Burnley FC

A decade of Dyche, US investment and European football

A fan’s guide – the club from early doors to today

Earning European qualification in 2018 for the first time in half a century, Burnley FC seemed to be flying. Keeping faith with manager Sean Dyche paid huge dividends, the Clarets returning to the Premier League after relegation in 2015, then pulling off  shock results during the 2017-18 campaign.

Goals from prolific New Zealand striker Chris Wood helped keep Burnley afloat during later tricky campaigns. HIs sale halfway through another, in 2021-22, hardly boded well. Next it was Dyche, a panic move with only eight games remaining. Three straight wins under caretaker manager Mike Jackson then led to three defeats – and relegation.

Under incoming coach Vincent Kompany, young attacking midfielder Nathan Tella and Kosovan international keeper Arijanet Muric blossomed as the Clarets strung together two long unbeaten runs to streak ahead in the Championship. 

It was his deputy, Northern Ireland international Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who had to pick the ball out of the net six times in March 2023 as Kompany’s men were swatted aside by Manchester City in an FA Cup tie. The Belgian manager’s emotional return to the Etihad gave Burnley fair warning of what to expect once promotion celebrations die down.

Turf Moor/Tony Dawber

Despite a relatively sparse trophy cabinet, containing two league titles and one FA Cup since Burnley Rovers chose football over rugby in 1882, Burnley have a substantial fan base, rewarded with frequent stints in the top flight. 

Founder members of the Football League in 1888, Burnley saw glory either side of World War I, under John Haworth. BFC had already been relegated for a decade when Haworth arrived in 1910. Changing the club’s colours to claret and blue, Haworth hired England’s first European player, Max Seeburg, a German at that. He also spent big, £800, on Everton goalgetter Bert Freeman, but was rewarded with promotion back to the First, and two FA Cup runs, including Burnley’s only win to date. The final of 1914, the first witnessed by a reigning monarch, George V, was settled by a Freeman shot on the hour.

After the conflict, Haworth led the Clarets on a 30-game run to secure their first league title in 1921. Three years later, he died while still in office.

Burnley then dipped, revived by promotion and another FA Cup Final appearance in 1947. An inside-left that day was Harry Potts, soon joined by young right half Jimmy Adamson – and later replaced by a prodigy from County Antrim, Jimmy McIlroy.

Turf Moor/Tony Dawber

With the midfield partnership of McIlroy and Adamson, Burnley blossomed, Potts returning as manager in 1958. Adamson was an ever-present in the championship-winning season of 1959-60.

Six months later, McIlroy scored the opening goal in Burnley’s European Cup debut, a 2-0 win over twice finalists Stade de Reims. A high-scoring aggregate win by Uwe Seeler’s Hamburg eliminated the Clarets in the next round.

Potts remained in charge, but the departure of McIlroy and Adamson saw Burnley mired in mid-table. In 1970, Potts was moved upstairs for Adamson to step in as coach. With a young Martin Dobson in midfield, Burnley’s fortunes picked up, the Clarets reaching sixth place in the league and an FA Cup semi-final in 1974, but this would be the high-water mark of the modern era.

Turf Moor/Tony Dawber

That year, Dobson left for Everton. Potts’ return failed to stop the rot from the late 1970s onwards. In 1986-87, Burnley went into their final game, 90 minutes from non-league football and possible closure. On an emotional day, over 17,000 packed Turf Moor to see a watershed 2-0 win over Orient.

Ten years later, Potts died, the 1960 title-winners gathering at Turf Moor to honour his cortège.

Burnley then became a steady presence in the second flight. Under Owen Coyle in 2008-09, the Clarets beat Chelsea and Arsenal in the League Cup, before making a brilliant home-leg recovery in the semi-final against Spurs. A painfully late goal from Roman Pavlyuchenko robbed Burnley of their day at Wembley. Four months later, they got it, a play-off win over Sheffield United and top-flight football.

Turf Moor/Liam Dawber

After a positive start in the Premier, Burnley succumbed to poor away form. That January, Coyle shocked the Burnley faithful by jumping ship to Bolton.

