Well done to Championship side Burnley and manager Owen Coyle for dumping Premier Leaguers West Bromwich Albion out of the FA Cup, thus setting up a fifth round tie against either Arsenal or Cardiff City. Most likely, the Gunners. I wish the Baggies well in their struggle for survival in the English big league. But with Owen in charge at Turf Moor, I have a prior loyalty.
I saw him at the beginning of his playing career, when he was what we would probably now call "an attacking midfielder", commencing his senior football outings with Dumbarton in 1985. There he played alongside his brothers Joe and Tommy Coyle. I think the Sons are the only team to have featured three brothers together in a first eleven, but I could be proved wrong about that. Owen played 103 times for Dumbarton from 1985 to 1988, netting 36 goals before moving on to then rivals (now a junior side) Clydebank.
Known as a bit of a "cup specialist" for his subsequent playing exploits with Airdieonians, Bolton and St Johnstone, Owen continued the success in 2008, when he guided his Turf Moor side to the quarter-finals of the Worthington Cup with victories over Fulham and Chelsea. They went out to Arsenal, but now hope for an FA Cup re-match.
Coyle is known for not drinking alcohol. When The Scotsman profiled him last year, they included this anecdote: When he was a young player at Dumbarton, [Owen] was invited to represent Celtic at an under-20 tournament in Switzerland, where Derek Whyte, Anton Rogan and Alex Mathie were among his team-mates. One night, when the squad were allowed out, Whyte bought a round of drinks, only to find Coyle point-blank refusing it. "Many a young player, away with Celtic, would have been easily influenced, but even at that age, I was quite single-minded, quite secure in my opinions."