by Steve Bott
SKIPPER John Deary believes this is the best opportunity the Vintage Clarets have had yet to win the annual Veteran’s Tournament in Hamm, Germany.
The Vcs were due to fly out to Dusseldorf from Leeds-Bradford airport on Thursday evening en route for the tournament. With check-in at the hotel not expected to be completed much before 11pm a light training session was planned for the following day ahead of their first group game on Saturday.
Management had taken no chances however and all fire escapes and other points of exit and entry to and from the hotel had been checked and secured in case the ageing squad made a late night bid for the nearest Darby and Joan Club.
Deary said: “We have been three times previously and made the final in the last two. This is the strongest squad we have taken. It includes 15 ex-professionals and with the addition of some younger blood in Alex Kevan, Brad Maylett, Dennis Hill and Don Borland I feel this could be our year.
“We have had two good warm-up games against Alsager and Haslingden, the later being especially pleasing as we fielded the expected starting XI for Hamm in the first half at Haslingden and raced into a 3-0 first half lead.
“We do a lot for charity but we always have one eye on this tournament. Everything is geared towards it.
“We do things professionally. We have a physio and some good sponsors including a new one this year in Burnley bar/restaurant The Mix, who have been instrumental in helping provide tracksuits and other gear for us.
“The standard has improved each year in the tournament and all the teams have become more professional. Hertha are always the team to beat but Bradford beat them last year and I see this as good a chance as we have had.
“Like Burnley FC who have done magnificently in getting into the Premier League twice you keep going and eventually you will get where you want to be.”