Elliott worth his Wade in gold
BURNLEY miracle-worker Owen Coyle hailed his “magnificent” side after Wade Elliott’s wonder goal earned the Clarets promotion to the Premier League – and a £60m fortune.
Elliott’s outstanding long-range effort put the seal on a pulsating Championship play-off final with Sheffield United at Wembley and finally brought an end to the Clarets’ 33-year top-flight exile.
Victory capped a magnificent season for the Lancashire side, who also enjoyed two lengthy cup runs, taking four Premier League scalps along the way. And there was no prouder man than Coyle in praising the efforts of his men, while reflecting on the task that now awaits them.
“We’ve got a great adventure to look forward to,” the Scot said. “I think you’ve seen the effort the players gave today, it was great game, end-to-end – and we had chances to put the game to bed. We don’t have quantity but I believe we have quality – I’m obviously delighted with what we’ve achieved today. I’m immensely proud and delighted for everyone in the town – but my heart goes out to Sheffield United.”
Only Manchester United have played more games than Burnley’s 61 in English football this season, yet Coyle’s men looked fresh and hungry from the very first whistle.
Indeed, just 13 minutes in, Elliott latched onto a loose ball 25 yards out and bent an unstoppable shot past Paddy Kenny and into the top corner.
It was a goal worthy of gracing any stage and Elliott admitted it left him almost speechless. “It’s far and away the best goal I’ll ever score,” he later admitted. “I think it will take a little while for it to sink in.”
United, who had lost both their previous two play-off finals without scoring a goal, were left to rue two penalty appeals turned down by referee Mike Dean after Brian Howard and Kyle Naughton went to ground in the Clarets box. But, in truth, any other outcome would have been harsh on the Clarets, who might have finished the Blades off late on with Kyle Walker somehow denying Robbie Blake when he looked certain to score.
United’s misery was compounded when substitute Jamie Ward was sent off for two bookable offences late on, leaving manager Kevin Blackwell staring defeat in the face and even considering his future. “I’ll have a think,” the Blades boss said. “I know the ramifications. I’m listening to my own advice.”