Ahead of the game against Burnley this weekend, we spoke to Burnley fan Kevin Robinson, who owns and runs the hugely popular Burnely FC Blog – No Nay Never. We asked him a variety of questions about Manchester United and Louis van Gaal, to all things Claret & Blue.
Jordan@OTF: First of all, who are you and how did you become attached to your club?
KR: I’m Kevin Robinson and I helped to found the leading independent Burnley FC blog and podcast, NoNayNever.net.
Jordan@OTF: How does it feel to be back in the Premier League?
KR: Massive excitement – but there have been a few off-the-field matters this summer that have soured the experience a little. Ticket prices are astronomical, the club are asking new season ticket holders to pay a ‘retainer’ (don’t ask) and we’re not really signing anybody of any real quality. All that said, to be playing the likes of United and Chelsea instead of Rotherham is something else. We’ll enjoy it.
Jordan@OTF: Sean Dyche is often referred to as the ‘Ginger Mourinho’, what do you make of him as a manager? Can you see him becoming the manager of one of the so called bigger teams’ at some point?
KR: First off, the Ginger Mourinho title is a bit of an insult to him – Dyche is very reasoned and has a good mix of old-fashioned and ultra-modern managerial techniques. Last season he turned a bunch of average players into Premier League players, we play a very nice style of football but are solid at the back too. He’s got a scary voice, so you wouldn’t want to say anything out of line. He’s only had one excellent season as a manager, so it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to the Premier League, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays in the top flight longer than Burnley FC does.
Jordan@OTF: What do you make of Burnley’s chances this season?
KR: It’s really difficult to say. We haven’t really made any improvements on the first XI so far, so we’re really relying on the team spirit and ‘relentless’ mentality to keep us up, rather than lots of top class players. Although Chelsea were different class for 25 minutes (that second goal!!!) we did show some signs of encouragement. And against Swansea we really took the game to them in the second half. The margins are so small though – if we are to stay up we need to cut out some silly mistakes, start converting our chances and add a few more men to the squad. But we absolutely can do it.
Jordan@OTF: What would have to happen for this season to be considered a success?
KR: Survival. Anything else is failure. We’ve had our one season in the sun 5 years ago – so this time ‘just enjoying it’ isn’t good enough. We need to be competitive.
Jordan@OTF: Do you think Burnley’s strategy of not spending big will work?
KR: Certain elements of our strategy have merit. Our strongest asset last season was our squad’s morale. But I do very strongly fear that we’re lacking real quality in key areas.
Jordan@OTF: Onto United. What do you make of Louis van Gaal?
KR: I don’t know a lot about him to be honest – but he hasn’t had a great start has he? I think he’s got it a little tough as your squad just isn’t good enough, but he will really NEED to get a result against us or real question marks will start to be asked.
Jordan@OTF: The last time this fixture was played, Burnley managed to sneak a 1-0 win through a Robbie Blake volley. What are the chances of something similar this weekend?
KR: We showed against Chelsea that there’s every chance. We took the lead through a great goal – though not of Robbie Blake standard – and the Turf Moor crowd on the big occasions can be a real help. Watch out for Scott Arfield and Danny Ings.
Jordan@OTF: What do you make of United’s transfer business so far?
KR: I don’t think you’ve done too much big business, but Di Maria is a big statement (someone said the other day that Burnley is more Aldi Maria). I still don’t think your squad is quite up to the standard required yet though.
Jordan@OTF: If you could sign one Manchester United player from Burnley, and money was no object, who would you choose?
KR: I worry about the lack of creativity in our squad, so I’ll take van Persie if you’re offering?
Jordan@OTF: Who do you think is Manchester United’s most important player?
KR: I think Di Maria will need to settle in quickly. However, you’ll need players in the spine like Jones to really step up if you’re to achieve anything.
Jordan@OTF: Where do you think United will finish this season?
KR: I’m really sorry, but in the NNN predictions podcast I said you’d finish 5th.
Jordan@OTF: Ha, fair enough! Cheers Kevin.