PETER SHACKLETON has stepped up the fierce battle for control at Burnley Football Club with a thinly veiled attack on the rival Ray Ingleby camp.

He told a special meeting of supporters last night: "I do not want empire builders, saboteurs and obstructors.

"I do not want people dragging the club through the mud.

"It saddened me greatly to be contacted by people who said they had the best interests of Burnley Football Club at heart but were more interested in personal gain or glory.

"I think the club would be better off without these people."

The Clarets diehard - who aims to take Burnley to the Premiership within seven years - refused to reveal the identity of his backers before an extraordinary general meeting.

But he admitted that those backers already held investments in several other European clubs.

He said: "I have loose associations with a number of leading football clubs in Europe.

"Some are high up and some are not so high up in their domestic leagues. But Burnley would not be used as a nursery club."

Assets from those backers worth billions of pounds are currently being checked by the Burnley bankers.

Shackleton, however, was unable to give any guarantees about the amount of cash that would follow his initial £12 million package. And - in the face of intense pressure from members of the Clarets Independent Supporters' Association - Shackleton stuck rigidly to his stance that the current board would not be ditched under his leadership as the new chairman. But Shackleton said that the meeting - attended by board members Clive Holt and Bob Blakeborough - had reinforced his desire to buy the club.

He said: "All the board members are fans. No-one should forget the dire position the club was in when this chairman and the board took over."

"And they recognise that the time is right to enter a new phase.

"If people will not change we will have to change the people.

"Empty suits will have to move on.

"But I believe people can change. And there are other ways of changing the board. We can bring people in as well as get rid of people."

Shackleton also promised:

A database of supporters to improve communication and a dialogue with fans' groups

A top team of financial and football advisers

To revamp the youth policy through a network of scouting contacts

State of the art rehabilitation facilities for injured players. But supporters remained sceptical.

CISA chairman Peter Heywood said: "It was evident from his address that changes will be made at the club. However, the overwhelming feeling of the meeting was that Frank Teasdale, in particular, should go."

And Ingleby was expected to today consult his lawyers before reacting to Shackleton's comments.

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