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1516 burnley turf moor 04Burnley’s pre-season came to an abrupt end this afternoon at Turf Moor when, after first half disturbances in the cricket field stand, the game was abandoned on police advice with the Clarets leading 1-0 with a headed goal from Ben Mee four minutes before the interval.

It’s difficult to know where to start to be honest and I certainly can’t comment on exactly what happened in that stand given my position in the Longside Upper close to the half way line. It certainly didn’t look pleasant and what I did pick up from my distant vantage point was that the Hannover 96 fans were very much the aggressors.

Even before the game kicked off they were moving the big sheets preventing them from sitting in certain areas of the stand and prior to their arrival at Turf Moor they had been heavily policed in town while some German supporters had been refused service in the local Wetherspoons this morning when they tried to order breakfasts.

The few I spoke to were pleasant enough but, as we all know, a few away supporters (or home for that matter) will never reflect the entire support.

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What I still find very difficult to comprehend is that friends were able to text me news that the game had been abandoned when we, inside Turf Moor, had not been made aware, this because the club had used social media to inform the world that the second half would not be played without any apparent consideration for those actually there although it was becoming increasingly obvious as the half time interval went on and on as the home supporters were evacuated into the Longside Lower.

It was sad to witness the events of the afternoon and it had been a game I was so looking forward to. When the pre-season scheduled was confirmed I thought this would be the better game of the two, and it may have been in the end, but the football we saw in the Celta Vigo game was far better than that on show this afternoon prior to the game being called off.

It seems almost irrelevant to report on the action on the pitch but it was all surreal with Burnley not even playing in claret and blue, something I’ve never liked at Turf Moor, and certainly not able to show the quality of football on view four days earlier.

Sean Dyche did make changes to the side with Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Scott Arfield, Ashley Westwood, Jon Walters and Andre Gray all starting having sat out part or all of Tuesday’s game.

An early effort from Robbie Brady over the bar was about all we got from a Burnley side who struggled to create anything and we could so easily have fallen behind on a couple of occasions at least, and would have done but for better finishing from the visitors.

Arfield cleared one effort off the line and Heaton made one good save but the best chance we had came through mistakes by Jack Cork and Tarkowski to present Felix Klaus with a chance that he should have buried.

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But we survived it and then took the lead. Gray was upset with a challenge which brought a reaction from him and a talking to from referee Chris Kavanagh. And Mee headed home from Brady’s free kick with very few behind that goal seeing it.

That was it. The debate will go on for some time as to whether the game should have been called off.

Dyche will still have questions to ask of his squad and, off the field, there are a number of questions for which answers will be sought, with the lack of communication to those inside Turf Moor high on the agenda.

The police have issued a statement while Burnley intend to release their statement later after a debrief.

Hannover 96 this evening, via their official website reported that they do not, as yet, have any clear insights into the progress of the events but the information will be gathered in consultation with the police and Burnley.

They did however, end with: “Our attitude is clear: Hannover 96 condemns the incidents in the stadium and dissociates itself vehemently from any kind of violence.”

It was a sorry, sorry day for football.

For what it is worth, the teams were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Scott Arfield, Jack Cork, Ashley Westwood, Robbie Brady, Jon Walters, Andre Gray. Subs not used: Nick Pope, Conor Mitchell, Phil Bardsley, Tom Anderson, Kevin Long, Charlie Taylor, Fredrik Ulvestad, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Steven Defour, Jeff Hendrick, Sam Vokes, Dan Agyei.

Hannover 96: Michael Esser, Miiko Albornoz, Waldemar Anton, Niclas Füllkrug, Martin Harnik, Felix Klaus, Julian Korb, Edgar Prib, Salif Sané, Pirmin Schwegler, Felipe. Subs not used: Philipp Tschauner, Mike Steven Bähre, Marvin Bakalorz, Charlison Benschop, Iver Fossum, Florian Hübner, Kenan Karaman, Sebastian Maier, Ostrzolek, Manuel Schmiederbach, Oliver Sorg.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Manchester).

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