Date: 24th July 2011 at 9:39am
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The Clarets brought their South West tour to a close yesterday comprehensively beating League 2 Torquay 3-1 at Plainmoor in their fourth pre-season friendly of the summer and their second of the tour. The day was soured for Clarets fans though before the game even kicked off following an announcement by the club that they had accepted a £3 million offer from Owen Coyle`s Bolton for two of our key players, Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears. Both players have decided to stab the club in the back seeking glory in the Premier League with the hated Judas and of course the club, fearful of losing them for nothing when their contracts expire next month have timidly cashed in further weakening our chances of promotion before the season has even kicked-off! Eddie Howe and the club have tried to put a brave face on proceedings reassuring fans they will now use the money to find suitable replacements but with time running out we now find ourselves seven players light compared to the size of last season`s squad with three key players from that squad no longer with us (Cork and now probably Eagles and Mears). It would appear signings are imminent and there could be a new face at the club as early as tomorrow (Monday) but we certainly have a lot of catching up to do considering we are now the only club in the Championship yet to make a permanent signing this summer.

Both Eagles and Mears were at the ground yesterday in the crowd after being unceremoniously dropped from the squad named to face the Gulls. We can only surmise what sort of reception they are now getting from their Burnley team mates and what affect them going will have on team morale and the affect it could also have on the club`s pulling power in terms of attracting new players to the club.

The moves of course to the Reebok have not yet been finalised but things are looking bleak for the club with just two weeks to go now until the season kicks off in anger. Most of the debate yesterday during the match in the Clarets world of online chatting from fans unable to trek the long way to Devon was of course all about this disturbing news with bizarrely the game itself almost of secondary interest. Most VitalBurnleyites know my views on this subject and it has been aired and discussed in great detail on the site elsewhere so we won`t go over old ground again but concentrate now on the game itself.

Another two players were also absent from the squad named for the Gulls clash providing a few anxious moments for Clarets fans especially since one of those players was Martin Paterson. Pato had been linked with a move to Portsmouth so losing yet another player to make it three in one day would have been hard for Clarets to take. Thankfully though, the news filtered down confirming that he had simply been rested so we could all breathe at least one sigh of relief. The other player missing was keeper, Lee Grant.

In summary then Eddie Howe named nineteen players from his squad of 23 players down in Devon with Edgar playing at right back and Elliott out on the right wing. We lined up as follows:

Jensen, Edgar, Mee, Bikey, Easton, Elliott, Bartley, Marney, Wallace, Rodriguez, Austin

Subs: Stewart, Duff, Fox, Long, Hewitt, McCann, MacDonald, Fletcher

The Clarets came onto their pitch sporting their home kit for a change and within 8 minutes were a goal up. Marvin Bartley on a dash through the middle slotted home from 18 yards out to score his first goal for the club and put the Clarets 1-0 up. The Clarets then turned up the heat and indeed it took 29 minutes before Torquay created their first chance. New boy, Rene Howe attempted a side-footed shot that went wide. Before that Ross Wallace attempted a free-kick which easily beat the keeper only for the ball to hit the crossbar and skim away to safety.

Clarets fans did not have long to wait though before our lead was doubled. Our new loan, Ben Mee was the architect of the goal after a mazy dribble which led to him putting Rodriguez free. Jay Rod let rip with a low shot that hit the back of the net making in 2-0 after just 33 minutes played.

There was a scare for the Clarets just before half-time when the Gulls nearly reduced the arrears. Atieno got the better of Jensen getting behind the keeper. With an open goal in front of him somehow he could only find the side-netting. So 2-0 it was to the Clarets at half-time and a very convincing performance after the lacklustre one at The Mem in midweek.

Twelve minutes into the second half, Austin tried a somewhat acrobatic volley only to see the ball fly over the bar. Just past the hour mark though, Torquay`s impressive new striker, Howe let rip with a belter from 25 yards giving Jensen no chance as the ball thundered into the back of the net with a little help from the bar. 2-1 then after 61 minutes played.

Eddie Howe decided to make his first substitution two minutes after the goal bringing on McCann to replace Bartley on 63 minutes. Torquay at this point had their tails up looking for an equaliser and on 67 minutes Jensen saved a long range effort from Kee.

On 71 minutes, it was time for Howe to make some more changes so on came Duff, Fox and MacDonald replacing Mee, Easton and Elliott.

Austin on the right side of the box tried his luck on 73 minutes but his rising shot failed to beat Gulls keeper, Rice. Rice again came to the rescue denying Austin just a minute later after the former Swindon striker picked up an header from Jay Rodriguez only to see his shot saved.

