A New Way at Turf Moor

Burnley Football Club are quickly becoming an imaginatively, innovative model for the English Premier League. 

The New Year has come around again and the “Jim White Silly Season” is already in full swing. The Clarets’ gaffer Sean Dyche has hit his default button once more to remind us all about the difficulties “Little Old Burnley” must endure in the increasingly chaotic transfer window(s). 

The Dyche rhetoric is provocatively repetitive. “Small town club, cannot compete with the billionaire owners, difficulty in attracting the top players to a club with a way below average wage ceiling, the market is tough, etc., etc.” 

Come off it Sean, we all know you have carefully constructed a wonderful Claret and Blue smokescreen! Burnley by geographical  chance is a small East Lancashire town who happen to enjoy a football club with an enviable pedigree; a founder member of the Football League, formed way back in 1882, with a trophy cabinet boasting a wonderful array of former glories. 

Burnley Football Club is currently being run on a practical business paradigm, built on a foundation of commercial prudency and financial precision. It’s two hundred and odd full-time employees never experience an anxious wait to see if their wages are being paid; the club is solvent and can pay its own way in the ruthless world of professional sport.

Ex-Chairman and present Clarets’ director Barry Kilby, when at the helm once famously declared, “We will not bet the ranch on speculative player purchases”. It is apparent the philosophy of not buying over-priced, high salaried footballing superstars, still prevails and indeed flourishes at Turf Moor. 

Three fully capped England goalkeepers who are currently on the Clarets’ payroll, suggests to me the remuneration at Turf Moor is enough to retain the top players’ interest in playing for a small-town club, who just happen to ply their trade in the English Premier League. 

An assortment of full internationals presently playing for the Turf Moor outfit include: James Tarkowski, Phil Bardsley, Steven Defour, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Stephen Ward, Sam Vokes, Matej Vydra, Aaron Lennon, Kevin Long, Jack Cork, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood, Jonathan Walters and Nahki Wells; all adding further testimony to the fact that the Clarets can afford to dine at the top table of English football. 

Burnley fans may demand the big money player purchases to alleviate their relegation worries; they may expect the excessive lucre of the English Premier League to be lavished on exotic new arrivals, but sadly for them, that is not the Burnley way. 

Millions have recently been invested on training facilities down at Gawthorpe Hall in Padiham. This training complex was the original idea of the infamous old curmudgeon and steward of Burnley Football Club, chairman Bob Lord who initiated a plan to build a conveyor belt of footballing talent at Turf Moor to be sold to sustain the club’s future. 

Legions of players were developed at Gawthorpe throughout two decades in the 60’s and 70’s and were later sold to sustain a football club that simply could not exist in the top division of English football and play in European competitions and prevail in a town with a population of less than seventy thousand people. 

The same predicament exists today. The current Burnley chairman Mike Garlick looks to be following the Bob Lord architype and is now looking to emulate it. The Clarets new left-wing revelation Dwight McNeil is the shape of the future at Turf Moor. 

McNeil is the likely precursor of a whole new generation of Burnley scholars and footballers who will be developed and harvested to keep the Clarets financially afloat.  Burnley fans can forget the big money signings, a new wave of young superstars is being cultivated at Turf Moor and they will be appearing on a TV near to you very soon. 

Burnley Football Club and its Public Relations team need to announce this new agenda and say it loud, we are Claret and Blue and proud. (TEC).