The Football League Paper - - GRAHAM WESTLEY -

IN 20th place in last year’s Cham­pi­onship ta­ble, sat be­tween Birm­ing­ham and Not­ting­ham For­est, and just above Rother­ham, Wi­gan and Black­burn were tiny Bur­ton Al­bion with 52 points from 46 games.

It re­ally was a quite re­mark­able achieve­ment by Nigel Clough and his troops. With the re­sources they’ve got, the Brew­ers do not nat­u­rally be­long so high.

Be­tween 2014-17, dur­ing their rise, a man that I know very well made 121 ap­pear­ances for Bur­ton.

He scored a play-off fi­nal win­ner for me at Steve­nage and he cap­tained my team at Pre­ston. John Mous­inho was a phe­nom­e­nally gifted per­son whose abil­ity to gel a team was a huge as­set to me as a man­ager.

I will never forget a tai­lored ren­di­tion of Don McLean’s Amer­i­can Pie which Mous played on his gui­tar and sang to the team as we pre­pared to win our way into League One at Old Traf­ford. Hear­ing the group come to­gether around his words was a moment to be­hold.

Fol­low­ing his trans­fer to Oxford United, Bur­ton have slipped and are cur­rently fight­ing in the bot­tom three. That may just be co-in­ci­dence al­though there is no ques­tion that you some­times don’t know what you have got un­til it is gone. Mean­while, fol­low­ing injury to the Oxford skip­per Curtis Nel­son, he has taken on the cap­tain’s arm­band at the Kas­sam and is fo­cused and ready to win his next pro­mo­tion. He un­der­stands the vi­tal role of a cap­tain in sup­port­ing his man­ager’s voice in this new era for football. He be­lieves that he has the job of driv­ing am­bi­tion into his team-mates, in­spir­ing them to be the best they can be on a daily ba­sis, cre­at­ing a dress­ing room where win­ning ways are em­braced, and sus­tain­ing a fun work­ing en­vi­ron­ment in which peo­ple en­joy be­ing to­gether.

Mous has no doubt that Oxford will fol­low Bur­ton into the Cham­pi­onship. He is a man I wouldn’t bet against in this year’s play-offs.

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