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A tale of Flood, sweat and tears
"I AM a lifelong Burnley fan, all my family are Burnley fans and all my mates are Burnley fans. This is like living the dream."
With those words began Brendan Flood’s tenure as a Clarets director in December 2006.
That passion for the club was never far from Flood’s thoughts during just over six years on the Burnley board.
Flood was desperate to deliver success to Turf Moor, and had the financial means to help make it happen.
For one year at least, Flood and every Clarets fan saw their dream realised.
Against all odds, Burnley made it to the Premier League and then beat Manchester United in their first home match in the top flight.
They were remarkable times, the likes of which had not been seen at Turf Moor for decades.
Flood was as much a part of that as anyone.
Born in Rossendale, Flood grew up a Burnley fan and attended matches with his father.
He began work for Barclays Bank in Colne at the age of 18 and progressed in banking before launching Modus Properties in 1991 and enjoyed great success before deciding he wanted to invest in his beloved Clarets.
Within weeks he was receiving public thanks from Burnley manager Steve Cotterill for paying a significant part of the £750,000 fee to bring Ade Akinbiyi back to the club from Sheffield United.
By the middle of 2007 Flood was the club’s major investor and working alongside chairman Barry Kilby.
He revealed plans to improve Turf Moor and persuaded former Clarets striker Paul Fletcher, an expert in stadium development following retirement as a player, to rejoin the club.
Together with the rest of the Burnley board, operational director Flood took the tough decision to part with Cotterill in November 2007.
He then played a key role in the appointment of Owen Coyle. The Scot had not been on the Clarets’ original shortlist but Flood decided to interview the Scot after receiving a recommendation.
“When we first spoke to Owen he struck me as being like a young Bill Shankly,” Flood famously said.
The rest was history. In time Coyle, backed by Flood, guided Burnley first to the Carling Cup semi finals and then into the Championship play-offs.
It culminated in promotion with victory over Sheffield United at Wembley in May 2009.
Back in the top flight for the first time since 1976, the Clarets made a fine start and were even in the top half of the table in the early weeks of the season.
But the momentum could not be sustained and Coyle’s shock departure to Bolton was a blow to Flood and the club as a whole.
Brian Laws was appointed as replacement, but Flood later revealed his regret that he had not pushed harder for other more ambitious names on the shortlist that he had favoured.
The Clarets slid to relegation at a time when Flood’s business was already being hit by the recession.
Laws was sacked in December 2010 and Flood then helped to bring in Eddie Howe as manager, but the Premier League dream could not be relived.
The Clarets have found themselves in the middle of the Championship table for most of the past two-and-a-half years, and Flood has now taken the decision to step down from the board as he takes a break following the conclusion of a business dispute with Anglo Irish Bank.
Burnley’s Premier League days sadly did not last during Flood’s time at the club.
That they got there at all, though, is something that he will be remembered for.
He helped to take his boyhood team into the top flight. He lived the dream.
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