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Bird's Eye View: Up For The Fight

3 April 2013

Clarets Player commentator Phil Bird takes his weekly look at life at Turf Moor and beyond

Up for the Fight:
The npower Championship relegation battle is wide open!
I'm not sure how, but this has become the tightest division for years.
As many as 14 sides could yet fall through the trap door into League One.
We've played in the top two divisions for the last 13 seasons.
That's a proud record that we must maintain and the strongest clubs will pull through. 
We've got 51 points and a good goal difference, so we are in a far better position than some. 

I don't think there has been a season quite like it. 
In 2008 Leicester City went down with 52 points. In 2004 Walsall were relegated with 51.
Amazingly, 55 points may be needed this time.

I remember Blackpool going down from this division in 1978. 
They had been sixth at Christmas when Burnley were rock bottom. 
Our form improved when Harry Potts re-signed Steve Kindon and Brian Hall whilst theirs nosedived.
The Seasiders had top strikers Bob Hatton and Mickey Walsh in their team, but the goals dried up.
We completed the great escape they were never in the bottom three until the very last day! 
I've got every confidence we will be fine.
Our performances over Easter against two of the in-form sides (Watford and Nottingham Forest) were really good.
In a crazy division we are competitive week in and week out.
Take Cardiff City out of it, and all their Malaysian wealth, and I don't think there is a great deal between the rest of the clubs. 
We just need to turn those performances into wins, starting on Saturday against bottom club Bristol City. 
Cynics will point to just one win in 12.
Optimists can quote it’s just one defeat in six. Take your pick!

Bristol City at home is massive on Saturday and three points would ease any residual nerves. I thought the home fans were really good on Monday.
We need more of that against City.
I remember the Plymouth Argyle game in May 1998 under Chris Waddle.
That’s one of my all-time favourite Turf Moor games.
We were in a far worse position then and the atmosphere that afternoon was sensational.
We need some of that on Saturday. The response from Burnley fans when the chips are down is normally first class. 
Time for Change!  
How can one man be so sure he's got the timings so accurate that the last kick of a game can be from the penalty spot?
A referee cannot methodically keep stop/starting a watch and get it absolutely 100% correct. It’s not possible.
Last month the San Marino/England game carried no additional time, yet our most recent fixture had a penalty award well past the initial five minutes allocated. 

Yes, I know it’s discretionary, and yes I know you have to play to the final whistle, but we need change. 
Personally, I would take the timekeeping away from the referee.
He has more than enough to do.
Nobody can cope with the multitude of tasks a referee must handle.
It works well in rugby league - give an additional official a stopwatch and a klaxon and leave the referee to concentrate on getting the on field decisions correct. 
However, with that kind of luck, expect to see Billy Davies and Nottingham Forest in the Premier League next season!

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