FORMER Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher has praised the club’s pragmatic approach but believes substantial investment is needed to get them competing at the right end of the Premier League. 

The 68-year-old scored 86 goals in 352 appearances for the Clarets before returning in a boardroom role between 2008 and 2012. 

A former commercial director of Wembley Stadium, Fletcher keeps a keen eye on goings-on at Turf Moor and has been impressed with life under Sean Dyche. 

After finishing 15th last season in a campaign that started with a first European campaign in more than 50 years, the Clarets will be looking to push back into the top half this time around.
For Fletcher, Burnley are always upsetting the odds. 

“They’re never going to be a Man United,” said the former striker, who moved to East Lancashire for a then club record fee of £60,000 from Bolton Wanderers in 1971. 

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“They’re always going to be a yo-yo club where they’ll drop down into the Championship and then bounce back up and have a few seasons up in the Premier League. 

“Turf Moor is not big enough to generate the money needed. 

“Unless they find a billionaire from somewhere, 21,000 is not big enough to fund a Premier League team. 

"They’re always punching above their weight.

“But they’ll never do what Leeds and others have done is take a massive risk on the team, it fail and then be in the doldrums for 10 or 15 years.”

Despite seeing the need for investment, Fletcher believes the pragmatism he speaks of is something to be commended, chairman Mike Garlick at the head of a board of directors that bucks the current Premier League trend. 

“Burnley are always constantly way above where they should really be,” said Fletcher, whose roles in football include overseeing the construction of Bolton’s University of Bolton Stadium. 

“It’s probably down the strength on the board. The board are nearly all Burnley people. They are Burnley folk who own their club. 

“They don’t overspend, they’ll never put the football club at any sort of risk.”

At the heart of the club’s good work is Dyche, appointed in October 2012, months after Fletcher departed the club. 

The former board member cites one anecdote that sums up how well the Clarets boss fits with the fabric of the club.

“He’s a bit special,” Fletcher said. 

“His appointment has been a revelation and he has a recipe that certainly works for Burnley. 

“Me and seven other Burnley players who all live in the area go away on holiday together, have a drink together, we’re all very close. 

“Out of the blue Sean Dyche found this out and invited us all down to watch a training session. 

“We had lunch with the players and he gave us a personal tour of the training ground. 

“I’ve never known another manager who would do that.”