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Highs feel better after so many lows

Posted on 26 May 2009 | 10:05am

As I was saying … there is nothing quite like football; for anticipatory anxiety, stress during the game itself (not to mention FIVE minutes of injuty time) then joy overflowing in the moment of victory and the hours which follow it.

Nor is there anything like it for prompting a warm response from others and I want to start by apologising – for not replying to all of the texts, emails, facebook messages and tweets that flowed in last night after Burnley’s promotion to the Premiership.

I did try to, but there were pages and pages of them, Facebook alone going well into three figures, and I gave up after a while. Not everyone was wishing me happy birthday and saying well done Burnley. Like the tweet, clearly from one of my biggest admirers, saying he could not wait to see my face next year when Burnley get relegated and Labour lose the election. On verra, just as on verra whether all those ‘six points guaranteed for us’ messages from figures as varied as Piers Morgan (Arsenal), Andy Burnham (Everton) and Jack Straw (Blackburn) turn out to be a tad cocky.

Did I not say here yesterday that we would win 1-0? I wish I’d broken the habit of a lifetime and put a bet on it. But money could not buy the feelings of the 36,000 Burnley fans who were there yesterday, and the thousands who will turn out for the victory parade today.

It is partly because we have had so many lows that the highs feel so good. Founder member of the League, Champions in 1959/60, relegated from the top flight in 1976, almost relegated right out of the League in 1987. We used to be regulars at Old Trafford and Anfield and Highbury. Sudddenly Hartlepool, Chesterield and Darlington became the standard fare for Burnley fans.

And now we’re back. People kept asking if it was as good as the election win in 1997. But as I record in my diaries, maybe it was the stress or the knowledge of what was to come in starting a big new job the next day, but I did not enjoy the night of victory. Last night, I enjoyed every  minute.

We joined chairman Barry Kilby, manager Owen Coyle, some of the players and their families, for an impromptu celebration in a London hotel. Our goalscorer, Wade Elliott, just could not stop smiling. The event was enlivened by a group of Celtic players – their centre half Gary is brother of our captain Stevie Caldwell – who seemed to have learned all the Burnley songs in one day supporting the club.

Coyle, who really does have something a bit special about him, was looking after his 78-year-old Mum Frances. Some of the players may be waking up with sore heads, but not him. He is a lifelong teetotaler. 

This evening they will be on an open topped bus taking in the applause of a town whose entire population could fit into Wembley stadium. I am really proud to have been asked by the council to MC part of the procedings. So not for the first Tuesday this year, I am heading north. I still can’t quite believe we have done it.

  • TonyC

    I’m really pleased Burnley went up. A proper club, with proper supporters. I think you might surprise a few people next year. A good manager and Turf Moor isn’t the most welcoming of grounds – in a good way – so I think your home form will be excellent. A bit like Stoke. Ehjoy it. For supporters of clubs outside the Big Four these moments of glory don’t happen often. When people ask me why I support Brentford I always say it is because I’m a glory hunter…but I it is more fun when the glory is hard to find.

  • Simon Leonard

    As a lifelong Newcastle supporter (relegated) and a long term resident of Shrewsbury (lost the play off), your happiness sickens me.

    Only kidding, congratulations and all that. Have you got any spare players you could send to Tyneside?

  • Helen

    I too was at Wembley yesterday cheering us on and have to admit to shedding more than a few tears of joy at the final whistle. Burnley have never been a top flight club in my lifetime, so it’s still not quite sunk in that we will be in the premier league next season. What a season it has been.

  • Pam Nash

    Congratulations to Burnley – I’m most amused, but not surprised, at Morgan’s cockiness; the way the Arses play some matches, my Granny could beat them and she’s dead…….6 points to them is by no means assured!

  • omar

    Think its a shame teams such as Burnley will be in the premiership next year. They devalue what is a top rate premium league. Can anyone see Burnley winning a game in the premier league?

  • Jimmy

    Congratulations on Burnley’s promotion well deserved ,I just hope the hang over is not as bad….

  • Alex

    Congratulations. 12 months ago Hull and Stoke were given little chance of staying up but they did. As for next season, both Sun’lun’ and Hull already look relegation prospects, if such is possible 12 months ahead. Ahead of its football club Burnley seems to me to be firmly associated with the BNP. This is a comment you have had before I am guessing? Do Burnley’s BNP supporters also support the Club? And if so with what result?

  • Michael

    What do you mean Omar? Smaller clubs such as Hull and Stoke have managed to hold their own, as have Wigan and Fulham. Burnley now join fellow former original members of the League in the top division next year – Villa, Blakburn, Bolton, Everton, Stoke and Wolves. The delightful thing abour Burnley’s progress is not just the quality of their play, but the memories they bring of football as it used to be. Wonderful that a such a small club can do well in the modern era..

  • Simon

    Very pleased for you. At least that’s six points that Tottenham can be assured of next season!


    Alastair on his career change, his old demons and his fear of dentists: read the INTERVIEW on

  • olli issakainen

    Burnley are back! I saw AC on Sky News at Wembley commenting not on football but on – surprise surprise – MPs´ expenses.

  • Gary

    Happy days – Up The Clarets

  • Ian Eastwood

    A fantastic day at Wembley Yesterday and a well deserved victory. My thanks go to all the staff and players at the club, but the biggest of all to Owen Coyle for turning a promising team into what they have become this season, a team of winners.

    With every game as the season progressed, win or lose they have emerged better and stronger through his leadership.

    Maybe a lesson for the Labour party here. O.C. for PM. Maybe not.

    Congratulation to all involved with the club. To see them back on top after all this time in the wilderness is a great feeling for me and all the family. They came from Canada and as far as Australia just to experience the wonderful occasion.

    A word too for the Sheffield United fans those who were gracious in defeat. As we sat having a meal near Euston station before travelling back to Crewe, many were coming up and shaking our hands wishing us all the best.

    Omar I think you’re getting your values mixed up. It’s not nor should it be about wealth. Football is many different things to many different people. A bit like politics and the fundamental differences between the parties and there underlying beliefs.

  • Alan Quinn

    Well done to the Clarets, enjoy your day in the sun. Next May Burnley need 40 points and Labour needs 40%.

  • Theresa

    Congrats on burnley promotion Alastair. I”m trying to cheer my 13 year old son up because Celtic lost the league.But listen we are happy to see such celebrations for Burnly as everybody loves to see the underdog have his day. Best wishes, Theresa.

  • gary Enefer

    Congratulations to you and your club Alastair. It is this moment you can enjoy and don’t worry about the spoilers – they are suffering and can only show it this way.Well doen to the wellwishers,fans andmagnanimous neutrals

    Burnley may lose Owen Coyle if he wants the Celtic job. I think Alan Curbishley would keep you up.

    best wishes,back to politics until August?
    gary enefer

  • Rita

    Hey you- watch what you sayabout the Spires and Chesterfield!! Congrats on the win- no prizes 4 guessing the best birthday pres!
    Is it my imagination or did Cameron have an Obama moment in Milton Keynes today?!!!! There were some very appetising little soundbites in there
    ‘from the powerful to the powerless’
    ‘from the political elite to the man on the street’
    ‘people power in a post-beauracratic age’
    delivered in a way that seemed to connect. Jack Straw was not the best man to put in to bat after that performance. Is there anybody there?!!!! Rita 🙁

  • mikey

    Hi Uncle Ali……my dad is a complete idiot….he watched the match on live text !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but we’re both happy you won…….