Phelan: I'll be supporting Burnley against my old club

Mike Phelan

Mike Phelan

First published in Sport This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Burnley FC reporter

MIKE Phelan was on the Manchester United payroll for almost 20 years in total, as player, coach and – for the last five of them – Sir Alex Ferguson’s right hand man.

But he knows where his loyalties lie tomorrow.

Born in Nelson, on September 24, 1962, at the age of 18 he achieved his dream of playing for boyhood club Burnley.

Now his beloved Clarets are back among the big boys, with United next up at Turf Moor.

Phelan will be there.

He was on the bench for the opposition last time, in his role of assistant manager.

Tomorrow he will be in the home end, hoping for a home win.

While he will be rooting for Manchester United for the rest of the course, he is supporting the club where his love of football is rooted first and foremost.

There is no fence to sit on for Phelan.

“No,” he said emphatically. “I’m sitting in the Burnley end.

“I’m a guest there so I’ll be somewhere in the Bob Lord (Stand).

“I won’t have a scarf on. But it will be an interesting game from my perspective.”

Now, more than a year after Sir Alex’s retirement also brought an end to Phelan’s time at Old Trafford, the 51-year-old admits he is still adjusting to life as a fan.

“I haven’t had to do it much for the last 20-odd years,” he said.

“It’s difficult because you watch the game a little bit differently and it’s more about the tactical side of it and things like that you tend to watch rather than the game of football itself.”

Robbie Blake famously scored the winner the last time Manchester United were at Turf Moor – a bitter-sweet moment for Phelan.

“It was mixed emotions really. You work for one club but you support the other. I got off lightly,” said the ex-Claret, who is looking for a route back into coaching, or management.

He would not bet against a repeat outcome five years on, as both sides battle to overcome a difficult start to the season and get their for their first win.

“It means different things for both teams. It would be great for Burnley to get a point or some points on the board as quickly as possible and the next home game is Manchester United.

“For Manchester United it’s still part of a process that’s going on there at the moment and they could be vulnerable at this moment in time.

“All the odds are stacked against Burnley because of who they’re playing, but the game of football tells you that if you turn up on the day and your attitude’s good you can give anybody a game.”

United expect to give a debut to their British transfer record breaking signing Angel di Maria.

Burnley’s budget for their entire squad is dwarfed by the £59.7m spent on the former Real Madrid winger, just one indicator of how much the Premier League has pushed on Phelan describes the gulf between the Championship and top flight as “huge”.

“Sean knows exactly what his situation is at Burnley Football Club, he’s committed to the club and I’m sure he’ll do whatever he possibly can to make Burnley successful in the league,” said Phelan.

But Di Maria’s arrival was not the biggest story of the day, as on the night that Burnley bowed out of the Capital One Cup with a 1-0 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, United were thumped 4-0 at League One MK Dons.

Although new manager Louis van Gaal admitted he was “not shocked”, with an opening day defeat at home to Swansea and draw at Sunderland last weekend, it is not the start the former Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Netherlands manager would have anticipated.

Could this be a good time to play United, or should Burnley be braced for a backlash?

“They’re going to have to play against all the big teams, that’s what they got promoted for, to play the big teams,” said Phelan.

“Playing them early can be good but as they found out against Chelsea it is difficult and every game is difficult because once you’ve played Chelsea, Manchester United come along in the next (home) game.

“There’s no relaxing. You know you’ve arrived.”

Comments (15)

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5:11pm Fri 29 Aug 14

TurfMoorTom says...

Someone told me Douche and Phelan were going on the teatime BBC gameshow hosted by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman. They must be doing well as my mate says they'll still be pointless on Monday. At least I think that's what they meant??
Someone told me Douche and Phelan were going on the teatime BBC gameshow hosted by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman. They must be doing well as my mate says they'll still be pointless on Monday. At least I think that's what they meant?? TurfMoorTom
  • Score: -29

5:43pm Fri 29 Aug 14

garry_stockton says...

TMT if you think that you are thinking, then you are deluding yourself.
TMT if you think that you are thinking, then you are deluding yourself. garry_stockton
  • Score: 14

5:45pm Fri 29 Aug 14

noddy57 says...

why has no-one come in for the old utd no 2 ? with his time under a class act like Ferguson you would have thought he would have found a premiership job by now. mind you we Blackburn fan,s thought the same about Brian kidd when he came from utd having been no 2 to fergy.
why has no-one come in for the old utd no 2 ? with his time under a class act like Ferguson you would have thought he would have found a premiership job by now. mind you we Blackburn fan,s thought the same about Brian kidd when he came from utd having been no 2 to fergy. noddy57
  • Score: -1

6:06pm Fri 29 Aug 14

TurfMoorTom says...

garry_stockton wrote:
TMT if you think that you are thinking, then you are deluding yourself.
The only thing I think is that I think you think that I think I'm thinking. Either way, Bumleys campaign is still pointless.
[quote][p][bold]garry_stockton[/bold] wrote: TMT if you think that you are thinking, then you are deluding yourself.[/p][/quote]The only thing I think is that I think you think that I think I'm thinking. Either way, Bumleys campaign is still pointless. TurfMoorTom
  • Score: -19

6:59pm Fri 29 Aug 14

AnotherPounding4Burnley says...

