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Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Monday, 25 May 2009 17:31 UK

Champ play-off final as it happened



To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Jonathan Stevenson

1730: That, ladies and gentlemen, is a wrap for today. When the Football League returns, it will be with the BBC in tow - oh yes, we're getting involved next season. Not that Burnley care, Premier League high fliers that they are. See you on Wednesday morning for a little bit of Champions League final build-up, I'd expect.

Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell: "It doesn't get any easier to take, but we have to take it on chin and move forward. But I gave my congratulations to Owen Coyle. I'm going to go home and think of what to do now."

Text in your views on 81111
From Helen in Cardiff, via text on 81111: "I am a huge Blackburn fan, but my boyfriend is Burnley and he's at Wembley today. I certainly won't hear the last of this for a time but they deserve it, well done!"

Burnley chairman Barry Kilby: "After 33 years out of the top flight, we're back. Half the population of the town were here today, and this is for them. Owen Coyle has done a fantastic, superb job on a small budget, and I'm sure he's looking forward to pitting his wits against the Premier League managers next season."

1720: Spare a thought for Sheffield United - it's a gut-wrenching feeling they are experiencing right now. What an occasion to just fail to turn up to, they will be devastated at their lacklustre performance. Still no wins from five play-off appearances.

Get involved on 606
From Eavesey on 606: "Well done Burnley - where is the hot-bed of football? Eight Lancashire teams in the Premier League. The great thing is they did it playing proper football - all credit to Owen Coyle and his players."
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Burnley boss Owen Coyle: "We deserved the prize, but my heart goes out to Sheffield United. I was relaxed and I trust the players - if it wasn't to be, we'd have accepted that. But we've earned what is happening right now."

1711: Burnley will take their place in next season's Premier League, 33 years after they bowed out of English football's top flight. Their last game at that level was a 3-1 home defeat by Coventry on 24 April, 1976.

Text in your views on 81111
From the20mliteHammers, via text on 81111: "Congratulations and welcome to the Premier League, Burnley. The claret-and-blue conspiracy is complete."

Burnley manager Owen Coyle: "The players were magnificent. It was a great game, end-to-end. Sheffield United were brave and were coming at us even after they went down to 10 men. There's now a great adventure to look forward to. Regarding bringing in players, everybody knows our revenue. We may not have quantity but we have quality."

1704: Burnley captain Steven Caldwell leads his team up the steps at Wembley and collects the Championship play-off final trophy. As he thrusts it into the north London sky, he must feel like he is dreaming.

1702: Macca has the final say on the all-important stats of the day: "Wade Elliott's goal was worthy of a place in the Premier League and his display was worthy of top marks in Player Rater. He's bagged himself a 90th-minute mark of 8.26. Does it get any better for the lad? Who knows? Who cares? I'm lost for words. I don't know about you but I'm off to punch in some numbers."
Rate the players

Get involved on 606
From DaveBCFC on 606: "Great game and a sterling display from a Burnley side who must be absolutely shattered. 61 games and their reward is Premier League football. Excellent display and a cracking advert for Championship football."
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Burnley's Robbie Blake: "It's a fantastic team effort. The fans have been amazing all season, it's an incredible effort from everyone connected to the club. It's down to sheer hard work, that's all. It'll do so much for the town, this."

1657: That is one of the greatest fairytales in recent years in this beautiful game of ours. All the congratulations in the world to Burnley, this is a story you just will not be able to hear enough of.


Yellow card
1654: Arturo Lupoli is booked for a silly late challenge and we have run out of the five minutes of stoppage time. Any time now, Burnley.

1653: Heart in mouth time as Greg Halford gets his head on a big up and under, but it rolls through to Brian Jensen, who really hasn't had enough to do.

1652: There are two minutes of the five left - but expect more. Sheffield United need to launch it now, and quickly.

1651: Greg Halford's free-kick flies into Joey Gudjohnsson and Burnley break quickly, but Wade Elliott's pass is intercepted by Nick Montgomery, more very impressive defending.

1650: We're into injury time now and there will be five minutes of it. At least.

1649: Matt Kilgallon sends over a decent cross from the left, but the man mountain that is Clarke Carlisle is there at the near post to boot away the danger. Great defending. Meanwhile, Kyle Walker and Christian Kalvenes both need treatment after a nasty clash of heads.

1647: Chris Eagles sees a chance to take the glory as he skips past one challenge, but he cannot get past Matt Kilgallon and the chance goes begging for Burnley. Two minutes plus injury time left.

