Personally, I am not the type of supporter who looks forward to the start of the football season with any relish whatsoever.
For me, it represents an intrusion on the English cricket season and the looming onset of winter; it will be deep into September before my passion for the new season will be truly ignited.
Did I really just say that?
Nevertheless, a sense of duty compels me to turn my thoughts to an assessment of Burnley’s prospects for the campaign ahead.
Essentially, the outlook seems rather more promising than this time last year. The squad has been together for complete pre-season, without having to negotiate the turbulence of the Europa League and its farcical format.
Moreover, the squad seems basically fully fit and pre-season performances have been largely encouraging, creating a “back to business as usual” vibe.
The “Prodigal Son” style return of Jay Rodriguez will create a buzz amongst the Turf moor faithful; although it is a deal which should probably have happened a year ago amid the other principle acquisitions.
Erik Pieters and Bailey Peacock-Farrell (perhaps the most improbably named player in the club’s history) have merely compensated for the departures of Stephen Ward and Tom Heaton.
So the transfer business has taken on its usual ultra-cautious aspect, the Burnley hierarchy have never been ones to splash the cash, and a nervous wait lies ahead as Leicester assess whether or not to make a move for James Tarkowski as a replacement for Harry McGuire.
Those caveats aside, the squad generally looks well-balanced with no glaring weaknesses. So the new season may be approached with a degree of confidence.
The problems which manifested themselves last season must be addressed: a stronger start is required to instil some initial momentum; home form simply must improve (Burnley lost more than half of their matches at Turf Moor last season) and a more positive attitude in away matches would not go amiss.
The introduction of VAR in the Premier League represents a major sea change. Clarets’ fans will no doubt feel as I do that somehow it will be contorted to favour the “big clubs” and to disadvantage Burnley.
The perceived bias against the Clarets will ensure goals ruled out because Ashley Barnes’ big toe was deemed to be offside; or the merest brush of Ben Mee’s body against an opposing forward being rewarded with a spot kick.
In addition, we will no doubt be compelled to endure the agony of having to watch Burnley hang on to a 1-0 lead for six, seven or even eight minutes of VAR-induced stoppage time.
If most of the elements within their control go well, there should be no reason to fear for Burnley’s progress next season, indeed a top ten finish would not be beyond them. But the Premier League is a fickle and demanding mistress and nothing may be taken for granted, it is what makes us supporters keep coming back for more.
May I personally wish Clarets' supporters everywhere across the globe, a good season?
Written by uber Claret Dave Thornley, who contributes regularly for Clarets Mad. (TEC.)