We’re all going on a European tour with Burnley and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Forget what Will from the Inbetweeners said in the first movie; Burnley fans don’t need to f*** off as they’re some of the best around.
After their stunning Premier League heroics last season, the Clarets begin their first foreign adventure in 50 years this week with a glamorous two-legged qualifier against, er, Aberdeen.
But, regrettably, I’m here to be a true party pooper.
The Europa League – a competition with unique travelling demands – can be a gruelling and cruel mistress.
Thursday to Sunday fixture patterns, long haul flights to the middle of Azerbaijan… is it really all that?
And many of the so-called ‘lesser sides’ in the Premier League have subsequently struggled with the added challenge of a European campaign, duly seeing their domestic form suffer as a result.
In recent years a number of clubs have seen their league form nose dive dramatically whilst distracted by the Europa League.
Swansea, powered by the unforgettable Michu, won the League Cup in 2012/13 and earned a Europa League place the following season off the back of it.
But, after finishing ninth the season before, Swansea fell to 12th in 2013/14 and Michael Laudrup was sacked by the start of February.
One season later it was a similar story for Everton, who could only manage 11th in the Premier League following their sixth placed finish the year before.
The Toffees were also knocked out of both domestic cup competitions in the first round in 2014/15.
And what for Southampton? Yep, you guessed it.
The Saints finished above Liverpool in the 2015/16 season and marched into Europe as a result.
But the following campaign went slightly to pot on multiple fronts, failing to get out of their Europa League group and finishing a distant eighth in the Premier League – 15 points behind Everton in seventh.
So, should they get through qualifying of course, what does that mean for Burnley?
Well our worry is, for a side who were tipped to go down last season, it might be a case of too much too soon.
They had one of the smallest squads in the Premier League last year and have signed the square root of f*** all so far this summer.
Zero incomings whatsoever. Zilch. Nada.
Sean Dyche also made the fewest amount of changes to his first XI last season; testament to the faith in his players, but also an indication of his lack of options.
Maintaining their odds-defying exploits will be a hell of a challenge, let alone with the burden of European football.
It means a moving of the goalposts and a reality check may be required, with ensuring Premier League safety again the priority for Dyche and co.
Could they be victims of their own success?
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