Following a closely contested 1-1 draw at Aberdeen’s Pittodrie Stadium on Thursday 26 July, European football will return to the Lancashire town after an absence of 51 years when last season’s Scottish Premiership runners-up travel south on Thursday 2 August.
While the return of European football to Burnley after more than half a century in the form of a two-legged tie against Aberdeen may not have been as glamorous as Clarets fans were hoping for, the fixture – and potential progress in Europe – is expected to have a positive impact on local pub trade.
Justine Lorriman of the Royal Dyche – which changed its name from the Princess Royal in honour of Clarets manager Sean Dyche after he delivered European football to Turf Moor by virtue of a seventh-place finish last season – said: “No doubt we will be very busy for the home leg on Thursday as we are only a five-minute walk from the ground. Plus having the game live on BT Sport will also bring in extra trade.
“Normally, when Burnley play at home, we tend to be empty as a high volume of our customers are fans who attend the games. However, more fans will stay if the game is live on Sky or BT Sport.
“In regards to promotions, we already run special deals on Thursdays so these will still apply. Two for £5 on specific bottles, two double vodka and mixers for £5, and also five bombs for £5. We call this ‘£5 Thirstdays’.
“Playing in Europe will definitely increase our Thursday trade and it also brings a positive atmosphere to the town, which reflects through our customers too – especially when we pick up a win and with all of the success we have had recently.
“It’s hard to compare the increase in trade to last year and put it down to Burnley’s success, as lots of factors have helped in this. This summer's heatwave, changing our name to the Royal Dyche, more live music and events. But the increased number of games Burnley are set to play due to the Europa League will more than likely have a positive effect on our trade.”
Burnley have a busy schedule ahead of them if they’re to join Chelsea and Arsenal in the Europa League group stage. Should the Clarets overcome Aberdeen, they will progress to the Europa League’s third qualifying round where they will take on İstanbul Başakşehir of Turkey for a place in the Europa League’s play-off round – where another two-legged encounter awaits.
Besides Aberdeen and Burnley’s all-British encounter on 2 August, there’s further home interest as Steven Gerrard’s Rangers look to ensure safe passage to the next round after a 1-0 away win against NK Osijek of Croatia, while Neil Lennon’s Hibernian travel to Tripoli in Arcadia, Greece, to defend a narrow 3-2 first leg lead against Asteras Tripolis.
Both the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League will be shown exclusively in the UK by BT Sport this season.