and the whole engine stalled for a few months.  

Lancashire Telegraph:

NB: I honestly think that this season will do us more good than the last one did, facing their biggest test yet, the manager and the players developed fear, fight, strength and resilience. 

You will see a different mentality next season, I am sure of it. One thing I would say, and I know the bigger picture of Premier League survival is more important, is that I cannot help but feel disappointment at the European campaign. 

No, we weren’t ready for it, but we also didn’t embrace it either.

Given the current league structure, it is not dramatic to state that we may not get that opportunity again. 

I am sure Sean Dyche will have his own views on this, and he knows much, much more than I do, but it would have been nice to reward the players who got us there with a strong showing in the early rounds and try to get into the group stages. 

Let’s be frank here, the strategy of fielding a weakened side to protect our Premier League position didn’t work out too well prior to Christmas!

Lancashire Telegraph:  

Player of the season

AG: Ashley Westwood. He’s such an under-rated player but this season he’s really come into the side and he’s evolved as a 

He’s such a vital part of that engine room and it was really interesting to monitor him against Arsenal from the Bob Lord Stand which provides a much closer vantage point than the press box at the top of the James Hargreaves Stand upper tier! 

I was basically seeing the same angles as Dyche and it was fascinating to see him involved in pretty much everything.  

NB: Also Westwood. Your central midfield has to have strength and bite in it – think of Dean Marney and Joey Barton in previous campaigns – and Westwood provides a perfect balance to the skill of Jack Cork.

I honestly wouldn’t mind if he was given the captaincy role at some point and the story of his and Barnes’ ‘Ash-Cabs’ minibus made me feel so very proud to be Claret.

Performance of the season

AG: For me it was probably the Chelsea away game, partly because it annoyed so many of the neutrals and the Chelsea fans. 

It’s easy to forget that we took the lead with a superb strike and then got ourselves back on a level pegging with another very good goal. 

And then we defended superbly and kept the likes of Eden Hazard relatively quiet. 

The handbags, manbags and bumbags - or whatever Dyche called it - only served to add to the enjoyment on a very good night in West London. 

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NB: West Ham at home was the dawn of a new era. 

Tom Heaton was back pulling off stunning saves, the defence was back keeping clean sheets and Dwight McNeil took his opportunity with both hands and announced himself to the watching world with the fans reacting with full voice. 

The season started right there. There were probably more polished performances along the way, a special mention, for instance, to Brighton away, but this was such an important game and changed the whole outlook on things. 

Moment of the season

AG: Ashley Barnes winding up any number of opponents. 

The kiss he planted on the nose of Cardiff City’s Joe Bennett was probably the pick of the bunch. He must be the first person in history to pick up a booking for kissing someone. 

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NB: Peter Crouch winning us our first Premier League penalty in 467,891 years. 

It may not have been pretty, but the relief when the referee blew his whistle was just glorious. 

Unsung hero

AG: Might be a strange choice but Ben Mee. 

Not massively unsung by the Clarets faithful but hasn’t yet got the recognition his performances have deserved from Gareth Southgate. 

The England boss must have seen enough of Mee this season so it baffles me that he’s not in the squad for the summer. 

I’m sure he’s not the kind of person to let it bother him but you do wonder what he has to do to get in. 

NB: Also Mee. A masterful defender who has unfairly been given the tag of unfashionable. 

A constant sidekick to his more sexier partners of Michael Keane and James Tarkowski, he is the one who is the constant battler and literally puts his head, or boot, on the line.

I share Andrew’s bewilderment at his lack of an England call. Southgate has shown over and over again that he isn’t afraid to make radical selection choices, so what is Mee doing wrong? 

You feel that he had his best chance under Southgate.

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Disappointment of the season

AG: Take your pick from the first half of the season! 

Not giving it a proper go in Europe, although it is understandable as to why we didn’t given the size of the squad, is probably the main one for me. 

We fought so hard to get there and then stuck in the ‘reserves’ for the most part. 

I do think that had an effect on team moral and that’s perhaps why performances weren’t perhaps as sharp as they should or could have been in the first half of the campaign. 

NB: I have already voiced my disappointment on the European campaign, so I will select the other one – the lack of transfer activity in either transfer window. 

Sure we brought players in, and I am very excited about the prospect of Ben Gibson, but we didn’t bring anyone in who would actually strengthen the starting line up immediately. 

We were actually very lucky with Dwight McNeill, which of course counteracts how unlucky we were in the injury front, but we could very well have gone down this year without him. 

I understand the financial pressures the board work under, of course I do, but we cannot keep playing the squad lottery every year and expect it to not be a huge problem at some point.

Best opposition player

AG: It’s a difficult one again because I don’t think the ‘big, big’ players have been outstanding against Burnley in the Premier League this season.

Given the fact he scored in all three games against us then I’d probably say Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero. 

His movement off the front is fantastic and he’s a real joy to watch, just not against the Clarets! 

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NB: It is quite hard to follow Andrew – I too would vote for Aguero – so let me pick another one. 

Virgil Van Dijk is just ridiculous and how you are meant 
to score with him in the side is beyond me. He is strong, skilful and quick. For sure the main reason why Liverpool have had the season they had. 

Hopes for next season

AG: The hope starts before the season really because I hope we have a better summer transfer window.  

I know we’re not the kind of club to splash millions and millions but we have to start being competitive. 

Our recruitment last summer was left until the last minute, again, so it’s crucial we start early this time around. We’re safe, we know how much money we’ve got and are getting so let’s get out and do the business! 

NB: We need a central midfielder, cover at left back and a number 10.

Then bring a fully rested squad back to a full, uninterrupted pre-season with a smile on their faces and a drive to succeed. 

It is time to start pushing our ambition as well. I would like us to stop playing the ‘little old Burnley’ card and reminding the world how skint we are, how unfashionable we are and how hard we have to work for everything. 

It makes us look so small-time. Chins up, chests out and starting thinking like an established, mid-table side. We should be aiming for 50 points per season now, not just 40 and survival.

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One to watch next season

AG: It’s a bit of an obvious choice but probably Dwight McNeil. 
He’s been an absolute revelation since coming into the side but there’s still so much to come from him. 

He looks like he struggles to get beyond the 70-minute mark because the pace at this level is so much quicker that at under-23  or youth level but I think a full pre-season and he’ll be ‘Dyche fit’ and then we’ll see him really reach his undoubted potential. 

NB: Charlie Taylor for me. I spent the first half of the season worrying about when Stephen Ward was due back but he has to be the most improved player of last year. 

He has really benefited from pitting his wits against the Premier League’s elite and he is starting to believe he has made the jump from the Championship.