Burnley living the dream - a far cry from 20 years ago!

Stan Ternent, Frank Teasdale and Sam Ellis
Stan Ternent, Frank Teasdale and Sam Ellis
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To see how far Burnley have come in a relatively short space of time, you only have to look at Burnley’s fixtures this week, and the events of August 1998.

You have to pinch yourself when you look at the Clarets’ next two games.

On Thursday night, they host record 44-time Greek Champions Olympiakos in the second leg of their Europa League play-off tie.

And then on Sunday, they are at home to Manchester United, whose 20 English titles is also a record.

It’s a far cry from 20 years ago, almost to the day, when the Clarets were losing at home to York City, as Stan Ternent declared: “It's not personal, it's business-wise. Steve Blatherwick, Lee Howey, Mark Winstanley and to a lesser degree Michael Williams, because he will never win the crowd over, will not play for Burnley Football Club again.

"They are not right for Burnley and they are not coming from where I am coming from.

"They are on the transfer list. They can go on a free transfer. I want them out of the place. They are no good to me."

That jaw-dropping bombshell from Ternent came at the start of his six-year reign, marked by promotion the following season.

Burnley have remained in the top two tiers ever since.

And while the Clarets have made a slow start in the Premier League this term, and have a 3-1 deficit to overcome against Olympiakos, boss Sean Dyche admits it is a memorable period in the club’s history: “It is a special time for the club and one to be enjoyed, but the best way to do that is to win games.

“The best times in this club’s history will be from success, so our challenge is to win matches.

“We have had a mixed start. The Europa League is a different challenge and it’s important in the league we get back to winning ways.

“Behind all of that you can only reference your time at a club, and I have been here five and a half years and where it is now to where it was then is a massive, massive difference.

“All of the Burnley fans recognise and respect that but like me and the team they’re hungry to make sure we continue these good days.”

As Burnley look for the win to extend their European tour, Dyche will be without Johann Berg Gudmundsson, as well as Robbie Brady and Steven Defour.

Gudmundsson picked up a hamstring problem at Fulham, and he said: “It’s not too serious. He won’t make the international games during the break.

“It’s a loss to us, he had a good season last season, a good summer and he’d started this season well.”

And on Brady, he added: “Robbie is getting closer, Steven is still a bit behind that.

“You can’t help the injuries, but if the market had gone to plan it would have been fantastic because we’d be all ready for the challenge, but it’s put a bit of a stretch on it.

“We’ve still got to get Robbie through a decent games programme and get him properly fit, but he’s looking bright, he’s really happy to be back out there.

“He’s had a couple of niggly injuries on his way back to full fitness, so he’s had an interrupted games programme so we’ve got to pick that up again next week.”

Summer signing Matej Vydra could make his debut, however, after playing an hour for the Under 23s on Tuesday: “He’ll be around it. I haven’t made a decision on the actual side yet, I’ve got the basis of it.

“He played against yesterday but just 60 minutes to keep his eye in.”