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Burnley column: Kilby will be tough act to follow for new duo
WHAT do York, Preston North End, Luton, Port Vale, Crewe, Stockport, Bradford, Swindon, Tranmere, Grimsby, Sheffield United, Portsmouth and Bury have in common?
It was a question posed by a media colleague following Barry Kilby’s last day in office. But the answer would never have been far from the former chairman’s thoughts in the latter part of his 13-year plus reign.
Those 13 clubs, plus others, were above Burnley in the Football League ladder when Kilby succeeded Frank Teasdale to assume control of his beloved Clarets.
They have since dropped well below – some dropping out of the league altogether – while Burnley have gone on to establish themselves in the Championship, and even enjoy one Premier League season.
It clearly outlines the progress the club has made since Kilby’s first full season at the helm. They have not looked back since climbing out of the old Division Two as runners up in 2000.
After ending a 34-year exile from English football’s top flight, it is hoped the wait won’t be as long again, which is why the task now facing the new, joint-chairmen, is arguably much greater than the one Kilby took on board in late 1998.
If nothing else, the expectation of fans has rocketed since winning at Wembley and ‘living the dream’ in 2009/10.
Managing that, as well as the club finances, will be just as vital for the new chairmen.
Perhaps that is one reason why it has become a two-man job.
Not only do they have big shoes to fill, following Kilby’s decision to step down on the unfortunate grounds of ill health, but football has developed into a bigger job, in a bigger, more powerful industry.
Football is huge business, and Burnley are not heavyweights.
It has become a struggle for fans to accept that they have little choice but to agree to a £7million offer for Jay Rodriguez has become a necessity ahead of their third season back in the Championship, but the figures speak for themselves.
The Clarets’ suffered a massive drop in revenue the season after relegation from their Premier League – 38 per cent according to Deloitte and Touche; there was a £4million shortfall in the last financial year; this year parachute payments are halved.
It doesn’t mean the Clarets can’t find a way to stay competitive. After all, they have an ambitious young manager in Eddie Howe.
But expectations needs to fall in line with funds.