”“Bring on the Bastards! ”As the clock has ticked towards 90 minutes during Burnley games this season, the war cry has sounded — a warning to their neighbours as the days count down to the match everyone has been waiting for. It was the first fixture both sides looked for when they were released in June, and Burnley have the bragging rights to defend. It is over eight and a half years since Sean Dyche and his side broke the curse in 2014 with their first victory over Blackburn for 35 years. Burnley have won all three meetings since the 2-1 victory and are unbeaten in the last seven fixtures spanning almost 12 years.
The game marked the first derby between the two sides in the Premier League after Burnley’s promotion under Owen Coyle the previous season. Burnley took the lead in the game thanks to a screamer from Robbie Blake, a memorable moment. “To score against your rivals is massive because of that joy you give to people; that roar from the supporters. Once it hit the net I went numb, it’s just complete elation, ” says Blake. The former midfielder, however, continued to repeat that it did not matter because of the result (a 3-2 defeat). The return fixture in the 2009-10 season saw more incidents that resulted in arrests as Blackburn fans smashed toilets and ripped out seats in the away end while some Burnley fans in the Cricket Field stand were arrested for threatening language and behaviour.
“There is so much pressure knowing it defines their next weeks and months, ” says Boyd. “Having that pride that you had made the whole town proud is amazing. Knowing you’ve given the supporters bragging rights to go into work and celebrate and give it to the Blackburn fans. ” Burnley fans arriving at Ewood Park in 2017 (Photo: Paul Thomas/PA Images via Getty Images)In 2015, an Under-21 Premier League Cup game was ordered to be played behind closed doors due to fears of crowd trouble following the two-legged FA Youth Cup semi-final between the two sides in 2012. In the second leg, eight arrests were made for a variety of disorder and violence offences involving both sets of supporters. Verbal abuse is rife, too.
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The man in the opposite dugout, Jon Dahl Tomasson, has had that too. This is not just a derby. This is tribal. Two towns, with two stadiums separated by a 16-mile drive via the M65, will do battle. It is a storied rivalry, England’s oldest, which has intensified in hatred as time has gone on. From banners flown over stadiums mocking each other to chicken hats, Owen Coyle masks, damaged property, violence, hatred and bus escorts, this derby has had it all. It’s “The Dingles” versus “Bastard Rovers”, to use the derogatory insults from both sides. First versus second to see who tops the Championship heading into the World Cup break.
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“On the night, my son said: ‘I thought you got the ball, Dad’. My wife felt I should have been arrested for it, ” Ball said in an interview years later. “At the time, it’s the competitive edge in myself coming out, and I love it. ”He became the hero to Burnley fans and a villain to Blackburn. Dunn, who had a brief spell at Burnley as a youngster, was the man the home fans wanted on the receiving end. It seems strange that one of the most hostile rivalries in English football has only happened 13 times since a 2-1 Blackburn victory in 1983.
It hurts and I still have nightmares about it. I hope the current players have a better experience than I did. ”George Boyd remembers watching the 5-0 defeat and after joining Burnley in 2014, experienced the fixture first-hand the following season after relegation to the Championship. Duff, Boyd remembers, was instrumental in helping new players understand what the rivalry meant throughout his time at the club. Burnley’s experienced core of Jay Rodriguez, Ashley Westwood and Cork have been doing the same this week.
Burnley vs Blackburn Rovers Preview – Prediction, how to watch & potential line-ups - Football TodayTwo of the top teams in the Championship go head-to-head on Sunday as Burnley welcome Blackburn Rovers to Turf Moor. There is no love lost between these two founding members of the Football League, with their rivalry one of the most bitter derby games in the world. Former Rovers manager Mark Hughes described meetings between the teams as ‘mad’, and he knows a thing or two about derbies. Burnley have a two-point lead over Rovers heading into the game, and a victory this weekend would boost their hopes of making an immediate return to the Premier League.
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