Small Club of the Week – Burton Albion

Note: This weekly series will look for teams outside of the top flights of European football to find true underdog stories of clubs well below the radar. Clubs will be featured based on performance in the various tournaments that happen concurrently with the league seasons, or even strong runs in some of the leagues that dot the European football landscape. Chances are, these clubs will be years away from finding a home at the top flights of football – if they are ever able to get there – but it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve attention from time to time. If you happen upon a team that you think might qualify, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter @GuruEbby or @SportMuseNet!

Burton Albion F.C.

Nickname: Brewers
Founded: 1950
Location: Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England
Team Colors: Yellow & Black
Ground: Pirelli Stadium
Capacity: 6,912 (2,034 seated)
Current League: League One (Tier 3)
Twitter: @burtonalbionfc

Reason For Notice

Burton Albion was not a club I ever expected to profile in this space, as they are currently playing in League One (Tier 3) after being relegated from the Championship last season. But with little else happening in the realm of non-league competitions this week, I’ve decided to discuss Burton Albion after their upset win over Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup yesterday.

Club History

Burton Albion is a relatively young club in English football, having been founded in 1950. During the first 48 years of their existence, they played non-league football, and started their move up the English football pyramid with a promotion to the Football Conference (now known as the National League (Tier 5)) after claiming the championship of the Northern Premier League after the 2001-2002 season. In their seventh season in that league, they again won a league championship, earning promotion to League Two for the 2009-2010 season.

Success found them again six years later – after failing to gain promotion in the playoffs the two seasons prior – with a League Two championship in 2015. Their first season ever in League One – back in 2015-2016, saw a second place finish and promotion to the Championship. After avoiding relegation in that first season by one point (52 points), the following season saw them tumble to 23rd place and another relegation to League One for this season, only their second at Tier 2.

Outside of league play, they’ve found moderate success. They famously played Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at home during the third round of the 2005-2006 FA Cup, only to lose on the replay at Old Trafford. Since then, they’ve advanced as far as the fourth round of the FA Cup (in 2010-11), and their win yesterday in the EFL Cup moves them further in that competition than they’ve ever been before. They will know their opponent for the fifth round after the draw tonight, so it remains to be seen if their magical Cup run will continue.

Upcoming Matches

The Brewers next play on Saturday in league play against Walsall. A win would help Burton Albion improve on their 16th place in the league standings, where they are currently only four points clear of the relegation zone. They will also be playing their first match in this year’s FA Cup next Saturday against fellow League One member Scunthorpe United, a match that will be played in Scunthorpe. Finally, their fifth round match in the EFL Cup will most likely happen the following week, and unless Blackpool can upset Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, they will be the only club from League One in the fifth round, most likely joining seven clubs from the Premier League. (We’re pulling for you, Middlesbrough!)

Update on Last Week’s Club

Last week’s club – Hampton & Richmond Borough – received notice for their win in the FA Cup final qualifying round, and they will play their first match in the FA Cup first round on 12 November, where they host Oldham Athletic from League Two. Since I highlighted them last week, they’ve played two National League games, losing one and drawing in the other, and will host Oxford City on Saturday. They are currently in 11th place in the National League among four teams with 21 points, and are winless in their prior four matches (0-1-3), so they are hoping to turn that around.

Until next time…

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