Staying calm was impossible when my beloved Burnley denied a penalty which even Match of the Day pundits said was theirs / Dave Thomas column

It was on the drive over from Leeds to Burnley for the Norwich game that I was urged by Mrs T that I needed to be calmer and more tranquil.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 12:51 pm
Burnley fan and football writer Dave Thomas with his beloved team's manager Sean Dyche

Someone had just driven out in front of me from a side street and expletives filled the air.

If I say it was a woman driver, I shall be accused of being sexist. Yes, I know men drivers can be a pain, but on this occasion, it was indeed a woman. You may well ask do I really need to say it was a woman but in the interests of truthfulness yes, I do.

Anyway, I decided that Mrs T was right and tranquil became the word of the day. I ignored other annoying incidents with detached supercool. I did make a mental note of garages with petrol to fill up on the way home.

Sign up to our daily Burnley Express Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Leeds to Wetherby and back is just about a three-gallon job. The petrol needle was well below half, but I remained tranquil.

This was a game when a win would have been good but it was far too early to say it was a must-win. Perhaps we didn’t say that because we were reasonably confident that it was winnable.

Since the last visit (we had missed the Arsenal game) Dyche had signed his new four-year contract after

the Everton game. The reaction of fans on the airwaves was favourable despite not a home win (Rochdale apart) since January and just four wins in something like 25 games.

Ann, a friend of ours, said she had an image of Mrs Dyche saying to him, 'Er husband do you think you ought to get this contract signed before Mr Pace gives you the elbow?' Let me stress, this was just her imagination but it’s the sort of thing Mrs T might well say to me. Wives can be quite good at this sort of thing.

Lest anyone should say what a condescending 'so and so' I am; I am paying all wives a compliment.

For sure it’s hard to think of anyone else who could get us out of this bottom three position. He did it last year so folks are confident he can do it again. No pressure then.

Alas we did not beat Norwich and all attempts to remain tranquil failed miserably. I own up to being the sort of bloke who jumps up and remonstrates angrily and loudly with poor refereeing. I will jump up and bellow at opposition players that hack our own lads to the ground.

Tranquillity was at zero when I howled at Norwich ‘keeper Krull for his dreadful timewasting. We began to count the seconds that he wasted at free kicks and goal kicks and estimate he took nearly 10 minutes out of the game.

Then when he poleaxed Vydra with a punch to the head attempting to clear the ball I was up on my feet hollering at referee Friend for not awarding the penalty. My chum, former top referee Keith Hacket, said immediately penalty all day. So did the MOTD pundits. But this is Burnley and we don’t get deserved penalties.

One shouldn’t target one’s own players but let’s face it we do. Tranquil was the last word on my mind when Rodriguez hit thin air instead of the ball in a ‘he’s got to score’ position. Likewise, Dwight McNeil when the ball came to him as he was unmarked by the post. It took him by surprise. Chance gone.

When these things happen it’s hard to stay cool.

And so, it dragged on to be a 0-0 draw. We shuffled our way out of the stadium and into the rain. More black looks from me. I hate getting wet.

But consolation was just nine miles away. The Hare and Hounds in Todmorden, our regular feeding station on the way home. Shouting at referees makes me hungry and I needed something to restore my sagging spirits.

Steak pie, chips, gravy and mushy peas did just that.

My pal, Pete, had no appetite at all he was so depressed by the afternoon. Football eh? But me? Tranquillity was fully restored.