Former Burnley winger Glen Little on 'megging' Inchy, getting 'mugged off' by Chris Waddle and getting hit over the head with a beer bottle by Stan Ternent!

"I don't think Sean Dyche would put up with that. I'm not sure I'd have done it to him. Inchy was only about 5ft 6in so I think things might have been different. He would probably have put me through the gym wall!"

Glen Little of Burnley scores during the Birmingham City v Burnley Nationwide Division One match at St Andrews, Birmingham. DIGITAL IMAGE: Ross Kinnaird/ALLSPORT
Glen Little of Burnley scores during the Birmingham City v Burnley Nationwide Division One match at St Andrews, Birmingham. DIGITAL IMAGE: Ross Kinnaird/ALLSPORT

It would take a brave man to attempt any sort of trickery or tomfoolery with today's Burnley boss, particularly a mere stranger, but it was an improvised piece of showboating that would score Glen Little a move to the club some 24 years ago.

It was October 1996, the snow had carpeted the East Lancashire landscape and the Wimbledon-born winger had arrived from Glentoran for a trial at Turf Moor.

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Burnley, minus the 14-man matchday squad that was destined for Deepdale, had been forced indoors for training at the neighbouring sports centre, just a stone's throw away from the stadium.

Glen Little of Burnley shoots past Steve Livingstone of Grimsby Town to score the second goal during the FA Cup third round replay match held on January 14, 2003 at Turf Moor, in Burnley, England. Burnley won the match 4-0. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Nobody - aside from former Crystal Palace team-mate Damian Matthew - would know who Little was when he entered the building that day, but it's fair to say that he had already started to make a name for himself by the time he left it.

"We were training in the gym at the back of the Turf, they've done it up since because it wasn't the best, and Inchy came down," recalled Little.

"The boys couldn't believe it, they were saying 'what's the gaffer doing here? They've got a game at Preston tonight!'.

"I didn't know this at the time, but I was told by somebody that he'd come down especially to have a look at me.

Chris Waddle

"I was on fire, I was on the winning team and I think we won by about 10 goals in a 5-a-side game.

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"Inchy was actually on the opposite team and I set up about seven and scored three or four goals."

He added: "I always remember the icing on the cake as well; right at the end of the 5-a-side game the ball bounced off the wall, Inchy closed me down and on the half volley I nut-megged him with a back heel.

"To do that to the manager was just the icing on the cake. I've never really spoken to Inchy about it because he left at the end of the season, but he said in an interview [with the Burnley Express] that he rang Peter Reid afterwards and said 'we've got a Premier League player here. I can't believe we've got him!'

Glen Little of Burnley celebrates during the Nationwide Division 2 Match against Scunthorpe at Glanford Park, Scunthorpe, England. Burnley won 2-1. \ Photo by Mike Finn-Kelcey: Allsport UK/Allsport
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"That was nice of him. I remember thinking at the time 'if he doesn't sign me now, I'm never going to get signed!'

"Inchy invited me to the Preston game, a big derby with a great atmosphere, so I thought I'd have a bit of that."

Little, released by the Eagles in his late-teens having spent a decade at Selhurst Park, had been on the verge of a £100,000 move to Notts County having netted the winner in the Irish Cup final against Glenavon at Windsor Park.

Former Clarets midfielder Tommy Cassidy, who was in charge of the Glens at the time, had vowed to get the ex-Derry City loanee a move back across the Irish Sea should he impress at The Oval.

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Former Burnley FC boss Stan Ternent

Ultimately, both would keep their end of the bargain. Little scored 26 times in 75 starts for the 23-time league champions and Cassidy set the wheels in motion.

"Tommy told me that he'd love to have me at the club," said Little. "He gave me a two-year deal and said if I did well for him he'd get me a move back across the water.

"You can't always trust managers, but fair play to him because he stayed true to his word. As soon as the opportunity came he made it happen.

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"I'd heard a few rumours throughout the season and obviously when you score the winning goal in a cup final it carried them on during the summer.

"When I went back for pre-season it looked likely that I was going to leave, it was just a matter of where to.

"I had four or five options; St Mirren and Ayr United were interested, but then Notts County came in and put a bid in, which alerted Burnley."

Little had held talks with then Magpies boss Colin Murphy and, as far as he was concerned, a move to Meadow Lane would be signed, sealed and delivered.

