Global Clarets: New Zealand teacher gets Kiwi kids supporting Burnley FC
Converted by their Burnley-born teacher, more than 100 primary school kids in New Zealand have embraced the Clarets after watching Sean Dyche's side face Aberdeen in Europa League qualifying.
Despite residing some 11,300 miles away from Turf Moor on Waiheke Island off the coast of Auckland in New Zealand, East Lancashire native Mickala Venn has spread her love for the Clarets to her adopted Kiwi countrymen.
Working at Te Huruhi School on the island, which is almost two hours' travel away from Auckland via a couple of buses and a ferry, Mickala left the UK in 2003 to go travelling and settled in New Zealand.But despite upping her geographical roots in Burnley and relocating them to the other side of the world, the staunch Claret fan has never let her passion for Burnley FC die.
"I'm a primary teacher at the local school; my class followed Burnley in their latest endeavours as we battled it out with Aberdeen, who were closely supported by a fellow teacher and his class - almost 100 kids altogether," said Mickala. "Our classes got together and watched both legs. It made for a lot of fun, practical jokes, and laughs for a good six weeks leading up to the matches!"
Securing their progress into the next qualifying round following a 0-0 away draw and a 3-1 victory at home after extra time against Aberdeen, Burnley - equipped with their international support - went to Turkey to earn a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Istanbul-based BaÅŸakÅŸehir, who are due back in Lancashire for the second leg this Thursday.
Looking to help Sean Dyche's men turf the Turkish club out of the competition to continue Burnley's first run in European competition for over half a century is Kiwi striker Chris Wood. Born just across the Hauraki Gulf from Waiheke Island in New Zealand's biggest city of Auckland, Wood has scored 12 goals in 29 games for the Clarets since his Â£16m move from Leeds United last year.
"Chris Wood might be glad to see [the support he's getting]!" said Mickala. "Nga mihi nui - kind regards!"