BEN Mee has revealed that manager Sean Dyche gave an emotional speech to his players after clinching promotion.
The Clarets boss gathered the squad together in the dressing room after Easter Monday’s 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic guaranteed Premier League football will return to Turf Moor next season.
It was a feat few expected, an outcome Mee admits he did not anticipate when he first joined the club in the summer of 2011, but one that Dyche told them they deserved.
“I got a bit emotional at the end when the gaffer was talking,” Mee admitted.
“He was just saying he was really proud of us and we’d worked hard towards this from the very start of the season.
“It’s just a great feeling.
“All the lads have pulled together and have worked so hard, it was brilliant at the end of that game.
“We’ve put so much into this season, and it’s finally come to light. It’s amazing.”
Mee began his career at Manchester City, but after coming through the club's youth ranks found first team opportunities limited and, along with Kieran Trippier, made Burnley his new, permanent home in January 2012 after both had successful loan spells.
Now both are already looking forward to going back to the Etihad next season as members of the opposition.
But Mee admits it is an outcome he could only have dreamed of when he joined the club.
“It’s a difficult one, you want to step up, just this year has been fantastic. The lads have all pulled together and it’s more than I could have hoped for this season.
“I’m glad I’ve played the majority of games and stayed fit.
“That was the main thing for me this year, getting a lot of games in.
“This is an absolute massive bonus for me,” said the 24-year-old, contemplating promotion.
“We can say it now,” he smiled.
It is a word that had been wiped from their vocabulary for fear of it becoming a distraction.
“At the beginning of the season when we were up at the top with a great start, we believed all along really.
“From the moment we started playing we thought ‘we can do this’ but it was underneath,” he explained.
“We weren’t showing it off or anything or talking about it – the gaffer was adamant we weren't going to talk about it.
“But we believed in ourselves that we were going to do it.”
Mee said back-to-back home wins over Nottingham Forest and Derby had reinforced Burnley’s belief that promotion was possible.
“They were big tests, and when we went through them you’re thinking ‘we can go and beat anyone here, we can beat anyone at our place’,” he said.
“At the start of the season when we were at the top and playing so well and we were taking that into every game.
“The team spirit and everyone pulling in one direction, it was fantastic to be involved in and to play in. It’s been a great season.”
He added: “Monday was a big test of our mental abilities to see it out, and we saw it out comfortably in the end really.
“Hopefully everyone can enjoy it. All the fans will enjoy it and we certainly will.
“It’s my best moment in football by a mile, best season. It’s been unbelievable, to work with this group of lads and the staff and everything, it’s been really enjoyable. It’s fantastic.”
And Mee said it was good to share the moment with striker Sam Vokes, whose season had been cruelly cut short by a cruciate knee ligament injury after contributing 21 goals.
“The celebrations at the end, bringing Vokesy in, it was fantastic.
“He was getting a bit emotional and it was nice to involve him. We were trying not to jump on him too much. It was great.”