With 13 minutes of normal time to go, the rest of the lads remaining on the bench got their chance including young Steven Hewitt. He joined Long, Fletcher and Stewart with the four of them replacing Rodriguez, Wallace, Edgar and Jensen.

The changes appeared to work with the Clarets lead restored to a two goal advantage two minutes after the substitutions. Alex MacDonald seems to be scoring freely these days in the pre-season friendlies and he added to his tally in the 79th minute although this time he was a tadge fortunate. After picking up the ball on the 18 yard line, he let rip with a shot that cannoned back off the post. The ball though hit the back of the luckless keeper to rebound back into the net and make the final score 3-1.

In the end then a job well done and a much better performance all round than the midweek shocker against Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night. Just a pity the gloss of the victory and performance was tainted after the earlier news regarding Eagles and Mears.

More Stats

Torquay: Rice, Nicholson, Ellis, Robertson, Saah, Mansell, Howe, Morris, McPhee, Lathrope, Atieno

Subs: Olenjic, Rowe-Turner, Kee, O`Kane, Mackin, Halpin, Oastler, Stevens, Yeoman, Spear

Number of Clarets fans at the game: 390


23 Replies to “Torquay Gloss Tarnished By Eagles and Mears News”

  • First time, I have ever felt so disinterested in a game, even a friendly one! The shocking news about Eagles & Mears simply killed my pig and I spent most of my time on Twitter watching the news and debate unfold between the two camps

  • Dear Phill I feel for a long time Chris eagles has played when he wants to. they are both good players of premiership qualities, Mears has a tendancy to go to sleep and drop incredible clangers. I feel that both have wanted to leave for a long time. Rhyse wiliams would be a great replacement for mears & there are payers out there that are more reliable week after weekRather than Eegles a week here & a week there

  • The point is they left because we could not offer them anything to stay and we had a whole year to try and do so. Howe described them as 2 of our best players, so now we have to find two more with just £3 million more to spend and the season just two weeks away.It is an unmitigated disaster for the club, one of the Board’s making and is just a symptom of the lack of ambition and lack of financial balls shown by them since we got promoted.

  • I’m glad they have gone they never really wanted to be here, i know you blame the board tmp and alot of things i agree with you regarding ambition of the club but not on this one. There are plenty of good young quality players out there who want to play for a Club like ours and not think of there own bank balance. I agree AC regarding Williams would be a good replacement and may even be better than greedy Mears, like i say lets see what happens in the next two weeks.

  • I must aplogise both for having difficulty this morning at keeping up with the panic that spread through all but a few brave parts of the ranks of VB while I was at Plainmoor yesterday, and for repeating here this Official Stement from I, Couch Potato that I have appended to various other threads already: “I asked a Gull fan when walking to that station after the game for his thoughts. He said that ‘Burnley’s class showed’. But, oh dear. Panic has taken hold in the ranks on VB. There were indeed also a few loud individuals on the terraces at Plainmoor yesterday, but also a fair few folk (from various parts of the country, including Burnley) taking a rather different view. A commonly heard view that I heard, amongst a very wide range, was that Eagles never really delivered what we all hoped he would, and hoped he would, and hoped he would… Another was that Mears was a known unsettled grumbler when he arrived, has been ever since, and that there has been a need for some time to get the pyschology of the sqaud sorted after *yley threw his bomb in the middle of it. Maybe it was the beautiful English Riviera sun that was making a fair few folk there be slightly more cheerful than those posting on this site yesterday? I think it also helped to see a more than decent performance. As usual Andre looked perhaps less awake than the others, and Edgar will need practice if to play at RB, but actually looked quite good going forward. (Can Mears defend?) Austin hasn’t got himself quite into gear yet. He plays in ways that I can’t quite read. Alex Macdonald looked razor sharp. Wes Fletcher had their central defenders on edge. Mee looked great. When was the last time you saw a Burnley central defender running forward with purpose in an opponents half and finishing, without breaking stride, with the sort of cross that Eagles never quite seemed capable of delivering right-footed, let alone left? The Torquay goal stole the show. May not see a better shot all season. But this was a bright performance that suggested the players are not losing their heads, even as some of the fans are disappointingly losding theiers.” End of Official Statement! Cheer up for heavens sake. 🙂

