The highs and lows of football were never more starkly presented than in Burnley’s lone Premier League adventure during the 2009/10 season. From the euphoria of defeating giants Manchester United to the lows of a demoralizing loss against Manchester City, the season was a roller coaster of emotions for all associated with the club.
Owen Coyle's departure to Bolton Wanderers mid-season was a watershed moment. The architect of their Premier League dream, Coyle's exit was felt deeply by the club, its players, and its supporters. Brian Laws' appointment was met with mixed reactions, and while he had his moments - like the spirited victory against Hull City - the overall narrative was one of decline.
Laws' challenge was considerable. Taking over a team mid-season, especially one facing the adversity Burnley did, is no easy task. The lack of a cohesive backroom staff, coupled with declining player morale and a series of crushing defeats, only made his job harder.
By the time the season ended, the Clarets' relegation was confirmed. The dream had turned sour, and many wondered about the club's future. With Laws vowing to take Burnley back to the Premier League, the next season in the Championship would be crucial. The new signings hinted at the direction the club was taking: a combination of experience and flair, with an emphasis on players who had Championship experience.
The pressure on Laws was palpable. The relegation, the in-fighting among fans over his appointment, and the weight of expectations could have crushed many a manager. Kilby's show of faith in him, however, gave hope to some supporters that maybe, just maybe, Burnley could rise again.
The 2010/11 Championship season was a fresh start for Burnley, but the scars of the relegation were still raw. Despite early optimism with the signings of Iwelumo, Marney, and Wallace, the team struggled to find consistent form. By the end of December, with Burnley floating mid-table, pressure on Brian Laws became unbearable, leading to his departure. He was replaced by Eddie Howe, the young manager making waves at Bournemouth.
Howe's reign started brightly, with the team showcasing a more attacking style of football. But despite the promise, the Clarets could only muster an 8th-place finish in the 2010/11 season. The following seasons saw Burnley fighting for mid-table positions, unable to find the magic formula for a return to the Premier League.
In October 2012, Sean Dyche was appointed manager. Dyche, with his pragmatic approach, immediately began to lay down the foundations for a competitive side. The 2013/14 season was transformative. With a formidable partnership between Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, Burnley secured automatic promotion, finishing second. Turf Moor was buzzing again.
In the 2014/15 Premier League season, despite Dyche's best efforts and some memorable victories, Burnley found life tough and were relegated. But instead of despair, there was a feeling of resilience, a belief that under Dyche, the club was moving in the right direction.
Burnley's response to relegation was emphatic. They stormed the Championship in the 2015/16 season, clinching the title and securing immediate promotion back to the Premier League. This time, Dyche's Burnley was better prepared. They became known for their solid defensive structure and team ethic. The 2016/17 season saw them finish 16th, but it was the 2017/18 campaign that truly showcased their growth, finishing an impressive 7th and earning a spot in the Europa League qualifiers.
While their European adventure was short-lived, Burnley had made their mark. Over the next few seasons, they solidified their status as a tough Premier League outfit. Key players like James Tarkowski, Nick Pope, and Ashley Barnes became synonymous with Burnley's success.