Clarets looking to give fans a voice to build a better Burnley
THE Clarets are to launch an “advisory board” to work in conjunction with the club’s board of directors to build a better Burnley.
As part of co-chairmen John Banaszkiewicz and Mike Garlick’s quest to improve communication between the club and fans they are in the process of establishing a new group to give non-board members a voice.
As such they are inviting fans to put their name forward to form the committee, which will also include manager Sean Dyche, while the 12 bond holders who facilitated the buy-back of Turf Moor and the Gawthorpe training base will also be invited to sign up.
The scheme was announced in the run-up to Saturday’s televised derby through an open letter to supporters.
In the letter, the co-chairmen also outlined plans to: n Invest in scouting and recruitment n Focus on youth and develop more homegrown players n Reinvest profits from player sales into the running of the club.
The Lancashire Telegraph understands that up to four meetings will be scheduled annually while Banaszkiewicz will be in attendance as the link between the advisory board and the board of directors.
The club are inviting supporters to put their name forward to join the supplementary committee, along with any suggestions to improve the running of the club.
Although plans for the group are in their early stages, it is possible that one supporter will be selected initially for the first 12 months and the situation re-evaluated next year.
In the letter the chairman wrote: “A football club is nothing without its supporters – and to those who have renewed their season tickets in these tough economic times, we say, very simply, thank you.
“The season has started well. Third place is not a bad place to be at this time. If we can keep the momentum going, hopefully our die-hard regulars will be joined by others, and we will see crowds growing, and revenues rising.
“As joint chairmen, we are the current custodians of a great club with a wonderful history, and we are determined to give it a great future too, confident that Burnley Football Club will be here long after all of us have gone.
“That sound future depends on sound financial management.
“But it is important supporters understand the financial realities we have to deal with, in this era of €100m transfer deals, massive wages for top players and their agents. We have to be realistic about what we can and cannot afford, about how much we can bring into the club on the gate or through sponsorships.
“The board takes the issue of ‘sustainability’ very seriously indeed. We are not at risk of insolvency but, like other clubs, we are under constant pressure to comply with the Financial Fair Play rules to balance our finances.
“Burnley has always had to sell to balance the books, and like our predecessors down the years, we have had to make tough choices on selling players we would rather retain.
“There is a perception among a minority of fans that the club has money that it is not spending. That is not the case.
“Our accounts are a matter of public record and there is no magic wand when it comes to finding cash for signing new players.
“Our losses for the 2012/13 season will be approaching £8m, but with some strong financial management we hope to pull this back in 2013/14. Any profits from player sales will be reinvested in the running of the club and its long term future.
“It is a similar approach that delivered the successful buy-back of Turf Moor and Gawthorpe, which brings the grounds firmly back in the hands of Burnley Football Club.
“That role in the community is another priority area for us, and we wish to develop further the work we do with schools, businesses and colleges in the area.
“We will continue to invest in scouting and recruitment, focus on the youth academy and develop more home grown players, essential for long term success of the club.
“We will aim to improve our conversion rate and in coming years get more of the 110 players currently in our U9-U16 groups and academy into the first squad team.
“The board of directors takes its job at this club very seriously. But we recognise that we need to hear from a broad range of voices as we develop the club.
“To this end, we are in the process of creating an advisory board to sit alongside our main board.
“The advisory board will include the team manager, Burnley bondholders and others who can make a positive contribution to the club and develop ideas for the future.
“To secure that future we are prepared to consider all the options. We are always interested in talking to potential new investors and partners in this great club who can add value and complement what we are trying to achieve.
“This letter is intended to be just the start of better communication about our future plans and this will continue.
“Our strategy will be communicated to you wherever possible and will show how we evaluate our strengths and weaknesses.
“We can’t always promise that everything we do is going to be in the public domain – we have confidentiality issues to consider and obviously we do have competitors – but we want to encourage openness and transparency as part of our future strategy, and we welcome your feedback.”
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