1646: Sheffield United are still ploughing it forward and Burnley are still dealing with pretty much everything. Greg Halford heads wide, and the Blades are running out of time.

1645: Burnley: five minutes minus Premier League.

1644: Lee Hendrie comes on for Stephen Quinn.

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From Matty Potts, Newcastle fan, via text on 81111: "I'm so down after yesterday but seeing this hard-working, up and coming team replacing us in the Premier League will make the relegation slightly easier to bear. Come on Burnley!"

1641: Sheffield United bring on striker Arturo Lupoli, on loan from Fiorentina, for Brian Howard.

1640: Burnley are 10 minutes, plus stoppage time, away from the Premier League. They haven't been in England's top division for 33 years. 33 long years.

Red card
SENDING OFF Jamie Ward (Sheffield United)
Is that the end of the Blades' hopes? The little striker can have no complaints, he controls a pass into the Burnley box with his right arm and he is shown a second yellow card for the two most needless handballs you could ever see. Silly, silly boy.

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From Zippy, George and Bungle on 606: "If Sheffield United don't get promoted, Naughton and Walker will anyway. How brilliant have they been today?"
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1636: Chris Eagles skips past a couple of tackles and sets Martin Paterson away, but after getting past a challenge himself, his shot is brilliantly blocked by Kyle Naughton.

Yellow card
1634: Jamie Ward is booked for a quite blatant handball after going up for a header with Clarke Carlisle, who has won an awful lot in the air today.

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Wembley: "Will Burnley be made to pay for their failure to score a second goal? They have certainly had enough chances. Blades boss Kevin Blackwell criticised the appointment of referee Mike Dean earlier in the week and, after another penalty appeal is turned down, I don't think they will be heading out for beers tonight."

1632: Burnley bring on local boy Jay Rodriguez, a striker, for Steven Thompson.

1631: It's got unbelievably lively at Wembley all of a sudden. The game is being played at a frantic pace and Sheffield United have started to give this a proper good go. About time too.

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From Andy, Blackburn fan, via text on 81111: "This is hard to say as a Rovers fan, but the type of football Burnley are playing will definitely not be out of place in the Premier League. Come on you Clarets, nearly there now!!!"

1629: Chris Eagles comes on for Robbie Blake, who has once again worked tirelessly all afternoon. What can those magic boots produce in the next 20 minutes or so?

1628: Referee Mike Dean is being booed by the Blades fans after Kyle Walker surges into the Burnley box and Christian Kalvenes gets across and eases him out of the way. It's a free-kick anywhere outside the box, but they're hard ones to award in the area.

1627: It's still mostly Burnley doing the attacking. Wade Elliott has another spanking shot from 25 yards hit a United defender - that could've gone anywhere.

1625: 'You'll never beat Kyle Walker'. Magnificent defending from the youngster, who has just kept his team in the game. Steven Thompson breaches the offside trap down the right on halfway and he sprints towards the box before trying to tee up Robbie Blake, but Walker gets back in brilliantly to make a crucial intervention. Sensational stuff.

1623: With injury time, there's probably about half an hour left. Frankly, if Sheffield United keep playing long balls, they don't deserve to get back on level terms here.

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From meekychuppet on 606: "Burnley need the second goal here. This kind of game often ends with the dominant team dropping a heartbreaker."
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1620: Sheffield United threaten briefly, but Craig Beattie looks like a headless chicken chasing a loose ball into the Burnley box. There's just no rhyme or reason to the Blades attacks, it's very hit and hope.

1617: Make no mistake, Burnley are dominating this match now. Sheffield United make their first change, with striker Jamie Ward coming on for David Cotterill.

Text in your views on 81111
From James, Villa fan, via text on 81111: "Anyone pick up on the scores for teams in claret-and-blue this weekend? Villa 1-0, West Ham 2-1, Scunthorpe 3-2. All won. So, 4-3 to Burnley anyone?"

1614: That has just kept Sheffield United in the game. Martin Paterson crosses from the right, Steven Thompson heads it across goal and with Paddy Kenny off his line, it's left to Joey Gudjohnsson to tap in - except Nick Montgomery is in the perfect position to block and the ball is diverted wide.

1611: Stephen Quinn goes on his first real run at the heart of the Burnley defence and Graham Alexander makes a full-length tackle which any 37-year-old on earth would be proud of.

