Stan was gone, it would take a man of real substance to instill a belief in a beleaguered Burnley, that man was Steve Cotterill.
When Steve Cotterill walked in the door to just 8 first team players (Jenson,Roache,Camara,Blake,Grant,Ian Moore,Branch and Chaplow) and two youth players (Matty O’Neil and Joel Pilkington). That would not be good enough to win any game, so off he went with little money Burnley could afford to give him after the ITV Digital fiasco still hurting the finances of this great club.
His Loan signings were a gamble at the best ,But he unearthed a diamond in the shape of Gary Cahill (On loan from Premiership Aston Villa), England U21 Whittingham joined too for a month. as too did Irish U21 Dean Bowditch and Welsh U21 Richard Duffy . But there was some strange ones too Sanokho who made just three sub appearances. John Oster who left us to play in the Premiership with Reading, Jean Louis Valois who just disappeared of the face of the planet.
That January Burnley spent Erm? Big? (£600k)in the shape of Ade Akinbiyi a centre forward who would become a enigma in a Burnley shirt ! his first start in a Claret shirt lasted just under two minutes ! Getting himself sent off for a forearm smash and an attempted head butt on Sunderland's George McCartney .
Robbie Blake (Burnley's top scorer) was sold to Premiership Birmingham City for £1.75 mil ,after being the subject of a bidding war between Birmingham and Paul Jewell's Wigan athletic ,Richard Chaplow was also sold by Steve Cotterill for a fee of £1.5 mil to West Bromwich Albion.
Steve's first game would stick more in my mind than anyone else's a 2-1 home defeat to Dundee United, with Owen Coyle listed in the squad, it wasnt because it was the new managers firt game , it was my wedding day, and anyone who gave the half time pint a miss, would have seen me and my new wife on the pitch , with two bloody big bees.
This was Steve Cotterill's first season and it WAS a successful season ,we avoided relegation we had two magical cup runs Beating Liverpool (who at the end of the season would be crowned Champions of Europe) , Holding our fierce rivals Blackburn to a draw at the turf and with the help of the eight thousand Fanatical Clarets fans behind them losing marginally by the odd goal in three over at Ewood . Also Aston Villa had been put to the sword at Turf Moor with a mighty 3-1 scoreline.
2004 - 2005 Championship