Well Phelan supporting Burnley will guarantee a win won't it? oh..................
...hang on a minute, he'd probably be better off pulling his boots on.
Well Phelan supporting Burnley will guarantee a win won't it? oh.................. ...hang on a minute, he'd probably be better off pulling his boots on. AnotherPounding4Burnley
  • Score: -14

7:23pm Fri 29 Aug 14

BRFC:ThePeoplesChampions says...

So, Phelan's supporting B*rnley, eh? That'll make spot the crowd a bit easier on Saturday.....where to put that cross?
So, Phelan's supporting B*rnley, eh? That'll make spot the crowd a bit easier on Saturday.....where to put that cross? BRFC:ThePeoplesChampions
  • Score: -19

7:25pm Fri 29 Aug 14

eddyo says...

Who cares what the waterboy and official banana peeler thinks. His job was to yes sir, no sir Alec Ferguson and pick his gum up from the pitch.
*
Fergie's right hand man? I bet he used his left hand as well - banker.
Who cares what the waterboy and official banana peeler thinks. His job was to yes sir, no sir Alec Ferguson and pick his gum up from the pitch. * Fergie's right hand man? I bet he used his left hand as well - banker. eddyo
  • Score: -14

11:52pm Fri 29 Aug 14

peely says...

He fancies his chances for ginger,s job when he leaves that's why he,s supporting Burnley - job seeker and brownoser first class !
He fancies his chances for ginger,s job when he leaves that's why he,s supporting Burnley - job seeker and brownoser first class ! peely
  • Score: -3

12:07am Sat 30 Aug 14

BRFC:ThePeoplesChampions says...

Phelan looks like any bloke sat on the bog having a dump in that picture. It's his eyes.
Phelan looks like any bloke sat on the bog having a dump in that picture. It's his eyes. BRFC:ThePeoplesChampions
  • Score: -10

8:48am Sat 30 Aug 14

Crispy Bacon says...

Since the serial name-changer seems to enjoy the ridicule he gets on here and the contempt in which he is held, as witnessed by the thumbs downs he must love, we are safe to add the term 'masochist' to the provable adjectives that he demonstrates on a daily basis; liar, hypocrite, coward, doom-monger, deeply ignorant, prediction disaster-zone, psychotic, schizophrenic, benefits-sponger, you know, the regular things he's good at.

How long is it since those slave-drivers gave you a day off from your oh-so-imprtant task, Barry? It must be more than five years mustn't it?
Since the serial name-changer seems to enjoy the ridicule he gets on here and the contempt in which he is held, as witnessed by the thumbs downs he must love, we are safe to add the term 'masochist' to the provable adjectives that he demonstrates on a daily basis; liar, hypocrite, coward, doom-monger, deeply ignorant, prediction disaster-zone, psychotic, schizophrenic, benefits-sponger, you know, the regular things he's good at. How long is it since those slave-drivers gave you a day off from your oh-so-imprtant task, Barry? It must be more than five years mustn't it? Crispy Bacon
  • Score: 7

9:04am Sat 30 Aug 14

Crispy Bacon says...

Sorry, I forgot one; misanthropist.
Sorry, I forgot one; misanthropist. Crispy Bacon
  • Score: 8

9:22am Sat 30 Aug 14

Blueandwhitewolf says...

It's rather unfortunate that you're playing Man U at this time. You can't win. If you do beat united (and I've had a cheeky bet that you do) it will be because they're rubbish and no other reason. If you don't beat them I'm afraid that my fellow blues will be all over your forums.

I, on the other hand, can't lose. If you win, I win fifty quid and I'm happy. If you lose, guess what, I'm still happy!!!!!!
It's rather unfortunate that you're playing Man U at this time. You can't win. If you do beat united (and I've had a cheeky bet that you do) it will be because they're rubbish and no other reason. If you don't beat them I'm afraid that my fellow blues will be all over your forums. I, on the other hand, can't lose. If you win, I win fifty quid and I'm happy. If you lose, guess what, I'm still happy!!!!!! Blueandwhitewolf
  • Score: -4

9:29am Sat 30 Aug 14

Crispy Bacon says...

Blueandwhitewolf wrote:
It's rather unfortunate that you're playing Man U at this time. You can't win. If you do beat united (and I've had a cheeky bet that you do) it will be because they're rubbish and no other reason. If you don't beat them I'm afraid that my fellow blues will be all over your forums.

I, on the other hand, can't lose. If you win, I win fifty quid and I'm happy. If you lose, guess what, I'm still happy!!!!!!
What a complete and total loser's attitude that is. You're blatantly trying to inoculate yourself against the outcome of this game whichever way it goes. If Burnley win, you've tried to pre-empt your inevitable sense of disappointment by claiming it's only natural since they are at home and Man Utd are rubbish. If Utd win, you'll be pleased because Burnley will have lost. It demonstrates a complete lack of discipline that you had to go public with that in your oh-so-stupid triumphalist way.

