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Suzanne Geldard: Clarets can dare to dream... again
WHEN Brendan Flood first joined the Burnley board it was like a knight riding into Turf Moor on his trusty steed.
Full of fresh ideas, ambition and more importantly finance his arrival was a timely shot in the arm for the club. His club. The club he had followed through thick and thin since being a boy.
Barry Kilby had worked hard as chairman to recover the damage inflicted by the collapse of ITV Digital and the loss of millions, but that had meant scouring for the pick of the free transfers and low-cost fees.
Old boss Stan Ternent coined the phrase “champagne tastes on beer money”.
Burnley were in the market for quality on a shoestring budget, including £30,000 on Michael Duff. Certainly money well spent!
But Flood’s appointment in 2006 allowed then-manager Steve Cotterill to venture further into the transfer market to get the calibre of players he felt could help the club progress.
On leaving, Cotterill believed the Clarets were two signings away from making a real promotion challenge.
He was proved to be correct.
Flood was pivotal in allowing Cotterill’s successor, Owen Coyle, to bring in flair player Chris Eagles from Manchester United and Scunthorpe striker Martin Paterson.
There were others, but these two were key – particularly Paterson, whose 19 goals that season lit the touchpaper for Burnley to take off into the Premier League – and Flood was right behind bringing both in.
There were gambles along the way, but they paid off with a season of top flight football.
There were mistakes too, but Flood will have learnt from those and bring the benefit of his experiences – good and bad – back to the boardroom table, older and wiser than he was first time around.
Circumstances led to his withdrawal from the board 14 months ago.
The global financial crisis hit Flood particularly hard and the grand designs he had for his football team and Turf Moor could not come to fruition.
There were boardroom battles also that left Flood drained, deflated and disillusioned.
He returns rejuvenated, with bridges being built, united by the common aim of bringing success to Burnley again, boosting a board – led by joint-chairmen Mike Garlick and John Banaszkiewicz – that has worked wonders in keeping the club’s head above water financially, and the club high up in the race for promotion in Sean Dyche’s first full season; their first managerial appointment.
Some will be sceptical about Flood’s Clarets’ comeback.
But there is no doubt that his involvement was instrumental in Burnley’s play-off success at Wembley in 2009. He dared to dream.
So Clarets fans can be excited about the Rossendale-born businsessman’s return. It is certainly a good omen.
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