A new book on Burnley Football Club's rise from the brink of oblivion in 1987 to seventh in the Premier League where they currently sit has been released, charting the Clarets' transformation into a force in English football once again.
'From Orient to the Emirates: The Plucky Rise of Burnley FC' by Tim Quelch tells the story of Burnley's recovery after narrowly escaping relegation to the Football Conference in 1987, which would have likely resulted in liquidation.
Without the help of ultra-rich benefactors, Burnley - once renowned for its advanced playing style, tactical and coaching innovations and flourishing youth policy - have since gone on to become a force at the top of English football.
"Before the [1987 club-saving] Orient game, the police came into our dressing room," said former Burnley player, Ashley Hoskin. "We knew that if we lost, they couldn't guarantee our safety. If you go back to the Hereford home game [lost 0-6], we weren't allowed outside of the dressing room, so God knows what would have happened, given the passion in the town."
Told in the words of those who took part in this incredible 30-year journey, the book is an uplifting account of success achieved very much against the odds, founded on indomitable spirit, canny planning and hard graft. As Burnley’s manager, Sean Dyche, puts it: “Minimum requirement: maximum effort.”
From home attendances of less than 2,000 to winning two out of three Wembley finals and going on to attract 20,000 fans when Hastings and Hartlepool, in similar, yet larger, deprived towns can muster around 300 and 3,000 respectively, Burnley's story has been one of the sport's most heartwarming.
"Given how far we have come in these thirty years, it is an amazing journey, but one which is far from over in many ways," said Mike Garlick, Chairman of the club. "Maybe it’s just beginning. Up the Clarets!"
The author, Tim Quelch, is a retired local government officer who has written five previous books, including 'Never Had It So Good,' a book about Burnley’s incredible 1959/60 Football League title triumph. All the proceeds from sales will be donated to Prostate Cancer UK.