DIRECTOR Clive Holt has revealed that Burnley considered buying Cardiff City in 1987 to become the Football League's first franchise club – 16 years before Wimbledon's controversial relocation to Milton Keynes.

The Clarets came within a whisker of dropping out of the Football League at the end of the 1986/87 campaign, as they avoided relegation on the final day of the season.

There were real fears for the future of the club, and Holt has now revealed that Burnley spent time considering a contingency plan to buy cash-strapped Cardiff and move them to East Lancashire.

They would have become the country's first franchise club, some time before Wimbledon moved to Milton Keynes in 2003 and later became MK Dons.

Holt, who has been on the Burnley board since 1986, told the Clarets’ matchday programme: “In the last fortnight of the season, when we were rock bottom of the Fourth Division, we investigated the possibility of buying the club.

“We would have been the first franchise club had we lost our league status, because we felt we couldn’t survive in non-league.

“Cardiff were looking for new owners and we were looking to move them here.

“Whether the Football League would have let us do that we never found out because we survived, but we had started looking into it.”