A look back at top flight games against the new boys
The 2018/19 season ended with Cardiff City, Fulham and Huddersfield Town relegated from the Premier League and set to be replaced by Norwich City, Sheffield United and play-off winners Aston Villa.
Cardiff were perhaps unfortunate; they ended the season only two points behind Brighton with Neil Warnock continuing to talk about the Chelsea game when some big, incorrect decisions went against his club, but Fulham and Huddersfield were way behind the field and Huddersfield’s final points total of 16 was only the sixth occasion a team has failed to reach 20 points. It’s difficult to believe now that Fulham and Huddersfield were only one and two points behind us at the half way stage of the season.
Tomorrow sees the release of next season’s fixtures and so it is just about the right time to take a look at the three new teams and what happened when we last played them in the top flight.
Norwich won the Championship with Sheffield United in second place; Aston Villa, who had a superb second half to the season, beat West Brom and Derby in the play-offs to clinch that third place after a three year absence.
It took a late Danny Ings penalty to earn us a point last time Villa were at the Turf after Joe Cole had given Villa the lead. Only Tom Heaton and Ashley Barnes remain from the Burnley team that played for us that day while Villa included Ashley Westwood and brought on Matt Lowton as a late substitute.
The return game at Villa Park was on the final day of the season. Westwood again played but Lowton was not in the squad as another Ings goal, this time in the sixth minute, gave us a 1-0 win. Ings played his last game for us that day as did Kieran Trippier and Jason Shackell while Steven Reid got the last three minutes before hanging up his boots.
What about Norwich and Sheffield United? They were both alongside us in the Championship in 2010/11 when we beat both of them at home and drew with both away. At the end of that season, Norwich went up and Sheffield United went down and we’ve not played either of them in league football since although we did suffer a big FA Cup defeat at Norwich in the following season.
We played both of them away first and both had dramatic endings. We led 2-0 at Sheffield United and then, after they’d pulled it back with Lowton getting their second, we scored what looked to be a stoppage time winner from Jay Rodriguez only for the Blades to go down and score again to level it at 3-3.
At Norwich in the very next away game, we had a 2-0 lead at half time courtesy of two Martin Paterson goals but we had to settle for another 2-2 draw although referee Trevor Kettle ridiculously failed to spot a handball from Andrew Crofts and he scored as everyone else on the pitch stopped assuming the free kick had been given.
Brian Laws was in charge for both those games but Stuart Gray was caretaker boss for the first time when we beat Sheffield United 4-2 at home and Eddie Howe was enjoying his first home league game in charge when we beat Norwich 2-1.
But for both these clubs, we have to go back to another season of managerial change at Turf Moor to find the last time we met in the top flight of English football. All three of us were in the old First Division in the 1975/76 season, a season that saw Norwich, having been promoted a year earlier, finish in 10th place but both us and Sheffield United suffer relegation with Wolves.
The first of our four games against them that season came in mid-September on a day that will always be remembered for Peter Noble’s performance on a day when we still didn’t get a win despite his goals.
Uwe gave us the lead in the very first minute of the game with an excellent left foot shot into the bottom corner and he got his and our second on 26 minutes when he converted a penalty after Brian Flynn had been fouled. Just a few minutes later, Norwich pulled one back when Mike Summerbee gave away a needless penalty that Ted MacDougall converted.
Noble completed his hat trick just before half time, a second successive home hat trick for the midfielder who’d scored three times in the 4-1 win against Middlesbrough two weeks earlier. This came from the third penalty of the game, a handball this time, and as the teams went off for half time with us 3-1 up.
There were more defensive woes for us in the second half as Norwich scored twice to level things. MacDougall got his second just past the hour before Martin Peters scored their third. Noble wasn’t done though; he scored what we thought was a winner with three minutes to go, heading home a Summerbee cross, but Norwich scored yet again through Phil Boyer in the final minute with both teams getting a point in a 4-4 draw.
We’d two away games to follow this one, both against teams still looking for their first win of the season. The first of them, at Birmingham, ended in a 4-0 defeat before we moved on to Bramall Lane on the Tuesday night, the first time we’d played there with the new stand having now built over what had previously been the cricket square.
It was another defeat but this time we should have been coming home with both points having been much the better side, the only problem was the number of chances we missed on the night. Even so, like the Norwich game, Noble gave us the lead early in the game with a header (pictured) but the Blades were level ten minutes before half time through Chris Guthrie and then, with only three minutes remaining, and against the run of play, former Blackburn forward Tony Field scored the winner for Sheffield United.
Jimmy Adamson was the Burnley manager at the time but he wasn’t by the time the return games were played. He was sacked after a long running feud with Bob Lord and when we travelled to Norwich on 10th January 1976 we had Joe Brown in charge for the first time.
“We won’t go down, we’ve got Joe Brown,” was defiantly displayed on a banner held up by Burnley fans at Carrow Road but there was no such evidence here as we fell to a 3-1 defeat. We held them for 35 minutes but then conceded twice in the last ten minutes of the first half. Alan Stevenson was at fault with the first, allowing Peters to get ahead of him to head home with defender Duncan Forbes heading home a free kick to double the advantage.
It was another header just before the hour from Boyer that gave Norwich a match winning three goal lead but we did at least pull one back when Keith Newton hammered home a 30-yard shot soon after,
The Burnley Express gave their man of the match to Mick Docherty but the full back didn’t play for Burnley again. He was one of a number of players who supported Adamson and chairman Lord ensured this was his last game. It was also Frank Casper’s final game in a Burnley shirt but for very different reasons. It was to prove his final game as a player having fought for almost two years to overcome the serious cruciate injury sustained at Leeds. Frank immediately joined the coaching staff.
It was turmoil at the Turf by the time Sheffield United arrived in March. Besides Docherty, all of Doug Collins, Willie Morgan and Stevenson had been told they were surplus to requirements, although Stevenson went on to stay another seven years. He’d been dropped after the Norwich game but returned for the visit of Sheffield United.
This time it was us coming from behind to win after Guthrie fired a shot past the helpless Stevenson to give Sheffield United the lead late in the first half, but Ray Hankin levelled things right on half time, heading home a Newton cross.
It was our game in the second half with two players scoring their first home goals to give us a 3-1 win. First it was Derek Scott (pictured)who scored with a spectacular diving header before Brian Flynn completed the scoring, hammering home a shot from the edge of the box.
Some would have you think that football didn’t start until 1992 and for those, we’ve already played 32 different teams in the Premier League. Norwich and Sheffield United will become numbers 33 and 34 during the 2019/20 season.
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