A Baptism Of Fire – For The Boys From The ‘Shire
The fixture list for the 2009/10 Premier League season has been published and newcomers Burnley are looking at a pretty rough opening month.
Their first fixture away at Stoke on August 15 is acceptable enough but then the clarets will play host to Manchester United and Everton and if that was not tough enough trips to Anfield and Stamford Bridge follow.
Four teams out of last years top five await the Championship playoff winners at the start of the season.
But, could this be an advantage? Maybe playing the top teams at the start of the campaign could work in your favour. They may have a bit of early season rust, new players who need to bed into the team and they’re not exactly playing for much in the first month – Much better to play them then than a month after Christmas.
So how do we see Burnley’s chances of survival next season?
Well there are quite a few survival models that Owen Coyle could follow if he wants to keep his team in the top flight after the first season and beyond. The following are models to consider – so do:
‘The Sunderland’:Have your club sold to an unbelievably wealthy Irish consortium, spend extortionate amounts of money on mediocre players, have your marquee manager bottle it and walk out on you and replace him with a competent coach with an unpronounceable name.
Verdict = SAFE.
‘The Bolton’: Get a squad together who look like they would be more at home in the cast of Gullivers Travels, employ a manager who looks like the guy who comes round to fix your Sky Box, play direct, bordering on violent football and make sure your centre forward commits the most fouls and in turn is the most fouled player in the league over the entire season.
Verdict = SAFE
‘The Hull’:Start the season with no fear and quickly become everyones second favourite team. Douse yourself in Ronseal Wood Stain and prance around on the touchline with a headpiece that looks like the first one ever made. Reprimand your players publicly on the pitch at half-time on a freezing day in Manchester and subsequently proceed to drop like a brick for the next few months. Re-apply wood stain. Scrape through on the last day of the season, sing to the crowd and celebrate like you’ve just received your first royalty cheque from the invention of Post-It Notes.
Verdict = SAFE
Do NOT do:
‘The Newcastle’:Sell the club to a fat, cockney, bin-man. Bring in wave upon wave of unneeded bureaucrats (Dennis Wise. Derek Llambias. Why?). Spend millions of pounds on a striker, with a similar name, and about the same footballing talent, as a poncy R&B singer and never play him. Piss of the fans so much that your own Chairman cannot even step foot in the city through fear of being hung from the highest tree. Wheel out more ‘Messiahs’ than the ‘Life of Brian’.
Verdict: RELEGATED – And hope to God that is as bad as it gets, but dont hold your breath.
So good luck Burnley and for that matter Wolves and Birmingham. Because boys, you’re really going to need it.