Thursday, August 20, 2009
Last night newly promoted Burnley defeated defending Premier League champions Manchester United 1-0 for the first time in 41 years. Founder members of the 1888 Football League, they are nicknamed “the Clarets” because of their claret and blue club colours. They are based in Burnley, Lancashire, where Turf Moor has been their home ground since 1883.
For me – it all began in high school when Jeremy Schrire and Howard Shapiro ran an English football pool in our school: We all chipped in a couple of Rands, and guessed the results before the weekend’s football. I knew nothing about English football, but it seemed foolish to pick a team that everyone else followed, because the payouts were paltry when the popular teams won. So I decided to become a Burnley supporter, and Burnley and I enjoyed moderate success between 1973-1975.
I left school at the end of 1975, and Burnley left the top league of English football. And ever since then Burnley has drifted down the football leagues, until 1984 found them in the Fourth League, followed by an ignominious scramble to prevent relegation to the part-timers Conference League two years later. Bottom of the world… followed by a gradual rise through the leagues. Then a disasterous run of 19 losses in 2006/7 season, which was followed last year by the unexpected – but very welcome – championship playoff against Sheffield United to secure promotion to the Premiership.
Which is a long way around to discovering that I left school 33 years ago! Jeremy is now a successful stockbroker in London, and Howard is an Orthodox Rabbi in Israel.
Anyone for football pools?