On This Day: Steve Davis expected Wembley glory with Clarets!

Steve Davis was convinced Burnley would be promoted to the Premier League as soon as they advanced past Reading in the Championship play-off semi-finals.

Monday, 25th May 2020, 7:30 am
Steve Davis

Remarkably, it is 11 years ago since the Clarets beat Sheffield United 1-0 at Wembley to reach the top flight for the first time since they were relegated in 1976.

Goals from Martin Paterson and Steven Thompson sealed a 3-0 aggregate win over the Royals, after Graham Alexander’s late penalty in the first leg at Turf Moor.

And, having beaten the Blades twice in the regular season, 3-2 at Bramall Lane and 1-0 at Burnley, confidence was high in the camp.

First-team coach Davis would celebrate a fourth promotion with the club, after three as a player.

And he admitted the team news from United only enhanced the belief Burnley would create history.

Striker Darius Henderson was an awkward customer, well known to the Clarets from his spell with Watford, where he established himself as a Championship battering ram.

However, Henderson was struggling with an Achilles injury ahead of the final, spending two hours a day in an oxygen tent to try and boost Kevin Blackwell’s plans.

He failed a fitness test on the morning of the game, and Davis recalled that being a big boost for the Clarets, who were confident they would cope with replacement Craig Beattie, in the Blades’ 4-1-4-1 system.

As it was, Wade Elliott’s stunning first half strike proved enough on the day, and Davis said: “Winning promotion as a coach is not the same as playing, being on the park and having an influence on the game - you can only do so much from the sideline.

“But as soon as we got through the semi-final against Reading, we just knew we were going up.

“On the day of the final, we knew we were going to win.

“It came through that Henderson wasn’t going to be playing for them, and I thought that cemented it for me.

“They were playing with Beattie up front, and I thought Clarkey (Clarke Carlisle) and Steve Caldwell will sort him out, and we had enough in our side to hurt them at the other end.

“It was strange, I never thought for a minute we wouldn’t win the game, and thankfully we did.

“It probably should have been more comfortable.

“But Wadey’s goal was a fitting one to win any game at Wembley, a great finish.”