Burnley wins Southern hearts

14th February 2003 at 00:00
You need empathy for this one. Imagine you are on the terraces, wearing the claret-and-blue of a certain Lancashire soccer team. Now raise those fists and chant: "We are Burn-ley from the north!"

Not inspired? Well you're probably not from Burnley. So why are a bunch of southern kids - from Milton Keynes, in fact - shouting for the Clarets? The explanation lies with Burnley-mad Jim Hudson, head of Two Mile Ash middle school. He has spent a decade brainwashing his young charges into supporting his beloved team. Perhaps he's done them a favour: chances are most of them would otherwise have ended up supporting Man United.

Anyway Burnley now has a thriving fan base in Milton Keynes, with 50 pupils, staff and parents regularly travelling to away matches in the Midlands and South.

The match they're really looking forward to is the end of season clash against Wimbledon. The Dons have plans to relocate from south-west London to Milton Keynes, hoping to find a bigger fan base there. They'd better not count on Jim Hudson's school though - it's providing Burnley's mascots for the game.

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