In our new series, Kelsey De Maria takes us through the top five Gloucester City players from his time watching the Tigers. Coming in at number two on the list – Chris Burns.
I remember the year that Gloucester City pushed Redditch United all the way for the Southern League Western Division title, 2003/04 it was.
The penultimate game of the season and Redditch were ahead of the Tigers at the top of the table going into what had the potential to be a league deciding game.
Redditch win – and the title is all but theirs. City win – it goes to the final day. What drama, what tension. Seven year old Kelsey didn’t know what to do with himself!
Half an hour into the game and a cross comes into the Redditch area and Chris Burns, who hadn’t scored all season, thumps home a vicious header to send the hundreds of travelling City fans into raptures.
Unfortunately the Tigers would lose out on the title on the final day as they went down 1-0 at home to Ilkeston Town and with Cirencester Town failing to give the Tigers a helping hand against Redditch.
I will never forget that day though, just like I will never forget everything that Burns did for Gloucester City when he was with the Tigers.
Burns is a true T-End hero and was a real fan favourite for what he achieved on the pitch but also for what he did for the club in his time as player-manager.
He led a largely home-grown Tigers side to promotion in 2003/04 as mentioned, but it was the side of 2002/03 that turned heads, as Burns assembled a side that reached the FA Trophy quarter finals after defeating Woking and Southport along the way.
As a player, Burns was part of the acclaimed Leroy Rosenior side that were so close to promotion in the 1997 season, also reaching the FA Trophy semi-finals of the same year.
He was a fierce competitor and very strong in the tackle, producing his best performances for the Tigers from midfield but also being comfortable playing at the back.
As a manager though, Burns guided the club through some unbelievably tough times, overcoming a lot of off-field issues to assemble one of the most talented City sides I’ve ever seen play (the current batch of players comes close and may even surpass it, but time will tell).
When Chris Burns once said that he’d bleed yellow and black if you cut him open, you knew that wasn’t just a load of spiel for the media, you truly believed it.
There’s only one man that eclipses Burns in legendary status for Gloucester for me, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for number one!
Do you agree or disagree with Kelsey? Join the debate on Twitter using the hashtag #SSTigersTop5 or tweet us on @SevernSport.
Come back tomorrow where Kelsey continues to count down his Top Five Gloucester City players.