Thirty-one opening day Clarets
The Football League got underway over the weekend with 35 games played, a full house denied with the late postponement of the Colchester v Swindon game in League Two.
Those seventy teams who did play named thirty-one players in their squads who have previously been Burnley players or are current Clarets out on loan. Of those, twelve were in the Championship, eight in League One and eleven in League Two. Eighteen of those players started, four more came in as substitutes while the remaining nine were on the bench. Sixteen of them have played in our first team and twelve of them were involved with new clubs.
None of them scored, although one of them was close, and to find ex-Clarets scoring on the opening weekend you had to drop into the National League where Chris Conn-Clarke, Alex Whitmore and Luke O’Neill were on the scoresheet for Altrincham, AFC Fylde and Ebbsfleet respectively.
Where to start? I think by division is probably best so to the Championship and Hillsborough last Friday where Nathan Tella was making his first Southampton appearance since May 2022 when he was in the side that were beaten 2-1 at home by Liverpool when Nathan Redmond gave the Saints a 1-0 lead. Southampton went in front early with a goal we all thought was Tella’s but it was credited to Adam Armstrong after Tella’s shot deflected off him.
Moving on to Saturday, ten more were involved, three of them playing in the same winning team. Both Ashley Barnes, who I have to say doesn’t look quite right in a canary yellow shirt, and Shane Duffy played for Norwich against Hull with Duffy partnering Ben Gibson in defence. Having gone behind, Norwich went on to win 2-1 with a stoppage time winner from Adam Idah. Barnes did score in the game but it was very harshly ruled out for an offside.
There were three more in the squads for the Swansea v Birmingham game although not all in the same team. New signing Josh Ginnelly was an unused substitute for Swansea in the 1-1 draw and for the visitors, Kevin Long was in the team and Lukas Jutkiewicz came on as a substitute.
Elsewhere in the Championship, Nahki Wells was in the Bristol City team that drew 1-1 against Preston at Ashton Gate and over at Ewood Nathaniel Chalobah was in the West Brom team that saw Erik Pieters on the bench but not come on.
Current Burnley player Luke McNally is still waiting for his Stoke debut; he was an unused substitute in their comfortable 4-1 home win against Rotherham but Bobby Thomas, who recently moved to Coventry, completed the list of players in the Championship with a good performance in their 2-1 defeat at Leicester yesterday.
Into League One, and the only game with more than one ex-Claret came when Northampton hosted Stevenage. It was visitors, and newly promoted, Stevenage who won the game 1-0 but our two former players played no part with both Ali Koiki (Northampton) and Alex MacDonald (Stevenage) on the bench and not coming on.
There were two more unused substitutes in League One; Jake Rooney for Derby in their 2-1 home defeat against Wigan and Matty Carson, recently released by Accrington, in Reading’s 2-1 home defeat against Peterborough. One substitute to come on was Sam Vokes for Wycombe but it wasn’t a good day for the Chairboys, beaten 3-0 at home by Exeter.
None of the three starters in League One were in winning teams. Will Norris made his debut in goal for Portsmouth in a 1-1 home draw against Bristol Rovers, but Mark Helm’s Burton were defeated 2-0 at Blackpool and Lukas Jensen conceded three goals on his Lincoln debut in a 3-0 loss at Bolton.
The place to be for former Clarets in League Two was at Morecambe with four players all starting in their game with Walsall. Jacob Bedeau was in defence for Morecambe alongside Joel Senior who they have signed this summer from Carlisle. Up front for Morecambe was Burnley loanee Michael Mellon and facing them all was defender Harry Williams making his Walsall debut. Williams was the one on the losing side; Morecambe won the game 2-1.
Grabbing the headlines for all the wrong reasons was goalkeeper Aidan Stone. He’s moved from Port Vale to newly promoted Notts County this summer. They were beaten 5-1 at Sutton but Stone conceded just one of the goals having been sent off on the quarter hour with the score 1-0.
Both Crewe and Doncaster had two former Burnley players in their squads with one starting and one an unused substitute. Chris Long was in the Crewe team that drew 2-2 against Mansfield with new signing Ryan Cooney an unused substitute. Doncaster were beaten 1-0 at home by Harrogate and had both Tom Anderson and Deji Sotona on the bench with the latter coming on midway through the second half. Goalkeeper Lewis Thomas was an unused substitute for Harrogate.
That just leaves Anthony Glennon. Signed a year ago after a successful loan two years previously, he was in the Grimsby team held to a goalless draw by Wimbledon at Blundell Park.
Thirty-one and there might have been others. Had the rain not come down at Colchester, Charlie Austin would have been in the Swindon team. Injury ruled out Dany Agyei, Josh Benson, Robbie Brady, Kevin McDonald and Richard Nartey. Barnsley’s Adam Phillips will have a delayed start to the season having been sent off in last season’s League One play-off final.
To add to the players, there were also eight former Burnley players on the touchlines across the league, managing their teams, three of them with new clubs. Michael Duff, Matty Taylor and Graham Alexander were the newbies, one in each division. Duff’s Swansea, as reported in this article, drew against Birmingham but there were wins for Taylor and Grezza. Taylor’s Shrewsbury beat Cheltenham, managed by Wade Elliott, 1-0 at home and Alexander saw his MK side win 5-3 at Wrexham.
Joey Barton, the longest serving of the eight with two and a half years at Bristol Rovers, saw his side draw at Portsmouth and in League Two there were wins for Derek Adams and Neil Wood with Morecambe and Salford who won 2-0 at Forest Green. Besides Elliott, the only other losing ex-Burnley manager was Graham Coughlan whose Newport team were beaten 3-0 at Accrington.
That’s it, the opening weekend in the Football League. Now we can look forward to our start this week back in the Premier League.
EDIT: Our apologies to former youth team player Sean Etaluku who was released by Burnley at the end of the 2021/22 season having completed a two-year apprenticeship. He moved into non-league football with Mossley but this summer he signed for Barrow and he was on the bench for them last Saturday when they won 2-1 at Tranmere, taking the total from 31 to 32.Follow UpTheClarets:
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