1610: The 50-50 decisions do seem to be going Burnley's way and some of the Blades fans are growing increasingly frustrated.

1607: Robbie Blake gets into a fabulous position on the right-hand side of the Blades' six-yard box, but cannot pick out a fellow Burnley player. From the corner, Mike Duff just fails to connect at the far post, sliding in.

1605: We're back under way at Wembley - and we've just heard the news that manager Gordon Strachan has parted company with Celtic.

1604: Here's a play-off myth-busting fact for you, punters: In the 13 years since clubs finishing third to sixth at Champ level have qualified for play-offs, the one coming third has fared best of all, getting promoted five times. Sheffield United came third, incidentally.

Get involved on 606
From PyreneanPNE on 606: "Why can't the Blades have played like this against PNE, or should I rather be saying why couldn't PNE have played more like Burnley? They have played the first half brilliantly."
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Text in your views on 81111
From hotpot Jonny at Wembley, via text on 81111: "The Blades have no chance with these long balls. There's only one football team out there, come on Burnley!"

1555: Sometimes, Macca can't half sound a bit like my mum. She doesn't know her Player Rater, though: "Nervous? Me too. But biting your fingernails is a nasty habit and won't do anyone any good. Why not put those digits to better use by punching some numbers into our good friend Player Rater? Burnley goalscorer Wade Elliott is the current talk of this office, but it's not about us. It's about you."
Rate the players

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Wembley: "Burnley deserve their lead at the break - they have shown more invention in attack and look the least affected by nerves. United, in contrast, have been too direct and not played the sort of football that saw them deservedly beat Preston to reach Wembley. An important half-time for Kevin Blackwell."

1549: Half-time Burnley 1-0 Sheffield United
Burnley deserve their lead thanks to another quite stunning strike and it's hard to believe the impressive Wade Elliott has had too many better games this season. Sheffield United are far from out of this, but they might need to stop launching it and play a bit more football.

1546: Wade Elliott stands up a cross to the far post and Steven Thompson's header loops agonisingly wide of the far post. We're into first-half stoppage time and there will be three minutes at least.

1544: David Cotterill gets fouled 25 yards out, Mike Dean plays the advantage and Nick Montgomery lashes wide. Kevin Blackwell doesn't seem best pleased.

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live's Steve Claridge: "Sheffield United haven't had any influence going forward, and Burnley are only just coming to terms with the loss of Chris McCann. The game has deteriorated a little."

1541: Nick Montgomery charges into Martin Paterson down the Burnley right and it's a decent chance for the Clarets to pump the ball into the box - they do, but Montgomery makes amends by clearing.

1540: It's rocked along at a fair old pace this one, and there's five minutes plus stoppages left in the first half.

1537: Kyle Naughton seems to be fouled by Mike Duff down the Sheffield United left, but referee Mike Dean gives a goalkick. Harsh on the youngster.

1536: Steven Thompson is about five yards onside when he collects a pass from Robbie Blake, but the ludicrous assistant referee decides he's ahead of the play. That's just an out-and-out terrible decision.

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Wembley: "Note to Kevin Blackwell - don't let Burnley's attacking players have a decent sighter of your team's goal when they are approximately 25 yards away. In addition to Wade Elliott's goal and Martin Paterson's near miss, the Clarets scored two sensational long-range strikes against Reading in their last match."

Text in your views on 81111
From Pete, in Indonesia, a Burnley fan, via text on 81111: "I'm here in Bali. Ten members of my family are at Wembley. I wish I was with them."

1532: Clarke Carlisle goes for a 50-50 with Kyle Naughton and takes everything out - he wins the ball, but the youngster will need a bit of treatment after that one. Ouch.

1530: They must practice shooting from range all the livelong day. Wade Elliott again breaks through from midfield and he finds Martin Paterson down the right - he cuts in and curls a delicious left-foot shot just a couple of yards wide from 20 yards. Would've been a pearler.

Get involved on 606
From dodger9 on 606: "Burnley so far - nice football when they've got the ball, great goal. Sheffield United so far - hoof ball, and lots of moaning at the ref."
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1527: I was wrong - Chris McCann is not able to continue, so Joey Gudjohnsson comes on for Burnley on his 29th birthday.

1525: Burnley's Chris McCann needs a bit of treatment after suffering an injury while trying to clear the ball. Looks like a right knee job, but he should be OK.

