RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Thursday, June 15

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: Burnley F.C.

(excited Burnley supporters, flexing their Premier League muscles)

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football dork methodology meant to establish a listing of players who have been most active for English Premier League teams in their past 100 non-friendly matches. Essentially, it is calculated by minutes played, but weighted towards most recent games. The end result is a listing of the 25 players in a team’s recent history who have had the largest hand on their metaphysical sporting trajectory. The English Premier League was chosen because it is the highest level of football played in an English speaking country, and I speak English. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA, where I fucking live. Should I not fail in maintaining my unpaid deadline, a new 25-Man Metaphysical Roster will appear on the 1st and 15th of every month.]

I do not pretend to know that much about Burnley, other than they are one of the handful of teams that appear to be headed for relegation at metaphysical level regardless of what season it is. In fact, this past season’s epic 16th place finish was the first time (of three) that Burnley got to Premier League status and didn’t immediately fall back down. So props to them for surviving into two straight.
When I look at pictures of them, or think about who they are, I generally go “Oh yeah, the team that I always think might be West Ham, but isn’t,” because they look like off-brand West Ham. Burnley the place is a large town/small city situated in northern England, which means it has manufacturing roots and likely a bunch of swollheaded drunkard supporters who have Brexit tattoos. (This is all conjecture on my part, to be honest, but metaphysical conjecture tends towards truth on the truth spectrum.)
Anyways, they will be launching into this second full season of Premier League, hoping to solidify themselves with a third. That is the nature of bottom-feeders like that – survive one, then survive another, and hopefully establish yourself as middle-of-the-pack regular for years aka the Southampton model. Occasionally, if you make it to that level, you accidentally end up in Europa League competition, and other times you find yourself in relegation zone most of the season, hoping to make the slingshot move up the table in March and April. Somebody has to be the new Sunderland. So here are the 25 mens who make up their most minutes played metrics past 100 non-friendly matches metaphysical roster…

