Clarets skipper Jason Shackell has revealed his pride at leading Burnley back to the Premier League.
The 30-year-old played every minute of everygame over the season as the Clarets finished as Championship runners-up.
He was the only ever-present in the side, and his consistency of performance was noted by his peers, who voted him into the PFA team of the season, as one of two centre backs, alongside champions Leicester City’s Wes Morgan.
Shackell, promoted with Norwich City in 2004 and Wolves in 2009, said: “It’s been incredible, it’s been an unreal season in so many ways.
“It’s been brilliant to play in every game and a lot of the lads have played a lot of the games.
“They’ve all kept themselves fit and healthy and have done fantastically well.
“It’s just been a great year.
“From day one of pre-season people were writing us off, saying we had a small squad, but I couldn’t be more proud to be their captain.
“They’ve worked so hard and been fantastic.
“The gaffer wants a tight-knit group that would work hard and go the extra mile for each other, and we’ve shown that on numerous occasions where we could have gone under but we didn’t.
“We came together and pushed on again.”
Shackell kept his focus to the end, even after promotion was secured, clearing a shot from Pavel Pogrebnyak off the line late on to deny Reading victory in the final game, and he smiled: “That was a case of right place, right time, but you could pick out so many moments over the season, Blackpool away, Tripps heading it over the bar, phenomenal.
“Everyone has played their part, even the lads who haven’t played as much. It’s just been an incredible year.”
Of those many moments, Shackell’s own personal favourite was scoring the equaliser as Burnley went on to beat old enemy Blackburn Rovers for the first time since 1979: “Obviously it’s got to be the Blackburn game, beating them and scoring against them was unreal.”
And last week’s open top bus parade was a great end to a couple of weeks of celebration, before a well-deserved break: “That was a nice way to cap it all off, for the players and the fans, and it’s obvious it means a lot to the town. We’ll now go away for a few weeks and get ready again for the next challenge.”