Clarets' first meeting with Yeovil one to savour
BURNLEY are set for a rare first meeting tomorrow, with Yeovil Town recorded as new opposition for the Clarets, poignantly in the Football League’s 125th anniversary year.
It is 15 years since the club last encountered such a situation - against Macclesfield in the old Second Division.
The initial 1988/89 clash did not go well, with Burnley suffering a late 2-1 defeat at the Moss Rose.
There were better memories of the re-match, although the Clarets trailed 2-0 at home in the early stages, and later 3-2, before fighting back to win 4-3 thanks to a last-minute goal from Steve Davis (the second).
Such firsts have since been limited to cup clashes, with Burnley working their way up to the second tier in 2000 and not looking back.
And club historian Ray Simpson believes that is how it is likely to stay. He feels first league meetings will become a dying art as far as Burnley are concerned, for as long as they maintain their status in the top two divisions of English football.
“Hopefully it’s going to be an unusual occurrence for us because we are going to be at the top end,” he said.
“Teams in what traditionalists call the Fourth Division are likely to be coming up against teams for the first time quite regularly with teams in the Conference having a chance of coming through into that league.
“With the likes of Fleetwood and Crawley having cash injections it is possible for them to motor through the divisions.
“Yeovil are a classic case of that.
“They only seem to have been in the league for five minutes and already they’re in the Championship.
“So it is possible.
“But it is more likely that we would come up against these clubs in cup competitions.”
As well as Fleetwood and Crawley, League One Stevenage would be a new opponent for Burnley too.
The situation surrounding AFC Wimbledon though would be up to an individual’s judgement, says Simpson.
“AFC Wimbledon would count as a first,” he said.
“From a statistical points of view I’ve taken what used to be Wimbledon’s results as MK Dons’ results.
“But I don’t think it’s as straightforward as that now because MK Dons decided to get rid of all their history concerning their former life.
“They are two separate teams.
“I suppose you would have to qualify whatever stance you take.”
A specially engraved crystal plaque has been commissioned to mark the first meeting between Burnley and Yeovil tomorrow, and will be presented to a Glovers’ representative.
The idea was the brainchild of Simpson when a cup draw handed the Clarets their first meeting with Burton Albion in January 2011.
“I floated the idea to then chairman Barry Kilby when the cup draw was made and he was in favour of it,” Simpson explained.
“It’s something we said we would look to carry on and we did the same when Sparta Rotterdam visited for a pre-season friendly last month.
“We’ve got a few from other clubs in our trophy cabinet, so I thought it would be a good idea.”
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