Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Coyle is braced for hostile reception from Burnley fans

Owen Coyle admits it would be hypocritical of him to expect a warm reception from Burnley supporters after he spent more than two years encouraging them to be as passionate about the club as possible.

Coyle is set to feel the wrath of the fans who once idolised him as his Bolton side host the Clarets in the Barclays Premier League tonight, less than three weeks after his defection from Turf Moor.

Having guided Burnley into the top flight last summer for the first time in 33 years, Coyle went from hero to zero in the eyes of many of the club's supporters when he left for the Reebok Stadium earlier this month.

The Scot retains a strong affection for the Clarets but is ready to hear their supporters boo him tonight when his old and new clubs go head-to head.

“People are disappointed that you have left and I understand that,” Coyle said. “I asked those same fans for that passion and desire over the course of two years, so I can't then start complaining about it if it seems to be that they have turned on me.

“We were always up against it, but what we did was more than remarkable and we took the fans along with it. We asked the fans for that passion and it is a remarkable football club. Whatever happens, that will never leave me.

“I'll always have a special place for Burnley football club and if fans want to come and vent their anger and frustration at me, then so be it. I asked them to be passionate, so I can't then say stop being passionate about your football club. They love their football club and rightly so.”

Coyle said he was aware of some of the abuse that has already been directed at him, but the 43-year-old remains confident that in time, the memory of his achievements at Burnley will outlast those of his departure.

“As regards a group of fans, then some of the stuff that has been said — not that I have seen it, but people tell you bits and bobs about it,” Coyle said.

“It's happened and we have to get on with it. But what I do know is the job we did — and I say we, because we did it collectively at that football club - was remarkable over the course of two years. As time goes by I think everybody will look back and realise that it was such an important part of the history at the football club.” Manchester City midfielder Vladimir Weiss became Coyle's first signing for the club yesterday after joining on loan until the end of the season.

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