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Dreams can come true

August 28, 2014

Back in the mid 90’s, I. like many young kids, collected the Merlin’s Premier League sticker albums. (The fact that this summer I was busy collecting the World Cup album is another story.)

I still remember the first album, 93/94 season, it had a blue cover with Ryan Giggs on. I remember random players such as Everton’s ‘Preki’ – “Why doesn’t he have a last name, Mum?”

I remember QPR, Ray Wilkins was still playing and there was Les Ferdinand off course. The QPR player that sticks out in my memory though is the moustached Gary Penrice; don’t ask me why, he just does. Maybe I had him on swap 14 times.

93/94 was also the season I started watching Albion, the Beazer Homes Southern Premier League days.

Over the seasons you start building dreams, things you’d just love to see your team do. Back in them days it was fairly basic stuff, like holding onto a lead against Gresley Rovers.

By 2002, the Albion had accomplished some of the things I had dreamt off. We’d won a couple of cups, I’d experienced proper FA Cup nights under the floodlights against the likes of Woking and Boston United (boo hiss!).

Seeing Burton play League football becomes a more realistic dream. Seeing Burton not only play, but draw with Man Utd and play at Old Trafford goes from being a grand delusion to an absolute pipe-dream come true.

I witness come-backs that the editor’s of ‘Roy of the Rovers’ and ‘The Hurricanes’ would have dismissed as being too unrealistic, as with 7 minutes remaining we come from 1-3 down to win 4-3. We do that twice, in 2 months. And with just 10 men on the first occasion.

I see the Albion win promotion on a balmy spring day in Torquay, one of the best weekends of my life.

The dreams keep coming, I want to see the Albion produce more cup-shocks, lets beat a bigger team at their place, lets climb this football league, lets go to Wembley!

August 2012, Jacques Maghoma and co stun Leicester City and send 700 of us travelling fans absolutely delirious, a 4-2 win, some astonishing goals, one of Burton Albion’s finest nights…

I’ve still never seen us score against a Premier League team though, despite Jonny Shaw and Stridey coming mighty close against Utd.

Albion vs Fulham, a League Cup 2nd Round emotional rollercoaster, Jack Dyer slams in a perfect volley to send the West Stand into raptures before Symesy heads us into the lead, 2 goals against Prem opposition, 2 amazing goal celebrations, 1 hell of a night, one day we will beat top-flight opposition.

2013/14 kind of trundled on, lets be honest it wasn’t a vintage season, devoid of the unbelievable goals and games of the 2012/13 season but full of new found grit and resilience that sent us all the way to Wembley…

That afternoon at Roots Hall, I’ve never felt sicker watching a football match. Relief was the feeling at full time, but it sunk in on the way home as the mobile went red hot with phone calls, texts and tweets… I was going to see the Albion at Wembley.

I’ve never blogged about that rainy day 3 months ago, it was tough to digest, a right mixture of emotions. Amazement at watching the Brewers play at the home of football, frustration that we didn’t do ourselves justice, and ultimately despair as the ball flew over Lyness’ head and into our net to give Fleetwood their (deserved) moment of glory.

It was still a good day, but it could’ve been so much better. This year…

Anyway, back to dreams, and for all the things Albion have accomplished in their relatively short 64 year history there was one thing that still eluded us, beating a top flight team.

Charlton hammered us back in ’56, Leicester got a scare from David Vaughan in ’85 but won the re-match 1-0. We all remember the 8th January 2006 well, and Fulham very nearly succumbed to the Brewers last August.

Burton Albion vs QPR. I was quietly optimistic but not overly, from Matlock in ’75 to Bradford in 2013, if there’s one thing Brewers fans know it’s not to get too carried away.

It was a strong QPR line-up and an interesting Albion line-up, how well would Matty Palmer and Marcus Harness acquit themselves against Prem opposition?

It was only 4 months ago that I sat and winced as Newport defenders went flying in on Harness, his slight frame had me worried he’d just snap. He looks like he’s bulked out ever-so slightly since last season, a bit more strength to accompany his raw pace will only benefit.

We started well. We were sharp, keen, precise. McDonald could’ve scored, Knowles perhaps should have.

QPR had the odd moment, there would be a sudden quick-footedness, a sharp turn, a stark reminder these were Premier League professionals we were up against.

But for all their skill, you had to question the attitude of some. Taarabt looked unfit, slightly overweight even. He seemed to just want to shoot, Sheriff and Sharpsy never gave him that opportunity.

QPR went close with Hoilett hitting the bar, before Micky and me went and well, hit the bar.

“We’re looking good here”, was the carefully worded first half observation over a swift pint. Don’t want to get carried away just yet…

Second half we looked even better. Harness’ pace and trickery caused QPR and Clint Hill in particular problems, whilst over on the opposite wing, McDonald was having 1 of his best games to date in the yellow and black.

QPR’s Faurlin injured himself in front of the home terrace, “here ya are, have this!”, Ian shouted, offering his walking stick out to the injured Argentinian, I wonder if the crowds are that caring in South America?!

70th minute, we’re on top, we need to score. I’m moaning about Adam McGurk, we know what he’s capable of but he just seems to saunter around whilst the others bust a gut… we turn to eachother (Me and the lads, not me and McGurk) “If anyone scores, it’ll end up being him!”

In the 77th minute, Adam McGurk scores.

The goal was a superb free-kick, a wonderful, clean strike that flew straight into the back of the net, beyond the reach of the diving, despairing Murphy.

Unbelievable scenes in the Pirelli Stadium.

The free-kick was won by Harness after he was hauled down by Richard Dunne, after again striking fear into the QPR backline with another fierce run.

The minutes passed, the yellow army sang, the players battled… not even Bobby Zamora could spoil this.

With the referee’s blow of the final whistle, history had again been made by the Albion.

It seemed like the whole ground had stayed to applaud the Brewers off, I’m sure the players could’ve stayed out for another 10/15 minutes lapping up the celebration and applause, I’m kind of disappointed they didn’t, did they not realise what a big deal this was?

Or, is it simply a case of the players thinking yes it was some achievement, but it was an achievement they were perfectly capable off, it’s not that big a deal… if that’s their attitude, I love the confidence.

I love the Albion.

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From → The Albion.

One Comment
  1. Cracking start to the season for your lads. Told you it would be automatic promotion this season.

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