The Ultimate Bogey

Jean-Louis Valois - played as a lone striker last season
Perhaps Wolves supporters have persisted to shine beams of bright light in the eyes of our centre forwards for two decades, as they prepare to shoot on goal. Ok, maybe that’s not feasible, but whatever the excuse for our ‘no show’ performances at this ground, surely the time has come for Burnley to well and truly rid themselves of this enormous bogey!

In recent years the Clarets haven’t managed a solitary goal at the house which Jack built, let alone come back to East Lancashire with a point! To make matters worse, Wolves are sitting comfortably in the top six of the Championship, have a squad full of experienced pros, come into the game on the back of a 4-0 away win at Crewe and in Carl Cort, have a striker leading the race for this season’s golden boot award.

Steve Cotterill’s Burnley side also come into the game in high spirits after overwhelming Joe Royle’s Tractor Boys at Turf Moor earlier in the week. The 3-0 win provided the Clarets with only their second win of the season, but in league and cup their run now extends to three games. It was clear that the 4-5-1 formation employed enabled our midfield to express themselves and play the football we all knew they were capable of doing. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, right, but don’t rule out the same formation on Friday night, when the Clarets go live to the world on Sky Sports.

Neil Grewcock is quickly becoming famous in Burnley for something he shouldn’t be all that proud of, that being the last Burnley player to score a goal at Molineux, now over 19 years ago. Last season Burnley went down to a 2-0 defeat, with the Wolves goals coming from their Scottish forward, Kenny Miller and in the second half, from Paul Ince. Playing with Jean Louis Valois as a lone striker, it proved to be a frustrating evening for a Clarets side which barely managed a shot on goal throughout the entire 90 minutes and were reduced to 10 men right at the death as John McGreal was given his marching orders for a second yellow card.

In March 1995 the clarets travelled to the Black Country lying 23rd in the first division. Steve Bull needed just two goals to reach 200 for his club. He would have to wait to reach that tremendous landmark, but unsurprisingly he did score one of the two goals, bringing down a ball from David Kelly and prodding it past Wayne Russell in the Burnley goal. The points were always going to go with the team in gold, once Neil Emblen caught Russell off his line from 18 yards on the hour mark, making the score 2-0.

After relegation in 1995 Burnley avoided Wolves for a further five years, until they met in August 2000 for a first division match with Stan Ternent now at the helm. This is probably the one game in recent history where the clarets really should have taken something from the game. All afternoon Burnley were solid in midfield and our defenders were rarely tested. The Clarets played well, but still came away without a point or a goal, as a Steve Sedgeley strike brought an end to the Clarets unbeaten start to the new season.

Gareth Taylor - headed into his own goal
When the two sides met at Molineux in October of the following season, Burnley were lying third in the first division and only a single point behind Wolves in second. The game was all but over by half time, with Burnley shipping three goals to a far superior Wolverhampton side. Gareth Taylor scored the first goal of the game, an own goal, placing a flicked header past Michopoulos from a Mark Kennedy centre; a goal he would have been proud of at the other end of the pitch. On 20 minutes their lead was doubled as Burnley’s Greek shot stopper failed to come for a cross, which Alex Rae hooked over his head into the roof of the goal. Five minutes before half time and the scoring ended as Colin Cameron struck a free kick which deflected off former Wolves midfielder, Paul Cook, past a wrong footed Michopoulos.

In the summer of 2002 it was further torture for Clarets fans as Burnley again were well beaten 3-0. An early strike from former Blackburn Rovers striker, Nathan Blake, set the tone for the afternoon. Denis Irwin scored the second with an excellent free kick, following an earlier Kenny Miller penalty miss. Jeff Winter then saw fit to reduce Burnley to ten men, with Paul Cook the man sent for an early shower. Wolves finally brought Burnley’s misery to an end as Kevin Cooper walked the ball round Michopoulos, before tapping into an open net right on full time.

Despite reaching the Premiership in May 2003, Wolves were unable to prevent a visit from Burnley as the sides were paired up for a midweek League Cup tie at Molineux in October of the same year, in front of a healthy crowd of over 18,000. After holding the Premiership side in the first half, Burnley’s hopes of cup progress were shattered as Kenny Miller beat Brian Jensen in goal within minutes of the restart. A second goal later in the game, headed home by Jody Craddock put Wolves into the hat for the next round and again sent the Burnley faithful home with not even a goal to talk about.

This rotten sequence must come to an end soon and it would be even sweeter if we could win a league game on Sky Sports; something else which Burnley fail to do quite frequently. Whatever happens, let’s hope that at the very least, when the referee blows for full time on Friday night, that Neil Grewcock is no longer the most recent Claret to score at Molineux.