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The 1997/98 season had started with excitement for Burnley fans with the appointment of Chris Waddle as the club’s new manager. It was a season that Up the Clarets planned to chart throughout but that, like the season, didn’t work out as planned.

We came into the home game against Plymouth on this date a quarter of a century ago knowing that we had to win and hope that results went for us elsewhere, namely at Bristol Rovers.

Carlisle and Southend had already been relegated with two more clubs to go down to the bottom division with them. Brentford were playing at Bristol Rovers and they kicked off with fifty points. Both Burnley and Plymouth had one point less. We had scored less goals than Plymouth which meant we needed to win to have a chance of beating the drop, but if Brentford won, they would he the team to escape no matter what happened at Burnley,

Andy Cooke proved to be the hero for Burnley, he scored both goals in a 2-1 win but there were outstanding performances too from Damian Matthew, Paul Weller and more notably Glen Little who was in inspirational form.

Turf Moor erupted in the 12th minute of the game when Matthew’s pass got Little behind the Plymouth defence and his beautifully chipped cross enabled COOKE to head home past Jon Sheffield.

The lead lasted only until the 25th minute when Mark Saunders headed Plymouth level but Burnley stormed back with Weller hitting the bar with a terrific volley. Little was the next to hit the woodwork with Weller so unfortunate not to score on the rebound.

We’d been by far the better side in the first half and thanks to COOKE we went in with a 2-1 half time lead when he thumped home a header from a Matthew cross.

Unable to add another goal in the second half, attention turned to Bristol with shock news when Brentford equalised. We were still safe as it stood but we had some defending to do. Both Gerry Harrison and Mark Winstanley got in blocks, Chris Woods made three very good saves.

We hung on to win the game. That meant Plymouth were down but we had a five minute wait before news came through that Bristol Rovers, who had scored again to lead 2-1, had beaten Brentford.

Burnley were safe and Waddle quickly said that we must not be in that position again. He confirmed he would be trying to bring Jon Mullin back to Burnley from Sunderland; Mullin had returned briefly on loan towards the end of the season. He said there would be two more signings.

Glen Little was ecstatic at the end. He’d more than played his part during the second half of the season. Looking forward to 1998/99, he said: “If we can sign a few more players and they come in and do well then I am sure we can have a good season.”

Matthew, who was out of contract, said: “This is a superb club and hopefully everything can be sorted out and I will be signing and staying.”

The teams on that final day were;

Burnley: Chris Woods, Chris Brass, Mark Winstanley, Neil Moore, Gerry Harrison, Glen Little, Paul Weller, Mark Ford, Damian Matthew, Andy Cooke, Andy Payton. Subs not used: Lee Howey, Jamie Hoyland, Chris Waddle.

Plymouth: Jon Sheffield, Mike Heathcote, Steve Woods, Paul Williams (Simon Collins 67), Mark Saunders, Martin Barlow (Ronnie Mauge 67), Paul Wotton, Darren Currie, Carlo Corazzin, Barry Conlon, Phil Starbuck (Earl Jean 70).

Referee: Paul Taylor (Hertfordshire).

Attendance: 18,811.

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