Lifelong Newcastle fan on doing the 'next best thing'
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Dan Burn helped Brighton & Hove Albion to a second clean sheet of the season but was happy for other reasons.

The Newcastle United fan admitted he had 'about 20' friends and family in attendance that 'helped to make up' for all the fans staying away from St James' Park.

However, Burn was also pleased to see local hero Andy Carroll back on the pitch after a number of months injured and he knows better than most other players how much a 'local lad' means to the Geordies.

Surreal experience

It was the second time Burn has played at St James' Park as he returned with Wigan Athletic when the Magpies were in the Championship.

However, he still finds it strange playing for the opposition after spending a number of years supporting Newcastle from the terraces.

He said: "Even when he was just out warming up it was like he'd scored a goal. I never played against him coming through youth football, but I used to have a season ticket here so I used to watch him a lot when he was younger.

"He's had his problems off the field but I'm glad that he's settled down and he's back up North now.

"I'm going to have to go back in and chase him up for the shirt. My brother asked me if I could get it for him and I won't be able to leave the ground until I've got it, to be honest.

"The fans love a local lad, it's a different level of passion they get from the fans for being local. They don't even have to do loads - they just have to run round and the crowd love it."

Still a connection to the club

Burn held a big grin across his face for the whole interview unable to hide his delight and happiness at being home playing football.

The centre back was released by the academy as a teenager but still spoke of the club, fans and area very highly.

The local lad still keeps up to date with what is happening at Newcastle as he brought up the boycott with only just over 43,000 inside St James' Park on Saturday evening.

The 6ft 7in defender grew up wanting to play for Newcastle but admits playing for the Seagulls is almost as good.

Burn added: "It's still crazy coming to play here as an away player, listening to Local Hero and Blaydon Races as you come out. It's pretty surreal but you've got to be professional and treat it as another game.

"I was really excited coming back, I've always wanted to play for Newcastle here, but this was the next best thing.

"I had loads of family in the stands, about 20 of them were here and I made sure to sort my tickets out early so I wasn't struggling to get them.

"In fact they probably helped to make up for the fans' boycott I had that many here, adding a couple of thousand to the attendance."