Burnley Council leader ‘disheartened’ by Clarets fans who booed players taking the knee vs Man City

The highly anticipated comeback to the Premier League is over and almost as if destined, Vincent Kompany faced off against the club where he solidified his legendary status against his former manager and mentor in the season curtain raiser.
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In all honesty, it's doubtful that any Burnley fan truly believed we could secure a positive outcome against the reigning European champions. However, despite the defeat the initial indications suggest that we are poised to put up a fight in this league.

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As a council, we acknowledge the significance of the football club's success on the field and the impact it can have on the rest of the town. When the club performs well, it has a positive ripple effect on the entire community. There's a tangible sense of optimism.

Burnley Council leader Afrasiab AnwarBurnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar
Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar
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Just as we're reshaping the town's image through various developments, new opportunities, and shaping the narrative, with the goal of transforming Burnley into a vibrant university town that aspires for growth while cherishing its heritage, the football club is also undergoing a parallel transformation. Under the guidance of the new ownership and manager, the club is evolving into a contemporary and inclusive institution that reflects our identity.

That is why It's disheartening to witness a gesture like taking the knee being met with boos from a section of the stadium. Regardless of your stance on whether the gesture has fulfilled its purpose or introduced politics into sports, we must consider the broader impact. This extends beyond personal opinions—it's about the image we project to a global audience about Burnley as a whole: the town, the club, and its people.

Being in the Premier League and having a manager with such a high profile means that the global spotlight is on us. We're under scrutiny for once, for all the right reasons. This offers us a platform to exhibit who we are. Given the ongoing investments and the influx of visitors to Burnley, the headlines shouldn't revolve around the negative reaction to taking the knee. While it might be a vocal minority and the applause outweighs the jeers, those participating in the boos ought to engage in self-reflection.

As a person of colour seated in the stands alongside my young daughter, witnessing that incident was uncomfortable. It became even more unsettling when she inquired about the reasons behind the boos. I found myself struggling to find the right words to explain it to her.

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Additionally, the manager's post-match interview should centre on the football, rather than requiring him to address his emotions. His response displayed class, respect, and elegance, underscoring his exceptional character. He shouldn't be placed in such a position. Perhaps it's time for those who choose to boo to exhibit the same level of grace.

Frankly, the manager having to answer such questions is embarrassing and sets the club, the town and all of us back. It undermines all the great work taking place.

Our team boasts its most diverse line-up ever, it's time we held ourselves to a higher standard.