It’s ten years since Michael Duff signed for Burnley, this week in July 2004, and as he begins his second decade at Turf Moor we look back on his memorable Clarets’ career.
Two months ago, when the referee blew the final whistle at the end of Burnley’s 2-2 draw at Reading, it signified the end of the Clarets’ triumphant promotion season.
The players hugged each other, not forgetting the sympathetic handshakes for disappointed Reading players, who had just missed out on the play-offs. In the middle of it all one 36-year-old Claret could afford his own smile of huge satisfaction on a job well done and on writing his own chapter of Burnley Football Club history.
As well as completing ten seasons as a Claret, a remarkable feat in itself, Michael James Duff had become the first Burnley player ever to be involved in two promotion campaigns to the top flight.
In 2008-09 Duffo played in 27 games and contributed one goal, the opener in a 3-1 win at Coventry in October 2008. He also started and completed all three play-off games, a sequence that ended in glorious victory at Wembley in May 2009. During 2013-14, he appeared in 41 games, again contributing one goal, again in the Midlands, a towering header in the Clarets’ thrilling 3-3 draw at Birmingham in March 2014.
Michael was signed from Cheltenham Town in July 2004 by his former manager Steve Cotterill, who was himself a Turf Moor newcomer a decade ago.
Duff made his Clarets debut at right back on the opening day of the new 2004-05 season in a 1-1 draw against Sheffield United at Turf Moor.
Burnley’s team that day was: Danny Coyne, Michael Duff, John McGreal, Frank Sinclair, Mo Camara, Richard Chaplow,
Tony Grant, Micah Hyde, Graham Branch, Ian Moore, Robbie Blake. Lee Roche came on as a sub for Grant.
Alongside Duffo, Coyne, McGreal and Sinclair were all making their Clarets’ debuts, as also was Hyde who scored a debut goal after just 16 minutes.
'Duffo' has now appeared in 336 senior games for the Clarets and only 21 players before him have pulled on the famous Burnley shirt on more occasions (and four of those are goalkeepers!).
Five more appearances next season will see him break into the club’s all-time top 20 appearance list.
Even before that Turf Moor landmark however, just two league matches into next season Duffo will reach a personal milestone when he clocks up 500 appearances in senior league football.
To add to the 297 he now has at Burnley, he played 201 league games for Cheltenham Town in the old Divisions Two and Three between 1999 and 2004. That’s on top of the 99 league games he played for Cheltenham in senior non-league football before 1999.
During his time with Cheltenham and Burnley, Michael has also won 24 full international caps, 21 of them coming since his arrival at Turf Moor, and he is one of only seven Burnley players in the club’s history to have won 20 or more caps at full international level.
In his decade at Turf Moor Michael Duff has been a credit to Burnley FC, to football in general, and of course, to himself and his family.
All of us at Turf Moor offer our congratulations on Michael’s achievements so far and long may he continue to set new records for himself and his club.
A look back at season 2004-05.
The 2004-05 campaign, Duffo’s first at Turf Moor, was an interesting one in many ways.
Michael pictured in 2004
There was a new manager in place, Steve Cotterill had arrived from Cheltenham Town to replace Stan Ternent. The campaign saw Turf Moor bid farewell to Ian Moore, the club’s first one million pound player. Also Robbie Blake said goodbye at Christmas, although “Bad Beat Bob” was destined to return to the fold. Also moving on were midfield man Tony Grant and there was a misty-eyed farewell to West Brom-bound Richard Chaplow, who had been at Turf Moor since he was eight years old.
The campaign saw the appearance of Burnley’s first-ever French-born player, the flamboyant Jean-Louis Valois, there was the debut of tigerish midfielder James O’Connor, and the first appearances, as already mentioned, of Frank Sinclair and Micah Hyde, both Jamaican internationals, but both born in London. Mo Camara, born in Guinea, who missed just one game that season, had first appeared at Turf Moor the season before and was Burnley’s first-ever African international, although he didn’t add to his caps during his two year stay with us.
There was another new arrival in March 2004, although that particular debut, against Sunderland at Turf Moor, didn’t quite go as planned. On 80 minutes Burnley’s new signing came on as a sub for our hero Michael Duff, straining at the leash to make an impact at his new club. Just 3 minutes later he was trudging back to the dressing room having been shown a red card. Ade Akinbiyi had indeed made an impact, although it was with elbow and head on Sunderland defender George McCartney.
In January 2005 there was a fondly-remembered Turf Moor encounter with Liverpool in the FA Cup. Early in the second half, on a night of teeming rain and treacherous surface, the game’s shining star, the afore-mentioned Chaplow, tore down the left and swept a low cross into the middle. Pool left back Djimi Traore, on the far post, tried to trap the ball and turn, Cruyff-like, at the same time. In horror he watched the ball bounce off his foot and splash into the net. The Liverpool hordes looked to the heavens in disbelief, the Turf Moor faithful almost cried with joy and laughter. It was the only goal of a memorable night, although the Reds enjoyed some consolation in the months to come, they went on to lift the Champions League trophy after that epic final against AC Milan in Istanbul.
Back at Turf Moor, and in the fourth round Bournemouth came calling and although two goals from Ian Moore sent them packing, one Cherry had made an indelible mark. Steve Cotterill said after the match that the better team had lost, and he had a point. Probably the game’s star man was a 26 year old Bournemouth winger, who gave Mo Camara a torrid afternoon. The following summer the man himself was Turf Moor bound, set to write his own page of Burnley FC history. That man was Wade Elliott.
In the fifth round the gods who control the FA Cup balls had decided that those of Burnley and Blackburn Rovers would come out together. After a fiercely fought goalless draw at Turf Moor, the teams met at Ewood for the replay. Although the Clarets lost 2-1, the consolation goal by Micah Hyde would live long in the memory. He controlled a ball on his knee on the corner of the box, turned in the same movement, and crashed an unstoppable volley into the top corner. The visiting fans went into raptures and subsequently voted Hyde’s strike the goal of the season.
In November, 2004 there had been another Clarets’ debut when an 18-year-old defender arrived at Turf Moor on loan from Aston Villa. It has to be said he showed a little promise and at the end of the season he was voted Burnley’s Young Player of the Year. As he left to return to Villa Park he assured everyone he had thoroughly enjoyed his time with Burnley and hoped to return some day. His name was Gary Cahill.
Wonder what he’s been doing this summer...?
Story by club historian Ray Simpson