Former long-serving director of Burnley Football Club Bob Blakeborough has died at the age of 75, the club has announced.

Mr Blakeborough served the club’s board for 18 years following his appointment in 1986.

The Burnley businessman helped the Clarets come through one of the toughest times in the club’s history before establishing the foundations for their climb back up the divisions by inviting Barry Kilby to take over as chairman.

Current director Clive Holt joined the Turf Moor board at the same time as Mr Blakeborough.

Paying tribute to his frient, Mr Holt said: “On behalf of the board I would like to express our sadness at the news of Bob’s death.

“Bob came into the club when its existence was at threat and after coming through that period, he was then instrumental, along with myself, in Barry agreeing to join us and getting Barry onto the board.

“That got the club moving back in the right direction, with Bob having played an important part in Burnley’s history prior to standing down in 1984.”

Mr Blakeborough’s election to the board came at the start of the 1986/87 season when the Clarets only avoided relegation from the Football League on the final day.

Board members were regularly required to pay the weekly wage bill and even after a period of greater stability it took the appointment of Mr Kilby to the board in October, 1998 to provide the backing for a period of playing success prompted by promotion back to the Championship under Stan Ternent in 2000.

Mr Blakeborough leaves wife Carol and daughter Amanda.