Bad luck but it’s no Greek tragedy for Burnley
FANS arrived at Turf Moor hoping for a promotion party, but 27 shots later it had turned into a very strange kind of horror show.
If some wondered why Sean Dyche had banned all talk of the Premier League, his reasoning was a little clearer on Saturday night. As Lenny Kravitz once put it, it ain’t over till it’s over.
Dyche has been in the game long enough to know that fortunes can turn when you least expect it, and when you least deserve it.
That, as it turned out, was exactly what happened on Saturday. Despite their best efforts, Burnley just could not score.
As chance after chance went begging, the cries from the Clarets fans became ever more incredulous.
Middlesbrough’s Greek goalkeeper was having his Jan Tomaszewski moment.
Konstantopoulos? More like constant frustration, as he flew across his goal to deny the Clarets time and again.
As far as worst case scenarios go, this is far from the most dire predicament Burnley have ever been left in. They still lead Derby by eight points with only four games left to play.
But victory for the Rams and defeat for Burnley on Saturday meant that not only could the Clarets not celebrate promotion at Turf Moor at the weekend, but now they will not be able to celebrate it at Bloomfield Road on Friday either.
Burnley can go up that day if they win at Blackpool, and Derby fail to secure victory at Doncaster.
But with Derby’s game kicking off at 7.30pm – two and a quarter hours after Burnley – fans and players will have left Bloomfield Road by the time news comes through of the Rams’ result.
If you had the luxury of stage-managing these things, it would almost be better for promotion to be sealed at home to Wigan on Easter Monday now.
There have been examples down the years of virtually unassailable leads being squandered in sport.
Think Newcastle United in the 1995/96 Premier League title race, Greg Norman at the Masters, or Lewis Hamilton in his debut Formula 1 season.
Then there was New Zealand losing the America’s Cup 9-8 to Ben Ainslie’s Team USA from 8-1 up last year, or the infamous Devon Loch at the Grand National.
But in truth, Burnley should have no such worries.
In recent seasons, Hull, Southampton and West Brom have all had similar advantages in the promotion race at this stage of the season. All went up.
Burnley showed no signs of bottling it on Saturday, just signs of being desperately unlucky.
Surely that sort of unbelievable bad luck cannot go on for four more games.
Promotion is on hold for now, but Burnley’s time will come.
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