Not too late for Burnham FC to influence the Hellenic Premier League




You would imagine after four managers, three wins and a goal difference of -81 most people have written off Burnham’s time in the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier League for season 2016/17.

Update: Burnham have won a fourth game since this article was first conceived – a 2-1 win over Henley Town on Saturday.

The blues have had a horrible season following relegation from the Southern League in the summer, and sit at the bottom of the 18 team Premier Division with nine points.

David Tuttle, Luther Blissett, Paul Toms and Gifton Noel-Williams have all tried to resurrect the Buckinghamshire sides season – and while Noel-Williams had some success, winning three games and all of the blues nine points, he departed after just over a month in charge.

Jon Palmer playing for Bracknell Town.
Jon Palmer playing for Bracknell Town.

The club though announced this week what appears to be a blossoming partnership with neighbours Slough Town and appointed the Rebels Academy manager Mark Betts and former Slough and Godalming Town forward Jon Palmer as joint managers.

Whether they are able to save Burnham from the drop remains to be seen, but they can still have an effect on the outcomes of the Premier Division this season. Here’s some pure speculation as to why:

That partnership with Slough

The parachuting in of Betts and Palmer intensifies a link with the Rebels and signals a change of direction from the one lead by former AC Milan and England forward Luther Blissett.

Former England, Watford and AC Milan striker Luther Blissett. Photo:
Former England, Watford and AC Milan striker Luther Blissett. Photo:

Suddenly the side from Gore have a roster of players with higher or equivalent level experience and it is a fix that benefits both clubs to have Slough’s fringe players competing at a good level while the Rebels don’t have a reserve team themselves.

The addition of Gavin James is an interesting one too and will excite Burnham fans to have the 2014/15 Hellenic Premier League top scorer on their books!

Matches against the top sides

A resurgent Burnham could certainly have an effect on the outcome of the title race this season, and certainly how the top half of the table finishes.

There are games to come against Highworth Town and Tuffley Rovers, but the big one is on 18th March when second placed Thame United visit the Gore.

Dual registrations

Former Ascot United boss Paul McGrotty has alluded in both interviews he’s conducted with Mark Pugh (one here, and one here) that Slough have been a big help to the Yellamen.

Charlie Samuels celebrates as he puts the home side on level terms keeping in the FA cup 1st round qualifier. Photo: Mark Pugh.
Charlie Samuels celebrates as he puts the home side on level terms keeping in the FA cup 1st round qualifier. Photo: Mark Pugh.

This new partnership though with the Rebels and Burnham has seen a number of players move across including the experienced Palmer, Gurkan Gokmen and Charlie Samuels although the latter has more recently been playing at Ryman League Molesey.

How many relegation places?

We’re speculating, but it wouldn’t surprise us if just one side went down to either Division 1 East or West at the end of the season with the Hellenic League looking you would imagine to get the division back up to at least 20 clubs.

The blues win on Saturday drew them level with second bottom Henley Town and moved them two points off 16th.

A trip to Brackley Town Saints on Saturday could see them off the bottom of the league for the first time this season – particularly with Henley facing Thame on the same afternoon.

Do you think Burnham can avoid the drop? Will they influence where the title ends up?

Vote in our twitter poll!

Main image: Binfield’s Liam Ferdinand takes the ball around the Burnham goalkeeper by Colin Byers.

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