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Bishop North congratulates Burnley on its promotion to the Premier League

11 April 2023

Alamy

Burnley players celebrate after securing promotion to the Premier League, on Good Friday

Burnley players celebrate after securing promotion to the Premier League, on Good Friday

THE Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, has expressed delight at Burnley FC’s promotion to the Premier League.

Burnley secured promotion on Good Friday after winning 2-1 away to Middlesbrough. The victory put Burnley, known as the Clarets, 19 points clear of third-placed Luton, thus guaranteeing Burnley’s promotion.

Burnley were relegated to the Championship on the final day of last season, having been in the Premier League for six consecutive seasons under their previous manager, Sean Dyche.

On Friday evening, Bishop North congratulated the club’s current manager, Vincent Kompany, a former Manchester City player, and the club’s players and staff on a “magnificent achievement”.

He remarked: “Since becoming Bishop of Burnley eight years ago, it has been my privilege to get to know the club and all it stands for really well. Burnley FC sits at the heart of its local community — literally and figuratively. Their amazing support comes from dedicated fans of all ages; it’s a real family club.

“I have also seen first-hand, as Bishop, how the club offers support to schools and community groups. Their journey over recent years has seen some highs and lows . . . but the club always bounces back. And now Burnley FC has put the widest smile on the faces of everyone in the town once again.

“As a long-term football fan myself, I’m aware of the power of football to bring people together and bring genuine pride to a local area. Burnley is already a premier town and we can now look forward to having a Premier League football team once again.”

Bishop North is two weeks off his own promotion of sorts, to diocesan bishop: 25 April is the confirmation of election at which he becomes Bishop of Blackburn; his installation will take place in June, at a date to be confirmed.

Burnley’s promotion means that, next season, Bishop North might find his loyalties divided when the club plays Arsenal, the team that he has supported since childhood.

Bishop North criticised the holding of the World Cup last year in Qatar, owing to the host country’s human-rights record. “Normally with the World Cup, I get passionately excited — I become like a ten-year-old boy again,” he said. “But, this year, I cannot get any way excited at all. This is, I think, a thoroughly unjust sporting occasion which is sullying football” (News, 25 November 2022).

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