Friday, 30 November 2007

'We are Burnley, super Burnley'

'We are Burnley, super Burnley, from the north, no one likes us, we don't care.' My return to The Valley occurred when it was a three sided ground and the only way I could get in was to go to the Jimmy Seed Stand with a Clarets supporting friend to see Charlton win 3-0 in the FA Cup. Another memory is of us beating them 4-0 in the League Cup with the Bloke Behind Me screaming 'they're all over you Charlton.'

Last year I went up to Turf Moor to see Burnely play Hull in the Championship. After a pub lunch in a beautiful village, I drove through some of the worst scenes of urban devastation I have seen outside the States to sit on wooden seats.

Back in 1960 it was possible for Burnley to win the top flight. Bob Lord was then the chairman, often described as a butcher, but in fact the head of a substantial meat processing business. But the idea of a small town club (Burnley has a population of around 50,000) winning the top flight under such leadership would be impossible today. Still, if they need some spin doctoring, fan Alastair Campbell is on hand.

Tomorrow's match is a good one for those who like to read off results. Burnley beat Watford away in the week, Charlton lost at home, ergo Burnley will win.

The 4-5-1 formation has worked well for Charlton away from home, particularly since it can easily become a 4-3-3. However, the Blades countered our formation with a change to their own. It also depends on the wingers being on top form and it appears that Sam was well below par on Tuesday. The 4-5-1 also encourages the hoofing of long balls to Leaburn, sorry Iwelumo.

So a reversion to 4-4-2? Unfortunately, Varney and Iwelumo do not combine all that well. Some favour bringing in McLeod, but in my view he is an exponent of the Bradley Allen school of striking, rushing energetically around the pitch to no great effect. I would play a version of 4-5-1 in which Zheng Zhi made sure he was right in behind Iwelumo.

Reid has been below par since he came back from the international break, but it would be a radical step for Pards to rest him. However, we must avoid the temptation of trying to play every ball through him.

I think that despite our poor home record we could actually win this match and I am going for 2-1 to the Addicks.

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