IT was while waiting to catch the plane to West Ham last weekend that one thought struck me - Burnley fans love a good moan!

Granted, the current perilous financial position is cause for concern and admittedly, falling gates are hardly helping to swell the coffers to ease the situation for Stan Ternent.

Deep down, everyone knows that we are punching above our weight, but somehow it's never quite enough.

So it was at Blackpool Airport that Ternent, chairman Barry Kilby and chief executive Dave Edmundson all agreed to an impromptu pre-flight Q&A with VIP supporters.

Things were going swimmingly as Ternent courteously discussed the loan situation with Andy Todd and several other football-related topics.

But soon things deteriorated and, despite having Ternent at his mercy to quiz him on any meaty playing topic, we ended up with a good-old fashioned whinge about a) the stewarding at Turf Moor and b) why the reporting of all matters claret and blue is doom and gloom. (On the first matter, why not put it in a letter. On the second - don't shoot the messenger!)

I like to think I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy, and as such I'm constantly at war with my ever-so-slightly pessimistic father.

So for once, let me try to cheer everyone up by championing possibly the biggest shining light to come out of our club in years.

The player in question: Richard Chaplow and his incredible emergence over the past eight months.

Ever since the midfield dynamo came onto the scene, at Norwich in April, he has blossomed into a player who, even at the tender age of 18, must now be close to being the first name on the team sheet every week.

Absolutely nothing or nobody fazes him, as the pre-season game against Leeds showed when he stood toe-to-toe and slugged it out with the likes of David Batty and Jody Morris.

At West Ham last weekend, it was more of the same. It can't have gone unnoticed by anyone inside Upton Park that Chaplow was every bit the equal of young England wannabe Michael Carrick and old soldier Rob Lee.

Right now, it's happening on a weekly basis, so Chaplow for England in the near future - why not?

A glance at the current England U19 squad shows the likes of Reading, Nottingham Forest, Millwall and Sheffield United players being drafted up.

Even in the U20's squad, due to compete in the World Youth Championships this winter in the UAE, sees youngsters from Northampton, Swindon and Preston being given their chance.

Les Reed, the England juniors' supremo, has admitted he is keen to 'fast-track' younger players up the pyramid.

Chaplow, who recently signed professional terms, has started just eight games for Burnley in his burgeoning career - but there's an old adage that if you are good enough, you are old enough.

Right now, I see Chaplow as the best young prospect to come out of Burnley Football Club in decades.

And if he keeps his feet on the ground - a racing certainty under Ternent - then we could all be celebrating some good news in the very near future.