What shines through, besides the obvious fact that you have to accept the shame, is that Burnley have earned the right to play Manchester United on a level playing field and that opportunity has been denied your team.
[quote][p][bold]Blueandwhitewolf[/bold] wrote: It's rather unfortunate that you're playing Man U at this time. You can't win. If you do beat united (and I've had a cheeky bet that you do) it will be because they're rubbish and no other reason. If you don't beat them I'm afraid that my fellow blues will be all over your forums. I, on the other hand, can't lose. If you win, I win fifty quid and I'm happy. If you lose, guess what, I'm still happy!!!!!![/p][/quote]What a complete and total loser's attitude that is. You're blatantly trying to inoculate yourself against the outcome of this game whichever way it goes. If Burnley win, you've tried to pre-empt your inevitable sense of disappointment by claiming it's only natural since they are at home and Man Utd are rubbish. If Utd win, you'll be pleased because Burnley will have lost. It demonstrates a complete lack of discipline that you had to go public with that in your oh-so-stupid triumphalist way. What shines through, besides the obvious fact that you have to accept the shame, is that Burnley have earned the right to play Manchester United on a level playing field and that opportunity has been denied your team. Crispy Bacon
  • Score: 11

10:20am Sat 30 Aug 14

ReluctantNicko says...

Burnley's board are a disgrace for condemning Dyche and the players to certain relegation by refusing to release funds.

Get out of town you shysters, you are worse than the Oystons!!!!!
Burnley's board are a disgrace for condemning Dyche and the players to certain relegation by refusing to release funds. Get out of town you shysters, you are worse than the Oystons!!!!! ReluctantNicko
  • Score: -10

10:55am Sat 30 Aug 14

Blueandwhitewolf says...

Crispy Bacon wrote:
Blueandwhitewolf wrote:
It's rather unfortunate that you're playing Man U at this time. You can't win. If you do beat united (and I've had a cheeky bet that you do) it will be because they're rubbish and no other reason. If you don't beat them I'm afraid that my fellow blues will be all over your forums.

I, on the other hand, can't lose. If you win, I win fifty quid and I'm happy. If you lose, guess what, I'm still happy!!!!!!
What a complete and total loser's attitude that is. You're blatantly trying to inoculate yourself against the outcome of this game whichever way it goes. If Burnley win, you've tried to pre-empt your inevitable sense of disappointment by claiming it's only natural since they are at home and Man Utd are rubbish. If Utd win, you'll be pleased because Burnley will have lost. It demonstrates a complete lack of discipline that you had to go public with that in your oh-so-stupid triumphalist way.

What shines through, besides the obvious fact that you have to accept the shame, is that Burnley have earned the right to play Manchester United on a level playing field and that opportunity has been denied your team.
I wasn't implying that it is my opinion that you would only beat utd because they are rubbish. I was merely pointing out the situation you're in today. Nobody will acknowledge how well you may have played, the attention will be lavished upon uniteds poor performance should you win.

Whilst I'm happy should either team win due to the afore mentioned reasons, obviously I'm a rovers supporter and would prefer it if you lost, heavily. As you rightly point out, my bet covers all bases for me.

I just hope it isn't a draw!!
[quote][p][bold]Crispy Bacon[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Blueandwhitewolf[/bold] wrote: It's rather unfortunate that you're playing Man U at this time. You can't win. If you do beat united (and I've had a cheeky bet that you do) it will be because they're rubbish and no other reason. If you don't beat them I'm afraid that my fellow blues will be all over your forums. I, on the other hand, can't lose. If you win, I win fifty quid and I'm happy. If you lose, guess what, I'm still happy!!!!!![/p][/quote]What a complete and total loser's attitude that is. You're blatantly trying to inoculate yourself against the outcome of this game whichever way it goes. If Burnley win, you've tried to pre-empt your inevitable sense of disappointment by claiming it's only natural since they are at home and Man Utd are rubbish. If Utd win, you'll be pleased because Burnley will have lost. It demonstrates a complete lack of discipline that you had to go public with that in your oh-so-stupid triumphalist way. What shines through, besides the obvious fact that you have to accept the shame, is that Burnley have earned the right to play Manchester United on a level playing field and that opportunity has been denied your team.[/p][/quote]I wasn't implying that it is my opinion that you would only beat utd because they are rubbish. I was merely pointing out the situation you're in today. Nobody will acknowledge how well you may have played, the attention will be lavished upon uniteds poor performance should you win. Whilst I'm happy should either team win due to the afore mentioned reasons, obviously I'm a rovers supporter and would prefer it if you lost, heavily. As you rightly point out, my bet covers all bases for me. I just hope it isn't a draw!! Blueandwhitewolf
  • Score: -4
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