  • I think some folks need a better grip on reality. Football is probably the easiest way to blow a fortune in the world. The board – and I have had my moments criticising them (I did feel that Cork would have proven a sound investment, though I admoire the cause to keep to a pay structure). This deal is really good business. Mears, for all his attacking prowess, has been responsible for at least as many goals conceded because of his time in the opposition half rather in our half. This may not always have been his fault, as managerial tactics designated him as out right winger. We have probably conceded as many, if not more, goals beacuase he was awol over the last two seasons – hence, in part at least, our abysmal defensive record – and not helping the confidence of whichever centre-back pairing and keeper. No loss, especially cause he’s been grumpy and desperate to get away as soon as the opportunity preented itself. I’ve been saying for a while we should cash in on Eagles. No doubt an occasional talent, he has been fragile physically and a real tendency to fail to make an impact in more games than he does. Flair does not equate to value. Both will struggle in the Premiership as they did last time and, who knows, may even help the demise of Coyle’s ineffective tactical performance at that level. Let’s see what Eddie can do with the £3M which the website says will be reinvested (though Eddie said ‘some’ which is a bit of a concern). I have a suspicion that we will be a very effective force this season from some wonderful home-grown talent, just waiting for it’s moment with the addition of a few Ben Mee types too. That, I think will show our ambition; a financial success; and, with a wing and a prayer, promotion. It’s a time to support our team, and to stop being mealy-mouthed whiners from the outside, where, of course, it’s easiest and costs nothing.

  • We are stuffed,Mike! Sorry but we are. £3 million with just two weeks to kick off will buy who and what sort of quality? Do you seriously think anyone of the calibre of Cork,Eagles and Mears is going to want to come to this club on the pittance of a salary cap we have at this club? We can look forward to unproven talent from Lg1/Lg 2, loans and blooding youth in a season where it is critical we get promotion before the FIFA Fair Play kicks in. We all know the reality of the footy financial world but until we can compete in it and have a little bit more ambition and financial balls we will be stuck in midtable mediocrity or worse with falling gates, falling revenue and falling salary caps making us totally uncompetitive at this level

  • Im sorry Mike Mada but I disagree with you over Eagles. Flair players hit dry patches, and are usually inconsistent. But lets face it, 15 goals for a winger is exceptional and he well and truly makes up for it with his good and sometimes great performances. He is a constant threat and can produce a bit of magic when we need it most. And unfortunately, we will no longer have his quality at our disposal.

  • It seems we are going for the Arsenal approach, lots of young players but no signings in key areas such as defence. We have or should have the money to be reinforcing but don’t seem to be and we are the only club in the championship not to have secured any full time signings so far, with a club that should not be struggling financially unlike many others. Do you think its any consolation that our “class showed” against league 2 opposition? With 2 weeks to go any possible new signings are not going to be gelled into the team and squad morale is going to be very low, all this bodes for a stuttering start and and even more miserably poor finish. Mike do you honestly think promotion is an achievable option?

  • You’re right there CP , it’d be interesting to hear the players’ views on all this. They no doubt will be aware of Eagles’ skills and like us, marvel at his silky skills when on form, but I wonder how they felt during those matches when he was abysmal? Did they think like we did . . get him off FFS ? The other aspect is that this could remind them of all the pain that Coyle caused this club of course, but that could also have the positive effect of pulling them all together. Time will tell.

  • I think Mears and his moodiness and Eagles lack of appreciation of his place in the real world (what was that car he bought?) will not be missed quite as much as you might think. Down the years, the very best Burnley teams have been squads that performed consistently and well as a squad, and a dilettante-free zone’. Eagles so-called ‘quality’ was watery to say the least and we will have a true team this season, which will more than make up for his 15 goals – and those games where he simply failed to show up at all.

  • ‘until we can compete in it and have a little bit more ambition and financial balls’ – so which kind benefactors want to make themselves a million – by throwing ten million at a football club. Or…we could always keep our eyes and ears open for some chicken-pluckers eh!

  • The very image we portray being ‘ickle small town-mentality Burnley with no brass farthings to rub together, by its very nature puts potential investors off!! Chicken pluckers ferkin it up in the Premier League, or Chickens not prepared to take any calculated risks in the Championship? You take your choice but what is clear we have not got a cat in hells chance of promotion this season but yes,I would just love to eat humble pie! As I said before though,I cant remember what it tastes like!!

  • And it’s all very well when you want others to throw their well-earned at it, not yours! My last humble pie was but two years ago actually, not so long ago.

  • I throw my well-earned at it! It’s called a mortgage and albeit on a much smaller scale, had I not speculated to accumulate by now I would be living in a tent and pleading poverty!

  • Would somebody be kind enough to explain to me , why we appear to be entitled to expect promotion more than , West Ham , Birmingham , Blackpool , Hull & Portsmouth ? and are we not realisticly little old Burnley compared to the likes of Leeds , Notts Forest , Ipswich , Southamton , Leicester , Derby & Cardiff , who can all muster much bigger home crowds than us , even when we are playing in the premier league and they are playing in the Championship , hence they will always be able to sell more mechindise , pull bigger sponsors and be more media popular , even though it hurts to admit , these are simple facts !

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