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Clarets Blog: New priorities for chairman Kilby
PERSPECTIVE is a word that often springs to mind when bad news strikes.
For Barry Kilby it is all about priorities.
His have changed since he was diagnosed with cancer in November, leading to his decision to resign from his position as chairman of Burnley Football Club, effective after the end of May.
For so long the club has come first. Now it’s the turn of his health.
The fight to keep the Clarets competing with the Championship heavyweights has been replaced by a battle against a disease that can strike anyone at any time.
But it is typical of the man and his undoubted devotion to his football club that he remains conscious of its well-being, as well as his own.
Fighting the illness is his focus, but part of his decision was based around the time he would need for treatment.
Time he would not be able to give to his beloved Burnley as he has done for the last 13 years.
As always with his decisions, it was made with the best interests of the club he bought into after decades on the terraces at the forefront of his thoughts.
As always it was made with the support of his wife, Sonya.
Kilby and Brendan Flood have often been referred to as a boardroom double act over the last five years, but Mrs Kilby is the chairman’s perfect match.
Wherever Burnley are, the couple can be found cheering them on from the stands.
When Steven Caldwell walked up the Wembley steps to lift the Championship play-off trophy, he walked past it initially to embrace the chairman and Turf Moor’s ‘First Lady’, before going back to get his hands on the prize.
When Kilby addressed the media at Turf Moor yesterday, it was no surprise to find his wife by his side.
Behind every good man is a great woman. Together, they’ll always be behind Burnley. But for them, for now at least, the club must take a back seat.
Hearing the chairman speak of his illness was one of the most difficult and emotive interviews I have ever been involved in.
On the surface he seemed positive.
There is optimism too, around the club and this season.
Another trip to Wembley, another promotion. There could be no more fitting tribute to Kilby than that as he bows out as chairman.
But whatever happens he has left the club in a positive state to continue his good work under new stewardship.
You only have to look back to when he was appointed in 1998 to see how far the club has come.
It has been a constant battle, but he has succeeded in re-establishing Burnley in the top two tiers.
We all hope his latest fight is one he can win too.
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