For the last couple of seasons, Burnley have been embroiled in a battle to keep their head above water in the Premier League. But, under the guidance of Sean Dyche, they’ve always managed to pull themselves out of danger with limited resources. However, with Dyche gone and a temporary management team in charge, they couldn’t repeat the feat on the final day and are now heading to the second tier.
At kickoff against Newcastle in Premier League game 38 of the campaign, Burnley were one place above Leeds, who were in the relegation zone and the favourites to be relegated. And, against a Brentford side that has impressed this season, many thought it would be Leeds who would suffer final day heartbreak. But Burnley were behind to a Callum Wilson penalty on 20 minutes, which set the tone for what was to come.
Newcastle had the bit between their teeth at Turf Moor and was keen to end their own season on a high, even at the expense of Burnley's status as one of the top twenty teams in England. But, at the break and 1-0 down, Burnley had it all to do. And they will have known that Leeds were putting in a shift at Brentford, with a Joe Gelhardt goal ruled out for offside in the first forty-five.
In the space of four second-half minutes, things went from bad to worse for Mike Jackson’s side. First, Raphina slotted home a penalty against Brentford to put Leeds one-nil up and put Burnley in serious trouble. And then, four minutes later, Callum Wilson bagged his second of the game to compound Burnley’s misery further. Unfortunately, it was all but over at this point, and there was seemingly no way that the Clarets were going to fight their way out of this one.
Maxwell Cornet, who joined Burnley in the summer and has been one of their better players this term, did manage to reduce the deficit on 69 minutes to give his team a glimmer of hope. But all hope was extinguished deep into injury time at the Brentford Community Stadium when Jack Harrison’s shot from outside the box took a wicked deflection and found its way past David Raya in the Bees’ goal.
Burnley, in the end, can have no complaints. They didn’t manage to equal Leeds’ result on the day, and they will now be plying their trade in the Championship once again after six years away. It’s likely that key men such as James Tarkowski will depart Turf Moor and that there will be a rebuilding job required if they’re to mount a challenge to return to the top flight at the first attempt.
However, the first action for Burnley owner Alan Pace and the club’s hierarchy will be to decide who will manage the team moving forward. It’s unlikely Mike Jackson will be the man in the dugout next season, with a manager experienced at Championship level arguably likely to be the way the Clarets go.