Increased local rivalry and relegation followed, only for Burnley to hire another talented young coach, Sean Dyche.

In 2013-14, he guided a small squad assembled at minimal cost, thanks to hard work and resolve. In March, a crucial 2-1 derby win at local rivals Blackburn – the first for 35 years, the winning goal struck by top scorer Danny Ings – put automatic promotion in sight. It was clinched the following month against Wigan, diligent Dyche doubtless planning his Premier League strategy almost on final whistle.

Homage to Sean Dyche/Tony Dawber

Without anything like the budget of the clubs above them, the Clarets dropped back down to the Championship after only one season. After keeping faith with Dyche for the 2015-16 campaign, Burnley went on an unbeaten run from Boxing Day. A 1-0 win over QPR clinched an immediate return to the Premier League, celebrated with frenzied scenes on the pitch at Turf Moor.

Surviving the return season in the top flight, Burnley flew out of the blocks in 2017-18, full-back James Tarkowski and goalkeepers Tom Heaton and Nick Pope earning England caps, striker Sam Vokes becoming a regular in a Wales shirt and winger Jóhann Berg Gudmunsson starring at two major finals for Iceland. An unexpected seventh-placed finish provided Burnley with a berth in the Europa League.

Turf Moor/Liam Dawber

The club’s first European campaign for 51 years started with a typical gutsy 1-1 draw at Aberdeen despite an early injury to keeper Pope, followed by an extra-time win at Turf Moor. It was a similar story against Istanbul Başakşehir before Olympiacos showed a little too much European savvy to give up the chance of a passage to the group stage.

Burnley’s European adventure cost them in the league, where a relatively thin squad could only notch a first win in late September. Relegation seemed on the cards in 2019-20, too, before a long run of narrow wins and low-scoring draws in the new year. 

It was a similar story in 2020-21, although the financial clout of incoming US ownership managed to lure promising young Irish centre-back Nathan Collins from Stoke as Dyche was planning a sixth straight and ultimately doomed Premier League campaign in the summer of 2021.

Ground Guide

The field of dreams – and the stands around it

Burnley’s home since 1883, Turf Moor was an area for sport and recreation from the first half of the 19th century. Venue for horse-racing and Burnley Cricket Club, its bar still a popular pre-match spot today, Turf Moor was, in fact, Burnley’s second home after an initial brief spell at Calder Vale halfway to Nelson.

It was the cricket club who invited their footballing counterparts over to Turf Moor, the other side of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal east of town.

By 1891, the ground not only had two stands but floodlights – or rather touchline lamplighting. With the two stands rebuilt by 1911, capacity exceeded 40,000.

With further extensions, a record 54,775 witnessed Burnley’s FA Cup defeat of Huddersfield Town in 1924. Turf Moor staged its only international, England’s 2-1 loss to Wales, three years later

Before the golden era of the late 1950s, the roofed Longside replaced one of the original stands and permanent floodlighting installed. Behind the goals, the Bee Hole and Cricket Field End stands were built, part of a major (and majorly expensive) redevelopment under long-term chairman Bob Lord, who also created an all-seater stand from the original Brunshaw Road one – and named it after himself.

Opposite, the Longside was demolished in 1995 to become the James Hargreaves Stand, just as the Bee Hole became the James McIlroy Stand – both double-tiered.

Current capacity is 22,000, with 2,400 seats reserved for away fans in the Cricket Field End (aka David Fishwick Stand). Although incoming American owner Alan Pace has indicated improvements at Turf Moor, he has so far been light on specifics – lockdown came shortly after his arrival – except to back the opening of a fan zone on match days. Better connectability and LED screens are further new measures.

getting there

Going to the ground – tips and timings

The closest transport hub is Burnley bus station, a ten-minute walk away. Turn right at the top end of the concourse then take the subway under the main road to a roundabout. Taking the right fork, Turf Moor is 400 metres on the left. Half-hourly TransDev bus 2 covers the same route, the three stops to Blakey Street near the ground.

