Arsenal's Emirates Stadium Date: 16th February 2024 at 6:23pm
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Ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League tie at Turf Moor versus Burnley, which will be refereed by Jarred Gillett, I spoke to one of their supporters. Thank you to Mark for answering the questions!

How long have you supported Burnley?

Just shy of 36 years. My first game was towards the end of the 87/88 season when my dad took me on to see a defeat to Peterborough in an old 4th Division game. I’d have to admit that I was hardly enthralled and definitely wasn’t ‘hooked’ by my first experience. My third game was actually a trip to Wembley for the then-named Sherpa Van Trophy Final when I was part of an 80,000 crowd to see Wolves defeat us 2-0. I got my first season ticket the year after with my grandad and uncle and have been a season ticket holder,  apart from my years at university, ever since.

What were and now are your hopes and expectations for the 2023/24 season?

I do think we’ll be relegated which is something I’d hoped we’d avoid last August.

What are your views on your manager?

I’m a fan. He produced the best team I’ve seen last season. Attacking, pleasing to the eye and playing a brand of football that I’ve never witnessed at Turf Moor. There’s also no question that he has been a key figure in bringing in the players he has who wouldn’t have given Burnley a second glance if he wasn’t the manager. There is a belief that he has been too revolutionary this season, almost ripping up the team that won the league last season and not giving a number of fan favourites a fair crack at the Premier League. When we do go down, he’ll get the opportunity to bring us back up and I believe he’ll be the right person to do so.

Style of play and tactics – direct/passing/hybrid?

A poor man’s City – which isn’t a criticism. It ripped the Championship up last year but not serving us as well this season!

One(s) to watch now and in the future?

Wilson Odabert is playing well on the left side for us at the moment. French U’21 international who isn’t afraid of taking on his full-back – not something you see in a modern winger these days. If we are relegated, I’d expect interest in him and we could potentially make a nice profit on him which seems the business route the club want to go down. Koleosho, before his season-ending injury l, was getting rave reviews but I think Odabert has more of an end product. Zeki Amdouni is another player I rate and possibly would do even better in a more established team that can afford to play an expansive style.

Random fact about your Club?

I think it’s only ourselves, Wolves and Preston who have won all four divisions in England as well as an FA Cup.

Which were your favourite and least favourite matches involving Burnley?

Favourite: Too many to mention in detail. A promotion decider at Scunthorpe in 2000 saw us reach the Championship as runners-up. Trialling one nil, goals from Micky Mellon and Glen Little as well as defeat for Gillingham at Wrexham saw us clinch second place. We’ve never been back at that level and I like to think it gave us the foundation of the success we’ve had since. It was also great to see us play Olympiacos in Athens in The Europa League – not something I ever envisaged in the 4th Division days!

Winning The Championship at Ewood Park last season is definitely up there also!

My least favourite is an absolute non-event of a local derby against Blackburn in our first Premier League season. Coyle had left us in the lurch and Brian Laws was his uninspiring replacement. It was almost as if relegation had been conceded on the pitch and in the stands and an ultra-negative performance resulted in a one-nil victory for our neighbours and their quick-to-mock supporters. We’re having our payback now though…..

Which sides do you think will finish in the top four and which do you think will finish in the bottom three?

City will win the league, either yourselves or Liverpool as runners up and I’ll go for Spurs in fourth.

Sheff Utd, ourselves and although they are having a good spell and are exceeding expectations, I think Luton will hit a bad spell and drop.

What are your thoughts on Arsenal?

Another good season with an added bit of grit and determination to see wins out and gain three points against your title rivals. You seem to now have the knack of winning games without always being at your best.

If you could steal one Arsenal player for your team, who would it be and why?

I’d probably plump for Declan Rice. We are often in need of a bit more midfield ‘steel’ at times and a little Premier League ‘know-how’.

What is your prediction for this match?

Burnley 0 Arsenal 3 – we’ll make a promising start, conceding a soft goal around the 15/20 minute mark and the game will become a procession.


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