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The History Men

Clarets legends go full circle as guests of boss Sean Dyche

5 March 2019

Major players from the Clarets’ past met at the Barnfield Training Centre for an informal celebration of its present with manager Sean Dyche.

Paul Fletcher, Colin Waldron, Stan Ternent, Frank Casper, Geoff Nulty and Jim Thomson were guests of the Burnley boss.

Dyche showed the six – who between them racked up over 1,500 playing appearances for the Clarets and almost 400 games in management – around the Clarets' training facility at Gawthorpe.

The former team-mates, who remain great friends, also shared lunch with the management team and chatted with members of the current squad before presenting Dyche with a framed, signed picture of Sir Stanley Matthews.

“It all came about through being in touch with Fletch and Stan, in particular,” explained Dyche, who is closing in on Ternent’s 312 games in charge of the Clarets.

“I suggested they come down with a few of the other lads and see what we’ve got here now.

“It was great to be able to spend a bit of time with them, have a bit of lunch and show them around the facilities.

“They are genuinely interested in what the club’s doing and how we are doing things. And, of course, it’s great to hear how it was for them at Burnley and wonderful to hear stories of ‘the good old days’.”

It’s almost two years since the Clarets moved into the Barnfield Training Centre – over the bridge from their former base – and were able to use all the re-laid pitches at the £12m-plus complex.

And it’s fair to say, the facilities impressed those who went before them.

“It’s beyond anything we imagined,” said Fletcher, who scored 86 goals in 352 games for Burnley prior to a spell back at Turf Moor as chief executive.

“Obviously, it’s Sean’s vision which is the right thing to fulfill, because he’s the guy who’s steering the ship and it’s obviously working.

“I’m aware you need facilities like this to attract the best players and we’ve got a great squad now and a fantastic manager, so there’s a lot for Burnley to be proud of, the fact that we’ve kept up with Joneses.

“We’ve got some very wealthy teams within 40 miles of us and I’m pretty proud, being an ex-Burnley player, that my club is doing that.

“We didn’t have anything like this. We would have loved to have been part of that, but in our era we thought we were at the front end of technology.

“You have to accept change and there’s one great thing about my little group of seven or eight ex-players.

“We’re all very proud to be Burnley players. We enjoyed our time and we think we had as good a time as they’re having.

“We were lucky to be Burnley players, and we’re lucky visiting here with a manager who has the courtesy to invite us down and spend a couple of hours with us.

“That doesn’t happen at a lot of football clubs, so we are very thankful and proud to be Burnley.”

Ternent, whose near six-year reign as manager has just been passed by Dyche, launched a Clarets revival as he led Burnley to the Championship in 2000 before establishing them in the second tier.

And he admits times have changed.

“This place is fantastic,” said Stan. “It’s a pleasure to come to and you must look forward to coming into work.

“Sometimes that wasn’t the case when I was here, coming down Gawthorpe over the bridge into three feet of snow and no heating on in the changing rooms!

“They’re light years on from that. It’s absolutely marvellous and for it to happen to Burnley, it’s a big deal for all of us.”

Casper also managed the Clarets and scored 89 times in 275 appearances the last time Burnley were a top-flight force in the mid-1970s.

“Everything is in place here for all the teams, not just the first-team squad. The Academy is here, which is very important for the future,” he said.

“To come down here and train every day must be fantastic and to see the team competing as they have been in the Premier League is a credit to everyone.”

Waldron, who played over 350 times for the club for a decade up to 1976, said: “It’s light years ahead of anything I’ve even seen on television and for Burnley to have it is incredible.

“The facilities and the technology, it must be brilliant to be a player today.

“It’s always been an idyllic spot but now it must be as good as anywhere in the country.

“Sean has taken it to a completely new level.”

Thomson followed central defensive partner Waldron north from Chelsea after training at a local cricket club when he was with the Londoners.

“I find it hard to think any club these days would have anything better than this. The facilities are out of this world,” said Thomson, who made 364 appearances for the Clarets.

And midfielder Nulty, who launched his senior career with the Clarets after leaving Stoke City in 1968, said: “I always thought of Burnley as a forward-thinking club, right back from when I came on trial and signed for the club.

“We had better facilities than there were at Stoke, even then. I have a photograph of myself at Stoke with Gordon Banks going to practice at the ‘far side’ which was all they had, apart from a public park.

“It’s remarkable now to see the pitches at Gawthorpe extended even further and all the facilities, which are out of this world.”

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