FOREST AWAY: Burnley, Sunday 19th May – Fan Guide

The sweeping glass façade offers a perfect vantage point for the owner to look down on what he has built, single handedly. The players have just arrived at the Jorge Mendes Arena, and they greet him warmly but with great respect. He had decided to pick the team today, this game was just too important. The Premier League title was at stake, and he simply couldn’t leave it up to his son this time.

Fans swarm around the vast platform that surrounds the bowl, waving flags and excitedly spending their money at the club shop. Many stop to take photos with his statue. There has been record season card sales already and income is at an all time high. He stopped caring about the lack of young people in the crowd long ago, and the senior citizens. If they couldn’t afford it, that was their problem. It was the same moaning when they had released seven replica shirts last season. He liked this crowd; they sang his name and were grateful for him. It hadn’t always been that way he remembered with a frown. Now look at what he had given them. Toton was the centre of English football, even Prime Minister Bradley had an apartment just around the corner.

To think, they tried to tell him that this couldn’t be done. That tradition and heritage mattered, and that the old ground was going to be where he kept the club forever. Sure, he had said that, but he didn’t mean it for goodness’ sake. He smiled when he thought about what he had achieved. This was the greatest period in the club’s 17-year history, and he was the mastermind. ‘The most important man in football’, was how the Daily Mail had described him last week, although he wished they would stop using that image of him with his arms crossed onto his shoulders. Some still keep making it look like he is going down a water slide, although he was happy to keep banning people. There was no shortage of people waiting to take a seat, as he regularly reminded his fans.

After a good luck call from King William, the owner takes his seat next to the VAR officials. His favourite spot: it just gave him that bit of comfort that the decisions wouldn’t be a problem like they had used to be. They had tried bolting the door, but they didn’t know about the secret passage he had made his old chairman include in the design.

As planned, his team swept to a beautiful 5-0 win over Wrexham and the Premier League title belonged to Nottingham Forest for the first time. The crowd chanted his name and demanded he lift the trophy. As he made his way down towards the pitch there was nagging words in his head; what was it he could hear. It sounded like a voice he knew, and it was getting louder.

What on earth was it? He stopped for a moment and started to feel very tired. ‘Wake up, wake up’, he could hear. He opened his eyes, and a member of staff was gently raising him from his slumber. ‘Where are we, what time is it?’, he asked.

‘I thought you’d want to know that Forest have just won at Huddersfield’.

‘Oh, good’, said the owner.

‘And Dane has called’, said the staff member. ‘Steve Cooper will take the job.’



TRAINS: The most straightforward way I am aware of is to get to Manchester Piccadilly and then walk across the city to Manchester Victoria; it takes around 55 mins from there to Burnley Manchester Road. There are other routes available too, including a change at Leeds. The 10:17 from Nottingham, for instance, has a 40-minute wait in Leeds, and then arrives into Burnley at 14:02.

Fares do seem expensive so it’s worth planning ahead. The cheapest I can currently find is to get two advanced singles on the 10:17 to Manchester Oxford Road and onto Burnley Manchester Road. The return journey is 18:15 which should be manageable and gets back to Nottingham at 22:01. The cost is £41 but you are restricted to these specific changes.

A standard return on this route is £77, but as regularly suggested in this guide try and split your return ticket up via Nottingham – Manchester / Leeds and then Manchester / Leeds – Burnley Manchester Road. Doing this via Leeds brings a standard return down to around £46. Via Manchester it is around £43, so definitely worth it and gives you the freedom of getting different trains.

It’s around a 20/25-minute walk to Turf Moor from Burnley Manchester Road.

ROAD: From memory, we have used the M65 into Burnley previous trips, heading in towards the ground. It’s probably worth not getting too close to the ground as you should be okay, especially on a Sunday, finding some good street parking which will offer a quicker getaway if you don’t mind a walk.

A good bet would be to park somewhere close to the Manchester Road train station which also offers a couple of good pub options (see next section). Or a little bit further down there may be some available parking around Burnley Wood Park, although be mindful of any permit zones around here.



Advice from Burnley’s Dedicated Football Officer:

Burnley cricket club is where most supporters go and always have. It’s a 2-minute walk from the away end just round the corner and will be open from about 11am.

For those by rail, The Star outside Manchester Road train station has away supporters. Only popular for rail users as it’s a bit of a walk to the ground.

That’s about it. There is a Wetherspoons in Town called The Boot but we don’t advertise that as its always busy anyway and has a mix of supporters in.