#1: MICHAEL KEANE – Only 24 years old but senior player according to my idiot man metrics, and was a Manchester United youth academy wonderkid who never caught on with them, and only made a single appearance for them in August of 2014, before getting loaned off to Burnley to never return. But Keane’s time appears to be gone, as after having had successful high profile role last year, Everton appears ready to swoop. (Oddly enough, Manchester United was trying to come back for the dude, but ended up not wasting their waste money on him but on someone else.)
#2: TOM HEATON – GK since 2013 who also was ManUnited youth academy dude, who also failed to catch on there (actually never appearing for them), and also is former Cardiff City scum. But since May of 2013, he’s been minding the posts for ol’ Burnley. Heaton also just got to play for the English national team this past week in France.
#3: BEN MEE – Young defender who came up through Manchester City youth academy as wonderkid, but never made the main team (which is theme here for these Burnley fucks), got loaned out to the Turf Moor club in summer of 2011, and has been there ever since.
#4: GEORGE BOYD – Boyd been solid winger for Burnley since 2014, but appears to be ready to bounce down a level to Aston Villa. This is predictable behavior for shaggy-haired English dude who wears hairband and has most notably been loved at place like Peterborough United. When you got Peterborough United DNA (and hairband), you are perfectly content to relegate yourself contractually from the Premier League.
#5: STEPHEN WARD – Ol’ Dublin Irish boy who plays along left side from far full back to striker (from the left), and also a Republic of Irish national team mainstay the past few years. In fact, Burnley had a quartet of prominent team members who form the foundation of the Irish national team. Ward’s the old dog of that crew.
#6: MATTHEW LOWTON – Another young Englishman holding it down for Burnley. Of concern though is how many very normcore looking white dudes fill the top of Burnley’s metaphysical roster. The only foreign dudes are barely foreign, like Irish or (sort of) Welsh. This can’t be good model for successful athletics at premier league level.
#7: ANDRE GRAY – A BLACK GUY! So of course he is a striker, but also he is from Wolverhampton originally, so please insert shrug emoji. Also career banger around of lower leagues at places like Hinckley United and Luton Town. And yet, he did clock 9 goals in PL competition last season, which should prove holmes is not bound for return to VANARAMA CONFERENCE NORTH, which may or may not still be called Vanarama Conference but I am operating off a late model version of Football Manager. Sorry.
#8: SCOTT ARFIELD – Arfield been a smug-looking midfielder for the BurnDawgs since a summer 2013 trial with them boys.  Previously he’d been at Huddersfield Town, who got promoted for this upcoming season along with Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion (who are just one team, according to Wikipedia, as well as my extensive Jonathan Wilson readings). And like pretty much half of Burnley’s team this past six weeks, he’s been linked to a move to Newcastle, who are apparently going to sign all the middling Premier League players on Earth, and hopefully suffer another crushing disappointment. Fuck Newcastle United.
#9: SAM VOKES – One of my Football Manager experiments was putting all the best Welsh players on Wrexham and seeing how high I could get them in football world. They did not get that high once Gareth Bale’s career was plagued by injuries (other than brief Aaron Ramsey peak period) but Sam Vokes became a staple at occupying minutes in less-than-outstanding fashion. So when he had an overlooked handball against Swansea City this past spring which almost forced Swansea into relegation, I thought, “of course, fucking Sam Vokes.” Also, he is “Welsh” only because he has a Welsh grandfather. This means technically my children could play for the Welsh national women’s football team too, which is really exciting. None of my kids ever cared except for the youngest, and I took her to the local college women’s soccer game to learn how to play through observation. One player from last season who was fucking epic defender with spirit warrior passion, she graduated, and I had wondered where she was, so I googled her the other day. Guess what? She spent the spring playing in Cyprus and actually competed in the women’s champions league.
#10: JOEY BARTON – Barton makes the list having played for Burnley 2015-16, but going to Rangers last season, only to have contract terminated for practice ground dust-up, and came back to Burnley this past January, except he got suspended for 18 months for betting on football games, which naturally appears to be questionable. Now you may think, “Well this is probably betting on a game or two,” but no, my man Joey Barton bet on over TWELVE HUNDRED GAMES over the course of a decade, including games in which he was involved, though he has claimed he never bet against the team he was playing for when he was playing. The ironic thing about all this is he placed most all the bets he got busted for with Betfair, and roughly half the Premier League teams main kit sponsor are betting sites, and in fact Betfair themselves are “the official UK betting partner” of multiple Premier League teams, including Arsenal. So yeah, I get it, he should be banned (and I guess this means Joey Barton is now retired likely as he is 34, and already carried extra baggage before the betting scandal and Rangers fallout), but how can you take fistfuls of betting parlor money and then get mad when a player is making bets with those same sponsorship partners?
#11: JEFF HENDRICK – Another of them Dublin boys, who had been part of Derby County Rams organization in Ireland, before coming over to Burnley before last season. It appears Burnley is doing an Irish off-season tour as well, I guess pushing themselves there what with all the Irishmen on the roster currently.
#12: ASHLEY BARNES – Another unheralded striker who toiled in the lower levels of football, who played for a long ass time at Brighton & Hove Albion – one of the teams promoted to Premier League for next season. Also somehow despite being a thousand-year-old looking English guy born and bred in Bath, he is eligible for the Austrian national football team, though never having appeared for them at the senior team level as of yet.
#13: DEAN MARNEY – Born in Barking, grad of Tottenham youth academy, but been at Burnley since 2010. Did suffer horrible knee blowout in January that he’s just now coming back from.
#14: DAVID JONES – David Jones is an ugly motherfucker. Also he left Burnley before last season to remain at Championship level, moving to Sheffield Wednesday, who qualified for the Football League playoffs for promotion to Premier League, but were knocked out on PKs in two-leg semi-finals against eventual promotion winner Huddersfield Town. Thus David Jones remains in the second-tier (which also does not have terraces any more and is seated only stands).
#15: STEVEN DEFOUR – Defour was Burnley’s record transfer signing last August, coming over from Anderlecht in his native Belgium, but only appearing in 24 games for Burnley, not really making the impact he was expected to, and he might be bound for other ports pretty soon.
#16: JAMES TARKOWSKI – Young English defender who has played supporting role but is expected to step into larger role this coming season after Michael Keane’s expected departure.
#17: JOHANN GUDMUNDSSON – ICELANDIC WINGER IN THE HOUSE. I should probably try to be less rigid in my American-ness and figure out how to do all those linguistic things that aren’t native to my fat obese fingered Chinese buffet keyboard, but I haven’t thus far. I say this because “Gudmundsson” actually has like three different letters in his name than what I typed. Dangerous acts on my part because the fury of elven berserkers can easily be unleashed if the proper metaphysical respect is not shown. Hopefully my Gylfi Sigurdsson altar will save me.
#18: TENDAYI DARIKWA – Oddly, a second player with lower league Hinckley United roots. Hate to be judgmental, but I’ve got to assume a club with multiple dudes from Hinckley United might be in over their head in Premier League, and might be bound for relegation battles this coming season, and were likely lucky to avoid it last season. Word to Sean Dyche (Burnley manager), who likely made himself go-to Championship level manager of choice to chase promotion after keeping Burnley up.
#19: ROBBIE BRADY – Another of their Irish posse, and interestingly enough, most clubs will have very specific roles for players, maybe one guy who can play multiple levels along the flanks, from defender to attacking midfielder. Burnley has a handful of them, which likely that flexibility in role has allowed them to plug-and-play healthy people who are hot in ways that allowed them to overperform last season. Brady, along with Tarkowski, are young guys that Sean Dyche is hyping up right now during transfer hype season as being able to step into bigger roles and keep the club at this level. This time of year though, every fucking dude who you’ve never heard of is about to have a breakout season, and everybody is about to get the next Didier Drogba on transfer from a Turkish club you barely knew existed.
#20: ASHLEY WESTWOOD – Classic deep midfielder who tends to feed others who came to Burnley this past January, causing Burnley to challenge the infamous “no two Ashleys on the same team” rule that has been in place since Arsenal’s 1923 team.
#21: JON FLANAGAN – Liverpool youngster who was given the season-long loan treatment to Burnley last season, making a whopping 10 appearances, and now is back with his parent club, hoping to somehow crack his way into non-obscurity with regards to them, as he is still signed until 2019. It may be another season-long loan somewhere else for the lad.
#22: MICHAEL DUFF – Perhaps the origins of Burnley’s Irish connections is Michael Duff, defender from Northern Ireland (born in Belfast, raised in England) who held down shit on the back line for over a decade, from July of 2004 until retiring after Burnley earned promotion to the Premier League in the 2015-16 season. He remains with the club, working in their youth academy as a coach.
#23: MICHAEL KIGHTLY – Played regular role with Burnley from 2014 through last their successful Football Championship season, but got lost in the expanded roster last season at Premier League level, and ended up loaned out to Burton Albion in January, returning to the Football Championship. He was finally released this past month, and is now fishing for offers from other Football Championship clubs headed into a new season.
#24: KEVIN LONG – Fourth of the prominent Irishmen on Burnley. Kevin Long’s middle name is literally “Finbarr” which is about as hellishly Irish as it gets.

#25: NICK POPE – That back-up GK life for the young Pope, which means all the FA and League Cup appearances he can handle (and Burnley qualifies for) this coming season.

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