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Suzanne Geldard: The spirit of Burnley can carry Clarets to top-flight
BURNLEY'S board have come in for some stick over the years.
‘Too ambitious’; ‘Not ambitious enough’; ‘Too thrifty’ are just some of the criticisms to be levelled at the directors and chairmen.
But what they can never be accused of is not caring, not just about the football club, but about the people they represent. They are one of them after all, albeit happening to be in the privileged position of making all the big decisions and being in control of their beloved club.
This week, co-chairman John Banaszkiewicz re-affirmed the ‘open door’ policy with a number of wonderful gestures.
It started last Saturday before the trip to Charlton Athletic, when he made an open invitation to supporters travelling it The Valley to join him for a drink in a pub in nearby Blackheath.
Plenty took him up on it. The Hare and Billet was awash with claret and blue and the bill might have been more than Banaszkiewicz bargained for but it is more his generosity of spirit that resonates with supporters than a free pre-match pint.
This afternoon he returns to his old school, Fisher More in Colne, where he will address Year 11 pupils to talk about how he made to from there, to businessman, to boardroom – an appointment of his own making.
Tonight he is involved in a Q&A with fans at Turf Moor, he will meet with bond holders at a dinner tomorrow, and then on Saturday he has invited those Year 11 pupils he will speak to today to the Leicester City game – 140 tickets purchased from his own pocket and not the club purse.
Imagine that at Leeds United or Nottingham Forest, where chaos currently reigns, where the owners and investors are so far removed from the people they have no sense of identity with the club.
Imagine that, and be careful what you wish for.
Burnley might not be awash with millions, it might be a battle to fund a new face for the squad, but when it comes to core values in the community and their own football family, they are very well off indeed.
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