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By ESPN Staff
Sep 20, 2010

Coyle reveals lasting Burnley affiliation

Bolton boss Owen Coyle claims he would never have left Burnley last season if his decision had been governed purely by emotion.

• Bolton blog: Hold-en-pass the future

Coyle, 44, masterminded the Clarets' promotion to the Premier League in 2009, but departed Turf Moor in January to take over at the Reebok Stadium.

On Tuesday, Coyle makes his first return to Burnley when his old and new sides meet in the Carling Cup third round, and he insists he would still be in charge at Turf Moor if he had let his heart rule over his head.

"If it was just down to emotion, and emotion alone, I would never have left Burnley,'' Coyle said. "But I had to look at the bigger picture and I made a footballing decision because of the infrastructure and everything else at Bolton.

"I'd been here as a player and I knew everything that goes with that as well, and that was how it was made. Was it emotional leaving? Absolutely. Will it be emotional tomorrow night? Of course it will. I wouldn't be evasive or try to get away from that.

"But regardless of how I'm treated tomorrow night or the reception that I get, nothing will ever take away from the feeling I have for Burnley Football Club. It goes without saying.''

Having received a hot reception from the travelling fans when Burnley were beaten at Bolton last season, Coyle can expect more of the same on Tuesday, though he has vowed to try and keep smiling.

"In the career I've had, I've had many setbacks along the way, so in terms of mental strength, I think I have bounced back a number of times from trials and tribulations'' Coyle said.

"You can't really say what the emotion is going to be until the events transpire. But whatever comes with it, I'll do my best to deal with it, and as always, I'll try to do it with a smile on my face.''

Asked if he thought it would hurt to get a negative reaction from supporters that once idolised him, Coyle said: "I don't know, and I don't think we should get ahead of ourselves before we go there.

"I expect there will be a fair bit of criticism, but we all know as kids growing up that they can only call you a name once, and once you have been called it, you have been called it.

"If fans want to come along in that vein and voice that disapproval, then ultimately that is up to them. But I think that within that there will be a lot of fans who appreciate what we did and will be thankful for that.

"Who is to say Burnley Football Club would ever have graced the Premier League and had the cup runs that we had? There is still a big part of me that thinks about Burnley every single day because of the way that we did achieve it, against all the odds.

"What I do know, and what I would believe anybody - regardless of any opinion they have - will know, is that for every second I was in that job, I poured my heart and soul into it to achieve the best I could for that football club. It's fine for me to say that, but the evidence is there.''

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