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An Exiled Turfite - Part Three

Our very own Turfite

April 11 2006

The Longside brings you the last in the series of 'An Exiled Turfite'. Dave Cunliffe shares with us his story of settling in Spain, and his continued support from afar for his beloved Clarets.

 An Exiled Turfite - Part Three


I have lived in Spain now for two years, so this is only the second season that I havenít been a season ticket holder at the Turf. When we first moved to Alhaurin l Grande we didnít have a phone line installed in the house as we bought the house a year earlier and used it for holidays until a time where it would be possible to move here permanently.


This year gave us the time to get used to the Spanish way of life and help us to make our minds up as to whether we could make the change in our lifestyle or not. For me the change came very easily, but it took a bit of time before Mrs T could take the first step to living in a different country where we didnít speak the language or understand their culture.


Family was a big issue for Mrs T as she found it very difficult leaving the grand-children behind and her work as a self-employed mobile hairdresser for over thirty years, doing the hair of the same people for that length of time, so they wasnít just clients but true friends.


This made going out to work a pleasure and Marion looked forward to getting up every morning and going to her first appointment, something that only a hand full of people can say! Knowing how much I have always wanted to live in Spain, Marion made the sacrifice of all this just for me.


I wasnít looking forward to leaving my son Christopher behind even though he was now seventeen years old. We spent the last 4 seasons watching Burnley together at home and as many away games as I could afford. Chris lived with his Mum but visited our house at least four times a week, stopping overnight every Saturday for the last fourteen years, so leaving him behind was a great wrench.


We had made plans to make the big move to Spain in four months time, giving us and the family the time we all needed to get used to the idea. During that period my Dad had been diagnosed with cancer and his condition got worse as time went on and he spent most of his days left in and out of hospital. I spoke to Dad about us moving to Spain and he said that it was our life and we should continue with our date and plans as it would make him feel better knowing that we were living the life we wanted.


On the day of leaving for Spain we called to say our goodbyes to everyone before calling last to see my Mum and Dad. I could see in Dadís eyes that he felt the same way as I did and that it was possible that this would be the last time we would see each other ever again.


This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do say good bye to my Dad knowing this, ďYou must live your life son and go to Spain and enjoy your life as you never know how long its going to lastĒ. With this we left the house with tears in our eyes and sadness in our hearts.


Mum insisted she came out to the car to say goodbye and see us off (but this wasnít what I wanted) I just wanted to get in the car and drive away without looking back, but I didnít want to upset Mum anymore than it was possible.


We hugged for a good ten minutes with the tears streaming down our faces before we got in the car and Mum waved us off.  Dad and I didnít often agree on things but we both got it right when we knew we wouldnít see each other again, as Dad passed away in hospital not long after we arrived in Spain and the one thing I regret is not being by his bedside to say my goodbye.


Marion was in Burnley visiting her son at the time when the phone rang and it was Mum to say that Dad had passed away in the night. That was a difficult time for me as I was all alone in a strange country and I had just been told the news that I was dreading.


Marion flew home a couple of days later to look after our animals, and the following day I was on a plane back to my Dadís funeral. Mum had arranged the funeral to fit in with me being able to catch a flight back to Burnley where I stayed with Mum before returning to where we now called home (Spain).


Now having a phone line installed I soon signed up to Telefonica for their internet service and joined Clarets World so that I could listen to every Burnley game via live coms. I donít know whatís worse, watching the Clarets play badly or listening, but when the Clarets do win the weekend seems brighter and more enjoyable.


I found it difficult not having anyone to talk to about the match or football in general even though Marion did listen to what I had to say despite not having an interest in football.


Then I found The Longside. I donít even know how I stumbled across the site, but what a Godsend for an exiled Claret like me. I once posted on another message board and I got nothing but abuse and insults hurled at me for posting a simple question of ĎPlease could anyone help me out as I would like a copy of the last game of the season against Sunderland with Glen Little and Stanís last game in charge of Burnleyí.


This was shown Granadaís Soccer Sunday and I had been told that I appeared on the report with Stan and Glen Little after the final whistle. I had been a guest of a friend who works at the club and I was invited in to the press room to hear Stanís final statement.


As Glen ran off the pitch for his final time he ran straight into my arms and gave me a big hug as the tears ran down his face. I said, ďThanks for the many good years Glen,Ē and he smiled and went on his way. I still have an away shirt that was given to me on the day that Stan didnít hesitate to sign when I asked him, even though he had a tough press conference still to do.


The press room was packed to the hilt as everyone wanted to know what Stan had to say about the Club and the directors decision to let him go. His statement though was a let down for the waiting press as it had been leaked out that Stanís statement had been written for him by Alistair Campbell and slated the directors over the running of the club and their decision to let him go.


Stan couldnít bring himself to read it out and decided to speak from his heart about how the supporters had been fantastic throughout his time in charge of Burnley football club. I admired him for his decision to scrap the chance to slate the club he once played and managed, and he took his chance to say thank you to the people that counted most, the supporters.


Now back to, who without the members I wouldnít know the ins and outs of the state of play or transfer news, as you are the people who watch the lads week in and week out and can inform us exiles of the way the lads played or didnít play!


Chris my son would save press cutting form the Burnley Express and the Telegraph back pages with any news of the Clarets so that I could read up, and he would bring them over with him when he came over for a stay.


Only the other day as I sat in Dunís Store Cafe with Marion having our lunch I realised how much I miss not having another Clarets supporter to talk about whatís going wrong with Burnley at the moment and other footie chat.


I found myself talking to Marion about the Clarets like a budgie on speed, and it wasnít until after about half an hour of non-stop Clarets talk that I realised that I was boring the a**e off her as she didnít have a clue what I was talking about. But she didnít complain one bit and let me rant on and on.


Being a Clarets exile isnít for me as I love the atmosphere and the sight and smell of a Clarets game whether it be home or away with Chris my son by my side.


Do I miss it? YOU BET I DO! Would I move back to rainy old Burnley to be able to watch my beloved Clarets? YOU CAN BET YOUR BOTTON DOLLAR I WOULDNíT!


Times are very difficult for me at the moment as Mrs T is back in England waiting an operation and she will be away for up to eight weeks with this is the 4th time in a short period that we have been apart due to her illness.


This is one of the downsides of being an exile not having your family around you when you need them the most, and on top of that we are selling our house which is causing us nightmares.


For some people moving to another country it will be a breeze, but for others it isnít, and we come somewhere in between the two at the moment. We will fight on to make our life in Spain work as I wonít let the situation beat us, and as my Dad always said to me (donít let the b******s grind you down), and in his memory, I wonít Dad.



Many, many thanks to Turfite for his fantastic series.

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