It is a goal etched in the memory of every Burnley supporter.
Robbie Blake, a wizard of a player, leveled off and hit home a smashing volley in the Clarets’ first top-flight game in a generation to unleash mayhem at Turf Moor and ultimately defeat the defending champions and all conquer Manchester United.
Fast forward over a decade and the former Claret is now in the dugout, aiming to inspire players to their own heights. Blake has been named permanent manager of Bognor Regis Town, in the seventh tier of English football.
READ MORE: Blake tells us about this famous winner against Manchester United
He was in charge on an interim basis but his appointment is now permanent at the Isthmian Premier Division club. It is the first managerial position for the 46-year-old who played under three contrasting managers during his two spells at Burnley in Stan Ternent, Steve Cotterill and Owen Coyle and will take pieces from all three as he hones his own approach.
“Stan was barmy but brilliant!” said Blake. “Although he was crazy he was a fantastic manager to play in and he was a great guy. “Cotterill was quite intense but very good at his job and then we had Owen Coyle who was a bit more available and improvisational .
“There will be extracts that I will take from them. Throughout my playing career, I’ve had certain managers that I can adapt things from. I think it’s important that I try to do that, both the good and the bad of managers! Playing for several years, I have seen the ups and downs of a number of managers.
Unsurprisingly for a player who was a natural striker, Blake is looking to bring a forward, possession-based style to the South Coast looking for a promotion push next season.
“I like to play on the front foot and attack,” Blake said, speaking to Launches Live. “I’m not someone who’s going to sit around and bang teams on the counter. I want to be a team based around the ball, with passing and penetration with fast passing and running and I hope people see that in the way we play.
That was certainly evident in Blake’s first game since taking the job permanently, a 4-1 thrashing of Margate on Saturday. Bognor Regis is sitting mid-table heading into the final weeks of the season and attention is already turning to summer signings and what the next term could bring to a club that was in the National League South as recently as in 2018. local clubs higher up the pyramid are among the new boss’s goals.
“It’s very important that we try to add a bit more quality and we will try to do that,” Blake said. “We have to keep going and try to have a more successful season than this.
“You always have to try to implement your style and how you see yourself as a manager and the team going forward, you can have a style or a formation, but it all depends on the players as far as I’m concerned.” We want to recruit the right people to fit the system I want to play and the way I want to play.
“It’s not easy to do that outside of the league, at football league level you have a lot of choices to choose from. At that level it can be quite difficult to bring players in and we have to working with the resources that the club has. Where we are geographically is not the ideal place because there are not many teams around us, it is not as easy, but we must trying to tap into teams like Brighton and Portsmouth and maybe also Eastleigh and Havant & Waterlooville.
Blake, despite being based 300 miles from Turf Moor, is still keeping a close eye on the Clarets and believes all is not yet lost for Burnley’s Premier League hopes.
“Hopefully with Sean’s experience, he and the players can produce some magic and come out of the bottom three,” he said. “They’ve caught up all season, struggled a bit a month ago, and they have to do it again, but the games are running out.”
Blake was a vital player in Burnley’s first season in the Premier League and the hope is that the current campaign won’t be the end of an era for a side who have spent seven of the last eight years at the top of the table. , although Blake, like most Clarets supporters understand that Burnley have been overweight lately.
“One thing the fans are realistic about,” said Blake, who has made over 200 appearances for the Clarets. “They know it’s very difficult to compete, even with mid-table clubs, in terms of resources and finances and while some supporters of other clubs and the press might think Burnley should show more ambition. but i think they are, and if your finish fourth from bottom every year with the resources they have then you have to say it’s a success hopefully they can find a way to come out on top again this season.
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