ROBBIE Blake insists “history can repeat itself” as Burnley look to cause another Premier League upset against Manchester United today.
It is five years since the former striker famously scored the winner against the then title holders.
Of the 167 career goals Blake scored, he counts that stunning, unstoppable volley as his best.
“It’s at the top. The whole occasion, the first game in the Premier League for the club, against Manchester United and how the goal came about,” he said.
But Blake hopes the moment can be eclipsed by one of the current Clarets crop. “It’s great for the club to be back in the Premier League and to be facing Manchester United so early again,” said the 38-year-old, who is guest of broadcasters BT Sport and the club for the lunchtime kick-off.
“Hopefully they can have the same result.
“History can repeat itself, especially with the circumstances at the moment. United seem a little fragile and hopefully that can keep going.”
Recounting the occasion the last time Burnley hosted United, Blake added: “Beforehand, knowing we were playing the champions there was no better game for the first in the Premier League in the club’s history. It was just sheer excitement at the start.
“Once the game got going and we were winning we were full of adrenaline.
“It took a while to sink in afterwards.
“But as a team we had to get ready for the next game at home to Everton on the Saturday, and the manager made sure we were focused on it.
“He did a good job, because we won that game as well.”
Back-to-back home wins fuelled confidence that they could survive and secure a second season.
But a mid-season change of manager ended such optimism.
“After eight or 10 games, when everyone expected to have nothing we were sitting with a nice points tally,” he said.
“If Owen Coyle had stayed we would definitely have stayed up.
“It was a turning point. Everyone knew it. Everyone was so settled up to that time.
“For the manager to go – as a group of players you do get on with it, but it unsettled us.
“Brian Laws came in and tried to tinker a few things when we weren’t in a position to do that. We needed to stay with what knew and that’s another reason why we suffered.”
Blake is sure that if the squad and staff can stick together this time around Burnley can go one better than the class of 2009/10 and stay up.
“The manager has done a fantastic job and they’ve got good players there. They’ve got to play to their maximum but I’m sure they’re capable of that,” he said.
“Danny Ings can score goals and if he gets the chances he will do.”
Blake would love him to start today, and follow his lead from August 2009.
“I wouldn’t class myself as a hero. It was just nice to score an important goal,” he said.
“I hope someone can do that again tomorrow – not just Danny Ings, but anyone, as long as Burnley get the win.”
After leaving Turf Moor in 2010, Blake’s Premier League career continued with Bolton Wanderers for two seasons.
He went on to join Doncaster Rovers, but has now retired from professional football and is working towards his UEFA coaching badges for a route back into the game.
“I don’t regret it, but I should have stayed at Burnley,” said Blake, who had two spells with the Clarets.
“I had a talk with Brendan Flood at the time but I told him I couldn’t stay at the club as long as Brian Laws was there.
“It was nothing against him, we hadn’t had a fall-out or anything, but I was just never going to play or be involved I felt. For reasons I don’t know he didn’t want me there. There were times when I wasn’t even on the bench at Burnley. I wasn’t even involved.
“The fans thought that I just wanted to go to Bolton but that wasn’t the case.
“At my age I just thought I could go on and play somewhere else.
“But I never wanted to leave Burnley.”