Burnley FC draw line under Coyle
A NEW wind blew through Turf Moor on Tuesday night.
It swept away the dark cloud of hurt and disappointment that has lingered since Owen Coyle tore the heart out of the club in January.
Betrayal was followed by the pain of relegation, and Brian Laws bore the brunt of it all.
Coyle’s departure has been likened to your wife running off with the next door neighbour, and Laws has steadily set about mending Burnley fans’ hearts, and winning them over.
The legacy of the former boss has loomed large, and the footballing irony this Carling Cup tie threw up dragged it all up again.
But there were no taunts or jeers at the final whistle - just the most impassioned signing of “Brian Laws’ Claret and Blue Army” we have heard since he took over the reins.
It was a poignant moment, as if a ghost had been exorcised, as the supporters celebrated a victory that meant so much.
And Laws hopes everyone can now draw a line under the matter, and focus on driving Burnley back to the Premier League: “I’m glad it’s out of the way really.
“It was always in the background lingering and hopefully this had put it to bed and we can both move on.
“Maybe the supporters have got it off their chest now, and we can move on to a new era, concentrate on what we’ve got here and get the supporters right behind the players as they did.”
That support was fervently behind the side under Coyle as the club embarked on an incredible journey, and despite attempts to put on a brave face, with the “Together”campaign, some fans were reluctant to get behind the new man.
But this is Laws’ team - with only three players in the starting XI - and the fans are starting to see evidence that he can steer the club to success, while playing an attractive brand of football.
The backing the supporters gave both Laws and his players raised the hairs on the back of your neck, while chants containing both vitriol and humour rained down on Coyle.
Rarely can a Carling Cup third round win have been celebrated as vigorously.
It was a richly-deserved win as well, as the Clarets built on their excellent display at Crystal Palace on Saturday, setting a high tempo from the first whistle.
Burnley played as their former boss had encouraged them, with a freedom, aggression and flair.
And while Bolton, as you would expect with some fine performers on show, had their moments, don’t let the scoreline fool you, this was a convincing victory, which could and should have been more comprehensive.
Burnley, with Eagles at the hub of all their creative play, created a string of chances with positive attacking football, driving at full backs, whipping in crosses, picking out intelligent passes and producing some real moments of class, none more so than Eagles’ “rabona” pass to craft an opening for Jay Rodriguez in the closing minutes, wrapping his right foot around his standing leg to free the Burnley-born striker.
Wanderers, by that stage, had reverted to type, getting the ball forward early, and that was meat and drink to the outstanding Clarke Carlisle and Andre Bikey - who again enjoyed his evening, even popping up, to the consternation of his manager and centre back partner, on the left wing and up front in the second half!
That summed up Burnley’s adventure on the night, and how much they are clearly enjoying themselves at present.
To quote another former Clarets boss, they are playing with a chuckle in their boots again, and wins, and performances, like this can only lift them going into a big Championship double header.
The fact Burnley have taken yet another Premier League scalp at Turf Moor has almost been overlooked, but it won’t have been lost on Coyle that the scoreline - Burnley 1-0, Elliott - has a familiar ring to it.
Coyle may have given Clarets fans of this, and recent, generations, the best days of their lives, but there is no reason why these players can’t rediscover them.