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That, however, wouldn't be the case. Burnley showed their interest at the 11th hour and, eventually, Little would walk the same path as Cassidy, Alex Elder and Jimmy McIlroy.

"I thought it was done," said Little, in reference to a proposed switch to Nottingham. "I played a Wednesday night game and the manager came over, we won 4-0 and I scored twice.

"What a great time to come and watch! I'd heard all the rumours about Notts County, but it was just about whether they were going to put a bid in or not.

"I met him [Colin Murphy] in the hotel after the game and I thought it was pretty much done and dusted.

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"I was waiting on them to decide a fee and then it was a case of just waiting for the phone call and I'd be on my way.

"I went in on Friday night, got into the hotel, picked up the paper and it read 'Glentoran turn down £100k bid from Notts County'. I was fuming.

"The manager had told me that if I did well he'd get me the move. I wasn't happy so on Saturday I stormed into the ground, I was told the gaffer wanted to see me in his office and I just thought 'I bet he does'.

"I was never the type of person to shout my mouth off, but I do remember thinking it was out of order. Anyway, just as I was about to have a go, he said 'you won't be going to Notts County. You'll be going to Burnley'.

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"He explained it and that was it. Sometimes in football you just don't know what's going to happen, but you just need that bit of luck to be in the right place at the right time.

"If Tommy Cassidy had sold me to Notts County who knows where my career would have gone.

"Burnley already had links to the club with Jimmy McIlroy, Alex Elder and Tommy, so that was it really and the rest is history."

Injury prevented Little from making a real fist of things during Adrian Heath's short reign, but his ability had left a lasting impression on the ex-Everton forward.

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Little made nine appearances in Division Two during the 1996/97 season and featured twice in the FA Cup, including the 1-0 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield.

"Glen was, I can't tell you, he was a real talent," Heath had said.

"I called him in, and said 'what's happened? You're either on drugs, up for murder or on the run, because someone with your talent, shouldn't be coming on trial from an Irish club'."

Unfortunately, Little's talent and larger-than-life personality didn't have the same gravitational pull when it came to working with future bosses.

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He recalls being 'mugged off' by Chris Waddle and assistant Glenn Roeder, who had famously claimed that the winger 'wasn't fit to lace the boots' of the England great.

"He just mugged me off straight away really. I thought I'd done well in pre-season, I'd scored, I was setting goals up, but then the season started," he remembers.

"We had Watford away on the first game of the season, we had the team talk on Thursday, all the names were on the team sheet, except mine.

"I couldn't believe it. 'Where's my name?' I ended up shopping in Clitheroe on Saturday instead. It just went from there really, from the very first game of the season I wasn't picked.

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"I wasn't the type of person to have a row, get into any kind of trouble or cause a rift, I just got my head down and kept training and playing reserve games."

Little wouldn't make his first start until January 10th when league leaders Watford arrived at Turf Moor looking to pile even more misery on the Clarets.

But that wasn't the case. Burnley won the game 2-0 and, influenced by Little's excellence, went on to win four of the next five.

They would lose to Blackpool on home soil afterwards, get hit for five away at Wigan Athletic and squander a two-goal lead against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park, but Burnley would stave off relegation by the skin of their teeth with victory over Plymouth Argyle on the last day of term.

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Little said: "In the end I finally got my chance around Christmas time. I had to wait a while, I thought the coach driver and the kitman were going to get picked before me.

"When I did get the chance I think it's fair to say that I took it. My first start was against Watford, they were the league leaders, we won 2-0, I set up a goal for Cookey, and from that moment I never looked back.

"I had to keep it going. I played well and we ended up staying up on the last day. We could have gone down really, we were bottom of the league at Christmas and four teams went down. We did great to stay up."

Little added: "I always got on alright with Chris Waddle, I enjoyed playing when I got the chance and I've never held anything against him.

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"We always had a good relationship and once I got my chance there was never a problem. It was Glenn Roeder that said I wasn't fit to lace Chris Waddle's boots, but he was probably right!

"People felt that there was something there, but there wasn't. I still don't have a problem with him saying that to this day.

"I'd always respected Chris Waddle as a player and I remember being disappointed when he left at the end of the season.

"I never had a problem with Glenn either. I never had a chip on my shoulder, I just wanted to prove people wrong and let my football do the talking.

