Aberdeen legend Anderson recalls his all-too-brief Turf stint
Aberdeen legend Russell Anderson was with the Burnley party on the day they first won promotion to the Premier League at Wembley in 2009.
And he is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with the Clarets when they make their long-awaited return to European football at Pittodrie on Thursday.
Anderson was signed by Owen Coyle on loan from Sunderland 10 years ago, but, cruelly, in only his fifth game for the club in the League Cup against Fulham, he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season.
The Scotland international defender returned to the Stadium of Light, but was invited by Coyle to the Championship play-off final against Sheffield United, as Wade Elliott’s stunner sealed a return to the top flight after 33 years away.
Now, after 51 years since their last European campaign, Burnley are back, and, ahead of the Battle of Britain, Anderson looked back on an all-too brief spell at Turf Moor: “It ended up being a really good season for obvious reasons, with the promotion to the Premier League.
“It seems like a lifetime ago...it was a slow start, but ended up being a great year for the club. I really enjoyed my time, it was only a month or five weeks or so, and then I got the injury, but it was a great changing room.
“Even though I went back to Sunderland, Owen Coyle was good enough to invite me back for a change of scenery when I was doing my rehabilitation. I was still registered to Burnley for the duration of my loan spell, and it was a nice touch to be invited to Wembley as well.
“I was nowhere near fit, but the season had finished for Sunderland and it was good to get some training under my belt with Burnley, so it worked out for me to get some fitness.
“The players who had played all season were doing so well, and probably weren’t expected to go up that season, but they were brilliant.”
Anderson, now a Dons ambassador, can’t believe the strides Burnley have made since: “The difference between the club then and where it is now is night and day.You always need a bit of stability, and you have to have the right man in place.
“I don’t know Sean Dyche, but he’s done a really good job.
“We used to get changed at Turf Moor and drive to Gawthorpe – Aberdeen still get changed at Pittodrie, and they’re currently raising funds for a new training ground.
“That is where Burnley were 10 years ago, and it shows clubs have to try and continue to develop on and off the pitch.
“Funnilly enough, those journeys to the training ground were great.
“It could be a bit of a pain, as you can imagine, and with the way the club is now, it’s unimaginable. But I remember Thommo (Steven Thompson) had an old style Mini, me and him wedged into that, with his knees around his ears!”