I saw the flat cap of our local Burnley fan disappearing in the distance the other day and caught up with him (he really does have a flat cap). He took me to our last away game at Burnley, a cold February evening, and I also went to see Burnley v. Hull as part of his 60th birthday celebrations. Burnley deserve congratulations on what they achieved: it's a small town and I have rarely seen such urban devastation outside the United States. But at least they don't have a huge hole in the middle of the city as is the case in Bradford.
I asked him what he thought of his season given that a mid-table finish might be where we end up next season (certainly better than going back to League One). 'Boring,' he said. But then his face lightened up: 'Both Bolton and Blackburn are going down.' Blackburn are Burnley's deadly rivals (Accrington are geographically in between but seen as a kind of second team by many Burnley fans). Burnley fans even hired a light aircraft to tow an insulting banner across Ewood Park at Blackburn's last game of the season.
'We hate every team in Lancashire,' he explained, 'except Everton.' His three sons support Everton, the Toffees having been a top team when they were growing up, and one of them even went to university in Liverpool so that he could get the full Bluenose experience. I thought that was quite a lot of teams to dislike. 'Even Oldham?', I asked, thinking of them as a rather nondescript team playing in a decrepit ground on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. 'We've got some issues with Oldham,' he said.
I didn't need to raise the question of Yorkshire and the Massives. But I did wonder if Burnley might have a bit of a struggle next season.