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"I think in 24 games I'd had 16 man of the match awards in the paper. I was in good form, but the Burnley Express was always nice to me! It was incredible to be playing that well in a team that had been battling against relegation."

Waddle's first experience of management would be his last. Just 10 days after he slalomed his way through a tsunami of supporters to head up the tunnel, reports of his departure were confirmed.

The man who followed needs no introduction. Stan Ternent made the term 'hairdryer treatment' sound like a relaxing procedure in a salon. And Little would often bear the brunt of those loud and heated tirades.

The pair weren't properly acquainted at Palace - when Ternent was Steve Coppell's number two - but that soon changed.

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"It was a roller-coaster with Stan," said Little. "We'd heard the stories from Bury so we were always walking on eggshells. We'd be on the phone for hours if I was to tell you all the stories!

"You never knew what was going to happen day-to-day, there was always something that could make him erupt or explode. You never knew when it was coming or who was going to get it, although it was me most of the time.

"That's what it was like, I was always the scapegoat. I remember Mitchell Thomas and Steve Davis pulling me after a game after we'd lost 2-1 against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road and he'd done me, saying it was my fault. They just said 'it's because he loves you!'

"The time you had to start worrying was when he didn't have a go at you. Stan was always my biggest supporter, but we did have run ins. I was the cocky southerner who thought he knew everything and Stan was the old taskmaster - and I was always right!

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"There was always confrontation and I always stood up to it. You had to be mentally tough to play for Stan."

Remember when Sir Alex Ferguson struck David Beckham with a boot? That was an act of endearment in comparison. Little revealed his 'love-hate' relationship with Ternent would often teeter on the brink of chaos.

"I wouldn't say they were 'hairdryer' moments, they were more right hooks and head butts," joked Little. "You never knew when it was coming. There'd be games when you were in front and everything seemed to be okay, but you'd go in at half-time and he'd explode, even though you were winning.

"Then there'd be games when you were losing and worried about what he was going to say and then nothing happened. You were always on edge. There was so much that happened and so many players that had rows with Stan.

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"He once hit me with a Budweiser bottle on the way back from Bournemouth. It was a 5-0 defeat and we got a load of beer and wine on the coach and he just came to the back, started hammering people, singling players out.

"We dropped Paul Crichton off at Warwick Services, it was his debut, but he actually did well for us in the end. It was 5-0 though on his debut, Stan had sunk a few bottles of red wine by this point, I shouted 'great debut Crichts' and Stan, who mentions it in his book, stood behind me and whacked me over the head with a Budweiser bottle.

"People tell me that they can't believe that and say 'didn't you do anything?' I said 'no, it could have been a big bottle of red wine instead. They're a lot bigger!'

"You just get on with it, whereas now you'd never get away with some of the things that happened. There's no doubt Stan would probably have got the sack today!"

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Little would go on to take his total number of appearances for the club to 282 under Ternent, scoring 36 times in the process, including the all-important goal at Glanford Park in 2000 to seal promotion.

He added: "It's just how it was in football, it's an environment like no other. It was part and parcel of football then, you didn't make a fuss.

"We had a few run ins, he gave me the right hook once, we had a bit of a scrap, but I just got on with it. Nothing bothered me. I was full of confidence, full of belief and nothing could get to me.

"People would have a hump, they'd leave, but when you spoke to them at a game they'd all say 'I'd come back tomorrow to play for Stan'. They'd have had a face-off, a scrap, but they would all say the same thing.

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"That was the kind of relationship you had, it's just the way it was. It was a love-hate bond, but he got the best out of a squad that probably shouldn't have achieved what it did."

In the end, though, they shared an emotional afternoon together on May 9th, 2004 as their time at Turf Moor came to an end.

Little, who was told 'no' by Ternent when Manchester City came calling, concluded: "It was great of Stan to make me captain and I scored. We went 1-0 up [against Sunderland] and gave away two poor goals, which probably summed up our season. The good thing was that we were safe because I would have hated to have left after relegation.

"As it was I left the club in a better position than where it was when I joined. They lived to fight another day.

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"It was emotional, I had a tear in my eye when I was walking around with my best friend, Paul Weller, who had played his last game and it was Stan's last game. It was the only time I've had a tear in my eye because it was tough to leave. I loved playing for Burnley."