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Burnley 12:24 - May 23 with 87 viewsBringBackTheRedRoom

Clarets relegated after six seasons in the Premier League

After six seasons of battling against and surprising English football's elite, Burnley's spell in the Premier League came to an end on an emotional afternoon at Turf Moor.

Burnley would have secured a seventh successive campaign in the Premier League if they had beaten Newcastle, but Clarets supporters' worst fears were realised as they trailed 2-0 after 60 minutes.

It was the final chapter of a huge managerial gamble that has ultimately backfired.

A goal from Maxwel Cornet gave the home fans hope but, despite a frantic finish, Burnley lost 2-1, with Leeds, who started the final day in the relegation zone, jumping above them thanks to a 2-1 victory at Brentford.

What next for Burnley and what does relegation mean financially for the club?

'Gutted for everyone involved'
"It's raw, we've got a group of players who are gutted," said interim boss Mike Jackson, moved up from his position as under-23s coach with eight games to go after the club sacked long-serving and hugely popular manager Sean Dyche.

"There's a lot of emotion. The fans stuck with us. It's their club and we're gutted we couldn't give them what they wanted. I hope they saw a group fighting for them."

Burnley players having character and fighting for their club has been their trademark and cornerstone of their success as, despite having transfer and wage budgets far lower than their rivals, they continued to succeed against the odds.

Forward Ashley Barnes, who has been with the club since January 2014, called it a "sad, sad day" and "definitely" the lowest moment of his career.

He added: "We had it in our hands and obviously gave it away.

"We can't use any excuses - it's down to ourselves. Three wins in the first 20 games or something is relegation form. We gave ourselves some hope in these last few games but it wasn't to be.

"We're all to blame for the job we've not done. It lies on our shoulders, especially us older ones."

Burnley lose their 'most important game since 1987'
Under Dyche, the club won promotion in 2015-16, before he took them into Europe for the first time since 1967 by finishing seventh in the Premier League in 2017-18 - a European journey that included trips to Scotland, Turkey and Greece before losing in the Europa League play-off round.

In their six Premier League seasons, they have gained wins at Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool with their hard-to-beat full-commitment style of football.

But this season they began with a nine-game winless run in the league, quickly followed by another 11 matches without a victory and never recovered.

Nevertheless, it was still a surprise when American Alan Pace, who became chairman and owner of the Clarets in December 2020, sacked Dyche in April.

Jackson picked up 11 points in his eight games, but their main failing - a lack of goals - again resurfaced when they needed it most on Sunday.

Burnley now face an uncertain future with a host of big names set to leave the club, while 'a significant proportion' of a £65m loan taken out with American financiers MSD Holdings to complete ALK Capital's takeover in 2020 will have to be paid back.

With that backdrop, lifelong Clarets fan Ian Horsfall, speaking before the game, said: "This is the biggest game for Burnley since 1987. It was the last game of the season in the old Fourth Division and we beat Leyton Orient 2-1 and Lincoln lost and they dropped out of the Football League.

"If we had not won that game everyone thinks we would've gone out of existence. We don't know what they've done to finance the [takeover] deal and if we do get relegated it feels like we would be selling players to survive."

"We would definitely lose some of our players," added season-ticket holder John Calvert. "Nick Pope would go as he wants to play for England in the World Cup, Cornet, James Tarkowski, Nathan Collins we would struggle to keep them."

'The football club is the fabric of the town'
Horsfall and Calvert, who have both supported the club for more than 50 years, were speaking at The Royal Dyche, a local pub that changed its name from the Princess Royal in 2018 in honour of Dyche, and they felt relegation would be hard for the town to take.

"My mum never went to a football match but she always knew the Burnley score, that's what it meant to her," said Horsfall.

"Burnley is a one-club town, there's no other sports team here. If you're from Burnley, you support Burnley, you don't see Manchester United shirts, everyone supports Burnley, the football club is the fabric of the town."

Calvert added: "Football puts Burnley on the map and brings a lot of business to the town, it has a massive impact.

"The population of Burnley could fit inside Old Trafford, that's how small the town is. Football is so important to the town of Burnley."

Analysis - relegation has created an air of uncertainty at Turf Moor
Simon Stone, BBC Sport

An awful day on the pitch will now spark inevitable questions about what happens off it.

In the accounts they released earlier this month, Burnley confirmed "a significant proportion" of a £65m loan taken out with American financiers MSD Holdings to complete ALK Capital's takeover in 2020 would have to be paid back "shortly" after the end of the season should the Clarets be relegated from the top flight. If they don't come straight back up a further "significant reduction of the balance" is scheduled.

And that is not all. Another £37m is owed to one of the club's holding companies, cash reserves have reduced by £30m and a £12.5m loan has been taken out as an advance on Newcastle's final payment of the Chris Wood transfer fee.

Burnley did say savings would be made due to relegation clauses in player contracts, and they have a hefty parachute payment, which next season will be 55% of their Premier League earnings from this campaign, to soften the blow.

However, player sales are inevitable. With a number of players out of contract, including star defender Tarkowski, who will leave the club this summer, and options on others, including skipper Ben Mee and striker Barnes still to be activated, the scope for generating income will be reduced.

Goalkeeper Pope and winger Dwight McNeil will be coveted. Forward Cornet has a £17.5m release clause following relegation. But Burnley will be selling from a position of weakness, so it is debatable how much they can actually raise.

With a decision to be made over Sean Dyche's replacement as well, relegation has created an air of uncertainty at Turf Moor that will not be easily calmed.

‘Where there is harmony, may we bring discord. Where there is truth, may we bring error. Where there is faith, may we bring doubt. And where there is hope, may we bring despair’


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