Yellow card
1524: Burnley centre-back Clarke Carlisle is the first name in referee Mike Dean's book this afternoon for a foul on Sheffield United's Greg Halford.

1523: Sheffield United could do with a bit of a time out here. Burnley have gained in confidence and look more threatening, while the Blades are still happy to pump the ball into the Clarets box and hope something happens. We're halfway through the first half.

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Wembley: "Burnley manager Owen Coyle frequently talks about the importance of his players expressing themselves - and Wade Elliott's driving run and eventual shot for the opening goal was everything that Coyle's philosophy is all about. Burnley's fans are now expressing themselves - at high volume."

1519: They are a lovely team to watch when they knock the ball around, Burnley. They're like a poor man's Barcelona, except they quite like shooting from outside the box - maybe they could teach the Catalans a thing or two?

1516: Graham Alexander goes in for a challenge with Brian Howard and the Sheffield United man thinks he should have a penalty - referee Mike Dean gives a corner instead.

1515: They just do not deal in bad goals do they, Burnley? Every one seems to be a contender for goal of the month. Gorgeous finish from Wade Elliott, that.

1513: GOAL You don't save those, I don't care who you are. Wade Elliott goes on a rampaging run from halfway and when his pass to Chris McCann is blocked the ball falls for Elliott 25 yards out - he hits a little screamer into the top corner past a flailing Paddy Kenny.
Burnley 1-0 Sheffield United

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live's Steve Claridge: "I think Burnley will be quite happy if Sheffield United keep launching the ball into their box because they've got plenty of players capable of dealing with it."

1510: Greg Halford tries an ambitious free-kick from 35 yards that cannons into his team-mate Nick Montgomery - from the rebound the Blades pick it up again and Brian Howard's 20-yard right-foot shot flies into the arms of Brian Jensen.

1509: Martin Paterson skips past a couple of challenges and the ball falls to Robbie Blake, but his snap-shot is badly mis-hit and Paddy Kenny makes an easy save.

Text in your views on 81111
From Chris, disappointed Cambridge fan, via text on 81111: "I am most certainly not wishing I was there supporting my team Stevo, having watched us get beaten there in play-off finals two years running. I've had enough of Wembley for the time being."

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Wembley: "Players from both sides have spent the last few minutes hugging their team-mates and shaking hands. Both teams have a real togetherness but as I overheard one man on the bus say to his mate this morning 'Play-offs - thems all about nerves.'"

1504: Kyle Walker has the first shot of the match, a half-volley from 20 yards that is hit straight at Brian Jensen after Burnley half clear a cross from the Blades left.

1503: Judging by the messages coming in, it seems most neutrals are supporting Burnley today. So, not much sympathy for the way Sheffield United lost their Premier League status two years ago, then?

1500: Referee Mike Dean, who some people didn't really want to be refereeing today, gets us started at the home of football.
Blackwell unhappy with final ref

1458: The national anthem is belted out by a young lady, rather than a dude, today, and we're not far off getting under way at Wembley. Hurry up, first whistle!

Get involved on 606
From Sakaria2 on 606: "Bold move by Coyle to leave out Eagles and Gudjohnssen, I think they are being saved for the second half when they are fit, when they can have a huge impact on the game."
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1455: The teams are out, the fireworks are let off and the atmosphere sounds electric. Am I the only one imagining I'm there supporting my team right now?

1453: These gaffers have both got Wembley history, no doubts about that. Owen Coyle notched in the 1995 Division One play-off final as his Bolton team beat Reading 4-3. Kevin Blackwell, meanwhile, saved a penalty for Boston United in the 1985 FA Trophy final against Wealdstone - though they still lost 2-1.

Text in your views on 81111
From Sam Lovell, via text on 81111: "As a Blackburn fan I really want Burnley to get promoted as we need a proper local derby, unlike those played against Bolton. Plus we need the six guaranteed points that we have now lost since Newcastle got relegated."

Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell: "It feels as though our preparation has gone well and we're full of confidence. It's a blow not to have Darius Henderson, but we had his future to think about."

The sun is out
BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Wembley: "The sun has broken through - get that graphic out Stevo - and the atmosphere is absolutely fantastic. Everyone I have met connected with Burnley is gripped by an almost uncontainable nervous excitement. They are on new ground here. Blades fans seem pretty up for it too."

