Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Burnley star Michael proves he's no Duffer

Michael Duff (right), pictured with Burnley manager Sean Dyche, played in 39 matches for his team this season. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Michael Duff (right), pictured with Burnley manager Sean Dyche, played in 39 matches for his team this season. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)

Northern Ireland managers are taking British football by storm these days. Brendan Rodgers is closing in on a Premier League title with Liverpool, Neil Lennon recently won his third championship in a row with Celtic and Tommy Wright has led St Johnstone into the Scottish Cup final for the first time in their history.

Shame about our players! Most of them have struggled this season.

There has been one major success story though. The thing is you may have missed it because the fairytale finish came the same day that word filtered out that David Moyes was going to lose his job at Manchester United, relegating everything else in the news agenda.

Burnley were promoted to the Premier League on Easter Monday.

And a key figure in this incredible achievement, playing 39 out of 44 Championship games to date, was Michael Duff, the 36-year old from Belfast, who won the last of his 24 caps for Northern Ireland in 2012, three of which came in those famous Windsor Park victories over England, Spain and Sweden between 2005 and 2007.

Duff's a decent bloke. He's a throwback to footballers of days gone by, making it the hard way, starting out in non-league and rising through the ranks to feature in the top EIGHT leagues in English football.

Last time Burnley were in the Premier League, Duff missed most of the season with a serious injury. Here's hoping he gets to play a bit more this time.

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