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Burnley FC: The Promotion Story

21 April 2014

The Clarets have finally clinched the eagerly-anticipated promotion to the Premier League, at the end of a wonderful season under Sean Dyche.

With immaculate timing of course, this fantastic achievement has been secured 100 years to the week since Burnley’s epic FA Cup triumph in 1914.

This latest promotion is the tenth in Burnley FC history, and the sixth to take the club from the second level of English club football to the top flight. 

Strangely it’s only the second time that promotion has been clinched at Turf Moor. In April 1973 two goals from Paul Fletcher in a 2-0 win against Sunderland confirmed a return to the First Division in front of Burnley’s adoring fans. 

Co-incidentally Sunderland went on to lift the FA Cup that season and of course this season’s promotion has been confirmed against the current FA Cup holders, Wigan Athletic.

In 1898 promotion from Division Two was only confirmed after a goalless draw at Stoke in the final play-off match (then known as test matches). Burnley had already clinched the Second Division Championship but in those days even the Champions had to take part in the end-of-season lottery, although after that season the whole play-off/test match system was scrapped and didn’t re-appear until 1987.

In 1913 promotion from Division Two was confirmed after a 3-2 victory at Leicester, then called Leicester Fosse, and the Clarets finished the season as runners-up to Preston North End. Burnley certainly made the most of their return to the First Division and of course ended the 1913-14 season with the FA Cup in the Turf Moor trophy cabinet.

In 1947 Burnley finally secured their place back in the top flight after a 5-0 win at West Ham United on the last day of May, as runners-up to Manchester City. The Clarets had already been to Wembley five weeks earlier, beaten in the FA Cup final by First Division Charlton Athletic. However the main objective of promotion had been achieved and Burnley went on to stay at the top level for 24 years, the longest spell in the club’s history.

In 1973 promotion was confirmed with four matches still to be played, but it was not until the very last game of the season that the Second Division Championship was finally secured with a 1-1 draw at Deepdale against Preston North End.

After four lower league promotions in 1982 (at Southend), 1992 (at York), 1994 (at Wembley) and 2000 (at Scunthorpe) all clinched away from Turf Moor, it was at Wembley again, on that memorable Bank Holiday Monday in 2009, that the Clarets were last promoted to the top flight of English football.

Five years on promotion is in the bag again and Premier League football awaits us all once more.

by Club Historian Ray Simpson

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