There are other pubs around the town centre but there may be varying positions on admitting away supporters. A little further out, close The Star pub up near the station, is the Inn on the Wharf. We discovered this by chance many years ago and have returned regularly ever since. It’s a lovely pub, albeit it’s been a few years since our last visit, and is only about 20 mins walk to the ground.

Just remember that many pubs are likely to be opening later on a Sunday.


Q&A with Burnley fan, Andrew (@AlwaysClaret)

For a little while, it looked like we might be heading for a last day shoot-out at Turf Moor. What’s been the root cause of your struggles this season?

The main thing that we’ve struggled with this season is not knowing our strongest 11 and some naivety from Kompany himself. From the start of the season, a lot of people questioned James Trafford’s ability as a goalkeeper and if it was the right decision to drop Arijanet Muric for a player who we didn’t really seem to need. A lot of the fans had been asking for Muric to return to the starting 11 and now that he has, we have been on a run of relatively decent form. Unfortunately, this has come too late, and we couldn’t quite pull it off this time.

Another thing that has gone against us this season is poor refereeing decisions which have cost us goals and points. I don’t want to complain about this because we simply haven’t been good enough as a whole to stay up anyway. However, there are moments in games that stand out (Penalty vs Aston Villa, Trafford vs Luton, Berge handball vs Nottingham Forest), which have cost us points and would arguably have kept us in the fight. But these things have gone against a lot of teams this season so it’s not just us who have been punished by poor referees. Instead, we just simply haven’t had the quality to stay up.


As an outsider I have admired how both yourself and Luton have seemingly not considered a change of manager, despite spending much of the season in the relegation spots. Does Vincent Kompany still possess strong support among Burnley fans?

It’s strange because I’d like to say yes as he got us promoted at the first time of asking when we’d lost so many key players and we only lost 3 league games all season. But there does seem to be quite a divide on people who have support for Kompany and those who don’t want him to remain in the role.

Personally, I have faith in Kompany for next season as the last couple of months (as well as last season), has shown that he can be a good manager. He’s only 38 and is a young manager still learning the ropes and this was his first season as a Premier League manager. But he will need to keep the fans on side, and I do believe that if we start next season slowly, questions will be asked around the 10 game mark about his position at the club.

How concerning is it that the three promoted clubs are (barring something bonkers unfolding) going straight back down? From Burnley’s perspective was the gap too great, or could things have been done differently to give you a chance?

We started the season very slowly which was a surprise from how we had been playing last season. I think had we been able to play our game against Luton when it was originally planned rather than the rearranged date, this could have given us some momentum and belief if we were to get a result against them. Instead, this meant that our first 3 games before we picked up any points were Manchester City, Aston Villa and Tottenham – all teams who will now finish in the top 6. By the time we got our first points, we were already bottom of the league and almost cut adrift.

Of course, this wasn’t Luton’s fault, and rearranged fixtures are just one of those things, however it did make the struggle that we had for the remainder of the season a little bit harder.

Luton have fought valiantly, and they’ve done a lot better than most people thought they would, myself included. But they like ourselves and Sheffield United just lack a little bit of quality which would have possibly seen them stay up.


For those coming up in the car, do you have any advice on parking?

Your best bet is parking out of town and leaving yourself a little bit of time to walk to the ground, otherwise you’ll be stuck in the hundreds of different sets of traffic lights.

There is quite a bit of space to park on Queen Victoria Road which some away fans do use to park but it seems a lot do like to use the car park on the cricket field which is where you can also grab a drink.


Are there any pub recommendations you can offer to Forest fans?

Away fans always have a drink on the cricket field just behind the ground. This is a designated place for away fans to drink. I’d also recommend checking out the fanzone in the sports hall next to the ground.


How confident are you that Burnley can secure an immediate return to the Premier League next season?

At this moment in time, I do feel confident that we can bounce straight back up. However, I do think that the expectations have to be automatic promotion rather than play-offs for us to show that we have grown as a team to give us a proper chance in the following season.

This could of course change with the transfer window as I do expect us to lose some players who have been standouts this season such as Wilson Odobert. If we can manage to keep the core of the team, rather than a mass rebuild, then I’m confident of a swift return.


Finally – what’s been the best moment for Burnley this season?

There hasn’t really been any “stand-out” moments for us this season and having only won 5 games all season, it’s hard to say that there have been any great moments. I’d probably say that the 5-0 win over Sheffield United in December would have to be my favourite moment of the season. We opened the scoring just 15 seconds in and from then on, we didn’t stop attacking.

That game almost gave me the belief that we could stay up, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.


Thanks to Andrew for his insight from a Burnley perspective and for providing the images featured throughout the guide.

See everyone there.

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