On This Day: Former Burnley midfielder Chris McCann still owns scrapbooks of Championship play-off win at Wembley 11 years ago

Chris McCann still owns a collection of scrapbooks that encapsulates every happy memory from Burnley’s promotion-winning campaign in the Championship 11 years ago.
The Clarets celebrate at Wembley in 2009The Clarets celebrate at Wembley in 2009
The Clarets celebrate at Wembley in 2009

The midfielder, who now owns the captain's armband at Oldham Athletic after switching from MLS outfit DC United, made sure he didn’t leave his albums behind when crossing the pond to start a new life in America three years ago.

The 31-year-old, who was speaking exclusively to the Burnley Express from his former base in Washington last year, featured in 58 of the 61 games played by the Clarets that term, in what turned out to be one of the most celebrated seasons in the club’s recent history.

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The Irishman played an integral role in that success under Owen Coyle a decade ago, playing all but 10 minutes of the ‘Capital Punishment’ League Cup run that took the Clarets to within minutes of the competition’s showpiece.

Chris McCann is challenged by former Burnley midfielder George BoydChris McCann is challenged by former Burnley midfielder George Boyd
Chris McCann is challenged by former Burnley midfielder George Boyd

McCann, who made 269 appearances in all for Burnley, netting 31 times, said: “It’s incredible, it doesn’t seem like it’s been 10 years since we won that.

“I still think about it all the time. I was watching the play-offs on the TV the other day over here and I was thinking that it can’t be 10 years. It’s just flown by so quickly.

“I still remember going down to the hotel that day, I still remember going to the stadium for the game and all that came after in the town with the parade.

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“When you grow up and you’re playing football all you want to do is play at Wembley. Winning a cup at Wembley is what kids dream of doing.

Chris McCann and former Chelsea star DecoChris McCann and former Chelsea star Deco
Chris McCann and former Chelsea star Deco

“I’ve done it and it was an amazing feeling. My family was there as well and it’s something that we all still look back on.

“I have all the scrapbooks at home from everything that happened that year. It was just an amazing year with a good group of lads.

“I think when you find a connection with a group of lads, you all get along and results go your way, it’s the kind of year that you don’t want to end.

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“You just get on a roll, like we did in the cup when we got to the semi-final. Unfortunately we went out, but that didn’t stop us.”

That afternoon, playing in the baking heat under the Wembley arch, had started off so well for McCann.

It was his drive towards the edge of the penalty area, when his pathway was blocked by the challenge of Matt Kilgallon, that led to Wade Elliott clipping a beautiful first time shot past Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.

However, McCann’s involvement was halted prematurely when he limped off injured 27 minutes in to the final having sustained a knee injury.

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The former captain at Turf Moor said: “It’s one of those things. I was glad to be a part of the whole situation and I was glad to be out on the field that day with the guys.

“It was sad that I came off but it was just a great experience, especially having your family there watching you as well.

“It’s a proud moment for everybody and you’ll always think back to those days. It was an amazing year and it was even more special that we won it.”

That disappointment, though, won’t detract from everything else he experienced on one of the most momentous days of his career.

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“You’ve done all your preparation and it was such a big build up that you just wanted to get the game started,” he said.

People say that you must have felt a lot of pressure and stress, but I think it’s a privilege to be put under such pressure and you should relish it.

“We had nothing to lose, everybody had tipped us for relegation at the start of the season, but we blew everybody’s expectations out of the water.

“That’s what happens when you have a good, solid group of players. We just wanted to fight for each other, focus on what we do and then the early goal settled us. Wadey’s wonder goal sealed the deal and the rest is history.”