1443: Burnley v Sheffield United line-ups
Burnley: Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Elliott, Alexander, McCann, Blake, Thompson, Paterson.
Subs: Penny, McDonald, Gudjonsson, Rodriguez, Eagles.
Sheff Utd: Kenny, Walker, Morgan, Kilgallon, Naughton, Montgomery, Howard, Cotterill, Stephen Quinn, Halford, Beattie.
Subs: Bennett, Lupoli, Hendrie, Ward, Bromby.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

1440: I love it when people get so excited by a game that they say something just utterly brilliant. Here's Blades boss Kevin Blackwell earlier on in the week: "It's great to see Sheffield United playing the biggest game in world football." Hero.

Get involved on 606
From Simcut on 606: "After the pain of relegation yesterday (Newcastle fan), I can't wait to watch this play-off final to take my mind off of it all. I think Burnley and Sheff Utd are going to give us one hell of a game!"
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1435: This is Burnley's 61st match of the season, but incredibly they have only used 23 players - an extraordinary effort from Owen Coyle and his boys. Captain Graham Alexander, 37, has played in every single match and garnered 11 goals to boot.

1432: By the way boys and girls, if you give this page a cheeky little manual refresh, you'll see the score box appear as if by magic on the top right of your screen. I know it's not very 'auto refresh brave new world', but hey, I don't make the rules.

1430: Stevo's ridiculous attempt at guessing the unguessable Predo:
Burnley 3-2 Sheffield United

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Wembley: "Not your industry standard 4-4-2s today. Expect Burnley to play 4-1-2-3 with Graham Alexander in a holding midfield role, Steven Thompson through the centre in attack with Robbie Blake on the left and Martin Paterson on the right. The Blades should go 4-2-1-3, with Brian Howard playing just behind Craig Beattie. Greg Halford and David Cotterill will play in the wider attacking positions."

Burnley boss Owen Coyle: "The lads did ever so well at Reading. We know what Chris Eagles has got to offer, but it's never easy to pick a team for a game like this. Both teams are full of quality players and we'll be going all out to get that prize. This is the biggest game of all."

Text in your views on 81111
From Anon, via text on 81111: "My dad and brother are there. Dad was my age last time Burnley were in the top division! I'm 42, dad is 75 this summer. Up the Clarets!"

Get involved on 606
From Eagleeeee! on 606: "You've got to think that Sheffield United will come out and not allow Burnley to settle and pass their way around the pitch. But Burnley can also sit back, defend and score with a moment of magic, as we saw in the semis. The Sheffield midfield trio are going to be so so important today."
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1415: Fletch is hearing that both teams are unchanged and we'll have more on both line-ups in due course.

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher (who is most definitely buzzing) at Wembley: "Shortly before kick-off today around 100 members of the army, navy and air force will parade around the edge of the pitch. They are here at the invitation of the Football League - indeed members of the forces have been here for every play-off final - as a way of saying thank you for the work they have done serving their country. On Sunday they were given an awesome reception by the crowd and I am sure it will be the same again today. I just went along to see FL chairman Lord Mawhinney, a former Security Minister in Northern Ireland, pay a generous tribute to their efforts. It was really quite touching."

1411: I'll be honest with you: I'm buzzing. I love play-off finals, and I really hope this one turns into a modern-day classic. If it's anything like yesterday's game, my word are we in for a treat. What a rollercoaster. You're buzzing too, I know you are. Prove it, by texting to 81111 and getting stuck in on 606.
Join the debate on 606

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Wembley: "The last game of the play-off weekend and there is undoubtedly an extra buzz surrounding this fixture, an electricity around Wembley. People are in their seats, lapping up the atmosphere, determined to enjoy their big day. I saw one Burnley fan on my way to the stadium at the moment he bumped into some mates from back home. 'Eh, look in here,' he said to them, pointing towards his carrier bag. 'Bloody hell,' said his mates after looking inside. 'Real Lancashire pies. Special.'"

1404: Ingredients: Burnley, Sheffield United, Wembley, pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the chance to face Cristiano Ronaldo, Steven Gerrard, Didier Drogba et al. This is pressure, make no mistake about that. Real pressure.

1400: Let's be honest, because you should always be honest, I find it's very much the best policy: this is the richest football match in world football, but we all know it's got sweet FA to do with money. It's eyes on the prize time, and the prize is the Premier League.

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see also
Burnley 1-0 Sheff Utd
25 May 09 |  Championship
Burnley Player Rater
18 Jan 07 |  Live Text
Championship play-off photos
25 May 09 |  Championship

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