When Burnley’s game with Tottenham was postponed an hour before kick off last weekend, plenty of Clarets supporters headed for the nearby pubs to shelter from the snow and enjoy a pint or two.
Among them was Chris Hurst, who was perhaps in need of a drink more than most.
He’d travelled from America to Burnley for the game, his first Turf trip in more than two years, only to see it called off as he travelled down Manchester Road.
Having journeyed 3,375 miles via two flights, Hurst, who grew up in Accrington, was denied the opportunity to cheer on the Clarets by a heavy snowstorm that meant the Premier League contest was called off.
What did he do instead?
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“What any group of self-respecting Northerners would do in such a situation, went to the pub, then another, and another,” said Hurst, chatting to Lancs Live over email having returned to his home in New Jersey.
He hopes to return to Burnley in February for the Liverpool and Manchester United games, when he will be hoping there is no repeat of the freak weather that we saw last weekend.
“We were on Manchester Road in Burnley,” said Hurst, who has been a Clarets supporter since the age of eight when his brother took him to an away game at Stockport, as he talks us through the moment he found out the game was off.
“A mate I used to work with over here had traveled down from Glasgow to catch up and watch the game and my brother and nephew were with us.
“We were crawling through the match day traffic, talking about popping into the Royal Dyche for a swift pint before kick-off.
“My nephew’s phone rang and it was my niece. ‘What are you going to do?’, she said, ‘about what?’ my nephew replied! ‘It’s been canceled!’ she said.
“So we all, rapidly turned to our phones and confirmed the news. I was extremely disappointed to say the least, the last Burnley game I was at was Burnley v Cardiff in 2019 (we won 2-0) so to come all this way, just for a few days, and have the game postponed was, well, a little heartbreaking to be honest.”
Hurst had travelled 40 minutes from his home in Wharton, New Jersey, to Newark Airport to take a flight to Dublin on November 24 which arrived at 5am local time the following day. A 7.40am flight to Manchester followed before he travelled back to his hometown of Accrington with his brother.
He’d completed the passenger locater forms and a VeriFLY entry as part of the Covid protocols and, as he is fully vaccinated, did a test on day two in England and a fit to fly test to return to the US.
The 43-year-old, part of a Facebook group called North American Clarets with people, mostly ex-pats, from across the US and Canada, is now hoping to return to Burnley in a few months having been unable to visit as much as he’d like over the past few years.
“I get to one a season if I am lucky,” he said. “I have a two and a half year old son and a four month old daughter, add that to the US travel ban and my last couple of seasons have been scuppered.
“I’ll try and get back in February, there’s a couple of home games against Liverpool and Man Utd.”
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