Return to Europe almost on a par with halcyon days

Mike Garlick and Sean Dyche
Mike Garlick and Sean Dyche
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Clarets chairman Mike Garlick has compared this season’s success to the club’s halcyon days in the top flight.

Burnley, champions of England for a second time in 1960, played in Europe twice under manager Harry Potts, reaching the quarter-finals of the European Cup and the European Fairs Cup.

During the 1960/61 campaign, the Clarets became only the third English club to qualify for the European Cup after their First Division title success, following the footsteps of Manchester United and Wolves.

After seeing off French champions Reims 4-3 on aggregate, Burnley were beaten 5-4 over two legs against Hamburg in the last eight, missing out on a semi-final with Barcelona.

The Clarets played in the Fairs Cup during the 1966/67 campaign, but their journey would once again be cut short by a West German side.

Having comfortably fended off Stuttgart, FC Lausanne-Sport and Napoli, without conceding at Turf Moor, the Clarets were beaten 3-2 by Eintracht Frankfurt.

With Burnley on the brink of securing European football for the third time in its history, Garlick said: “Looking back, judging us over the course of history, the achievement is nearly on a par with what we did in the Sixties, given the modern game and the finances of me and the rest of the board, it’s absolutely unbelievable.

“Full marks to Sean and his team and all the players. It’s an incredible job. It’s ironic, the town that had one of the biggest majorities for Brexit and wanted to leave Europe now can’t stop singing about getting back into Europe!

“It’s talked about amongst the older generation, everyone knows about it, but out of the 22,000 we get, maybe only 10% were there 50 years ago, if that, so it’s a new experience for everyone.”

The Clarets seem certain to enter the Europa League at the second qualifying phase, with ties played on July 26th and August 2nd, following the draw in Nyon on June 19th.

Should they progress, the club would then be required to play a third qualifying round tie, and a play-off, before entering the group stages, which get underway in September.

“I think it’s late July we would play the first game,” said Garlick. “The players are back in early July. But you’ve got to manage things like that.

“I do use my passport quite regularly personally, but I’ve not been to Uzbekistan yet, so that could be quite interesting. I’m sure whatever happens and whoever we draw it will be a fantastic event.

“It’s a journey that is a new experience for us, it’s going to be very tough and there’s going to be challenges squad wise, but we’re going to embrace it and give it a go. We’re on the map already but the world is shrinking and Burnley is getting a bigger part of it.”