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banner Friday, 4 January, 2002, 22:42 GMT
Why I love... Burnley
The Prime Minister's director of communications Alastair Campbell talks about his passion for Burnley Football Club.
Alastair Campbell has followed Burnley for over 40 years
The Prime Minister's director of communications Alastair Campbell reveals why he follows Burnley Football Club.

The very first game I saw, we were reigning champions of the football league.

I don't know whether that had something to do with explaining why I became a follower.

Where I grew up for the first 11 years of my life, we lived equidistant away from Bradford, Leeds or Burnley.

But it was always Burnley for me.

So from that dizzy height, I followed them all the way down to the bottom, where we nearly got kicked out of the league.


So far, it has been an amazing - and thoroughly deserved - season
Alastair Campbell

The town and anybody who had anything to do with the club came to realise we were very, very close to losing something very special.

I have always seen that moment as the turning point.

If we hadn't reached those depths in the way that we did, then we would never have climbed back up in the way that we have.

I have been travelling a lot lately after the 11 September atrocities, so I have probably seen fewer home games than I have for quite a few years.

But I've seen a fair few away games, including our pretty disastrous outing against Manchester City last week.

But so far, it has been an amazing - and thoroughly deserved - season.

Burnley manager Stan Ternant shouts from the sideline
Stan has done a fantastic job

I think Stan Ternant has done an incredible job given our pay bill and transfer outlay is a fraction of Manchester City or Wolves and a couple of the other clubs.

I try to keep up with all the football scores while I'm at work.

As rare as it is for me to praise the BBC, you can usually find out what's going on in the world through thanks to a pretty good website and the world service.

As for Saturday's FA Cup tie against Canvey Island, as any Burnley fan will tell you, one of the worst days in out history was in 1975.

We were doing well in the then First Division and we lost to Wimbledon, who were then a non-league club in the FA Cup - that was really, really grim.

I don't think anyone will be taking it for granted on Saturday.

But I have to say, on current form, we ought to be fine and we are all dreaming about Blackburn in the fourth round.

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