Suzanne Geldard column: ‘Player trading’ will not enthuse Burnley fans

ON publication of Burnley Football Club’s annual financial report, it wasn’t just a £3.16million profit that stood out. It was the reasons for it.

A statement from joint chairmen Mike Garlick and John Banaszkiewicz read: "This player trading remains a cornerstone of how the club balances its books.”

These are disappointing words for any Clarets fan to read, particularly with the January transfer window fast approaching and a who’s who of Premier League scouts, among others, turning up every week to cast a curious eye over in-form striker Charlie Austin.

For after recording an operating loss of £4.4m, the £7m record sale of striker Jay Rodriguez to Premier League new boys Southampton negated further annual losses being recorded.

The message from the chairmen is clear.

While on the one hand it is widely deemed a frustrating approach, it is not unsurprising.

It is a sign of the times. It is the hallmark of how a club like Burnley has survived in the top two divisions for so long – not just in recent times but even in the halcyon days of the 1960s.

Almost three years after winning the English Championship with the Clarets at the end of the 1959/60 season, and later helping them reach the FA Cup final, Jimmy McIlroy was sold to Stoke City. There was uproar, but the club carried on.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing, of course, but Burnley has continued to operate largely within its means and get back from the brink to a level where they are challenging in the top two divisions.

But that battle is becoming increasingly difficult in the modern game, particularly when situated virtually on the doorstep of such footballing giants as Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool, and with the beautiful game becoming a more expensive – and therefore less attractive – hobby.

Crowds are dwindling.

People are spending less when they do go to games.

It all adds up – or, rather, it doesn’t.

Within the financial report there is a further warning about the consequences of not conforming to the Football League Financial Fair Play regulations that are coming into force, whereby clubs cannot spend more than they earn. Transfer embargoes and substantial fines are among the punishments dished out to those who don’t fall in line, which is a worry considering that match income, television rights, catering sales and retail sales are all down on the previous financial year at Turf Moor.

The next home game will boost the average attendance dramatically. The gate will be the biggest of the season, but Burnley cannot play Blackburn every week.

A damp Tuesday night at home to Barnsley does not get the pulses racing, nor the turnstiles turning, unless the team is turning teams over.

The biggest boost to the gates, and therefore income, is success.

The best way to do that, is keeping your best players.

Comments (3)

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2:15pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Is Eckersley playing? says...

I can't make my mind up whether the writer is cricising the clubs 'sell to survive' policy' or accepting it. One thing is for sure, Burnley have been well run over the years by some astute people. What Rovers fans would give to have such leadership. PS Not long now......hope you're ready!
I can't make my mind up whether the writer is cricising the clubs 'sell to survive' policy' or accepting it. One thing is for sure, Burnley have been well run over the years by some astute people. What Rovers fans would give to have such leadership. PS Not long now......hope you're ready! Is Eckersley playing?

5:32pm Thu 22 Nov 12

claretmeandyou says...

I don't believe that the football club has been run astutely over the last few seasons nor do the majority of the fans. Some of who are now not attending home matches, hence the drop in gates. You tell me how after gaining promotion to the Premier League three seasons ago and after not betting the ranch we are now in a position we were years ago : " SELLING TO SURVIVE." No wonder the fans have had enough. If Austin goes, so will more fans. Sack the board, sack the board, sack the board.
I don't believe that the football club has been run astutely over the last few seasons nor do the majority of the fans. Some of who are now not attending home matches, hence the drop in gates. You tell me how after gaining promotion to the Premier League three seasons ago and after not betting the ranch we are now in a position we were years ago : " SELLING TO SURVIVE." No wonder the fans have had enough. If Austin goes, so will more fans. Sack the board, sack the board, sack the board. claretmeandyou

7:59pm Thu 22 Nov 12

MikeMada says...

claretmeandyou wrote:
I don't believe that the football club has been run astutely over the last few seasons nor do the majority of the fans. Some of who are now not attending home matches, hence the drop in gates. You tell me how after gaining promotion to the Premier League three seasons ago and after not betting the ranch we are now in a position we were years ago : " SELLING TO SURVIVE." No wonder the fans have had enough. If Austin goes, so will more fans. Sack the board, sack the board, sack the board.
Oh dear, someone simply isn't living in the real world, now are you!

I would rather have a team whose future is relatively secure, with a board who is able to manage effectively and provide the opportunity to progress than be in a position like so many (Leeds, Portsmouth, Bolton, Blackburn etc.), who have or will find themselves in dire trouble (and so often have a board who are an absolute embarrassment).

Sure, if a crazed philanthropist wants to throw money away on a football club ('What's the best way to make a million?', 'Put ten million into a football club'), then realism is the way. That's why so many clubs (like ours) are investing and realizing the value of a sound and aggressive youth policy.

I bitterly resented when Martin Dobson was sold and could not understand why my club would do such a thing.

Now I know why. Survival!

And it's not exactly true that fans desert the club. Indeed the loyal following is pretty consistent, with a peak in the premiership that all clubs enjoy, understandably falling back as a team loses it's premier position.

We are a great small town team that I am proud of - ups and downs - and scurrilous comment - like above - smacks of a lack of realistic expectations which, ironically, that silly season in the premiership partially caused.

We sell to survive. Get used to it.

And instead of carping and being disloyal to a board whose incredibly successful efforts, in the face of often idiotic criticism, get behind them, every step of the way, even when they make the odd (Laws as an example) mistake.
[quote][p][bold]claretmeandyou[/bold] wrote: I don't believe that the football club has been run astutely over the last few seasons nor do the majority of the fans. Some of who are now not attending home matches, hence the drop in gates. You tell me how after gaining promotion to the Premier League three seasons ago and after not betting the ranch we are now in a position we were years ago : " SELLING TO SURVIVE." No wonder the fans have had enough. If Austin goes, so will more fans. Sack the board, sack the board, sack the board.[/p][/quote]Oh dear, someone simply isn't living in the real world, now are you! I would rather have a team whose future is relatively secure, with a board who is able to manage effectively and provide the opportunity to progress than be in a position like so many (Leeds, Portsmouth, Bolton, Blackburn etc.), who have or will find themselves in dire trouble (and so often have a board who are an absolute embarrassment). Sure, if a crazed philanthropist wants to throw money away on a football club ('What's the best way to make a million?', 'Put ten million into a football club'), then realism is the way. That's why so many clubs (like ours) are investing and realizing the value of a sound and aggressive youth policy. I bitterly resented when Martin Dobson was sold and could not understand why my club would do such a thing. Now I know why. Survival! And it's not exactly true that fans desert the club. Indeed the loyal following is pretty consistent, with a peak in the premiership that all clubs enjoy, understandably falling back as a team loses it's premier position. We are a great small town team that I am proud of - ups and downs - and scurrilous comment - like above - smacks of a lack of realistic expectations which, ironically, that silly season in the premiership partially caused. We sell to survive. Get used to it. And instead of carping and being disloyal to a board whose incredibly successful efforts, in the face of often idiotic criticism, get behind them, every step of the way, even when they make the odd (Laws as an example) mistake. MikeMada

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