Those coming by rail arrive at Manchester Road station, 15-20min walk from the ground. Turn left down the hill, then right at the roundabout for Centenary Way. After a mile, turn right and Turf Moor is 400 metres to the left.

A few stopping trains use Burnley Central, also 15-20min away. Follow the road straight ahead of the main entrance for half a mile to the town centre. Turn left onto St James’s Street, go straight on at the roundabout and Turf Moor is 400 metres to the right.

The sat nav code for Turf Moor is BB10 4BX. Convenient for away fans, Burnley Cricket Club (BB10 4BN), just behind the stadium, provides match-day parking for £6, while the car park on Doris Street (BB11 3DL) charges £5 and is a 5min walk from the ground. Both are fairly small capacity and the majority of away fans will use the maze of streets between Belvedere Road and the canal. The club recommends nearby Plumbe Street (BB11 3AB).

getting in

Buying tickets – when, where, how and how much

With average home games of 20,500 in 2019-20 and capacity just above that, availability will be tight for all but the least attractive of fixtures. Tickets are sold online from 42 days beforehand, with priority given to those who have earned loyalty points from previous purchases. You can also try the phoning the ticket office (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) on 01282 446 800 (option 2 or 3) or emailing

The new ownership is also keen on improving hospitality facilities at Turf Moor, with eight new private boxes opening in the Longside Lounge.

The best seats in the Bob Lord Stand and central upper section of the James Hargreaves Stand are £40, over-65s/under-22s £25, under-18s £20. The lower or outer seats in James Hargreaves Stand cost £35, £20 and £15, while it’s £30, £20 and £15 in the lower Jimmy McIlroy Stand. Visiting supporters in the David Fishwick Stand pay the same.

what to buy

Shirts, kits, merchandise and gifts

The Clarets Store (usual opening hours Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-12.30pm, match days 9am-kick-off) is below the ticket office between the Bob Lord and Jimmy McIlroy Stands. With 2020-21 being the centenary of Burnley’s historic first championship, a retro look honoured that achievement, with rounded collars and shoulders of continued claret. There are other retro tops, too, including some dazzling if short-lived third kits, plus T-shirts such as the stylish celebration of Turf Moor’s Longside in black and white. 

One of the more obscure subjects in football culture, the life and work of the dedicated groundsman, is analysed in Mud, Sweat and Shears by Dave Thomas, a look at how legendary Turf Moor figure Roy Oldfield kept the pitch as immaculate as possible before another swampy battle through far too many winters during the 1970s.

stadium tours

Explore the ground inside and out

Stadium tours (£10/£5 under-16s) take place on Thursdays and non-match Saturdays,. Otherwise inaccessible areas include the 1882 Lounge, the Chairman’s Lounge and the trophy room, over the course of 90 minutes. 

Where to Drink

Pre-match beers for fans and casual visitors

Turf Moor is surrounded by pubs and pre-match options, nearly all BFC strongholds.

Pride of place goes to the Royal Dyche (45-47 Yorkshire Street), the former Princess Royal. A huge mural of the man himself greets you as you pass under the canal bridge from the bus station. Live music, TV football and a beer garden also await. 

Just off Yorkshire Street, The Oxford is a basic football pub and karaoke spot. Right opposite Turf Moor on Higgin Street, The Park View is a large, football- and BFC-focused alehouse with a beer garden.

The KSC 110 Club (1 Albert Street), technically a social club, allows entry for a small fee on match days. With bars on three floors, affordable, well kept beer and food, the place is generally welcoming for away fans. The preferred option for visiting supporters is the Burnley Cricket Club, accessed via Belvedere Road and adjacent to the away stand, comprises three bars, two with Sky Sports, offering decent, reasonably priced beer yards from the turnstiles. Affordable parking is another plus. 

Finally, the members-only Burnley Miners Social Club (7-17 Plumbe Street) features a separate bar open match days for a nominal charge, packed with home fans. Themed evenings include northern soul and Benedictine nights, harking back to this obscure drink’s popularity during the Great War.