BURNLEY Football Club chief executive Paul Fletcher has warned the Turf Moor redevelopment will be delayed because of the credit crunch.

But he insists the proposed £20million facelift will still go ahead.

Although planning permission for Phase One of six was granted in April and set to get underway this summer, work has yet to start on the £2.25m three-storey player and media centre, which would link the Jimmy McIlroy and James Hargreaves Stands and include new changing rooms.

Plans have also been drawn up for Phase Two, which involves the demolition and rebuilding of the David Fishwick (Cricket Field) Stand.

But the current crisis within the global financial market has already impacted on the Clarets, with officials now re-analysing and amending the original designs for both Turf Moor and the Gawthorpe training ground to find a more cost-effective way for work to be carried out.

“I think it’s fair to say the credit crunch has affected every development in the UK, and we’re no different,” Fletcher said.

“We are constantly analysing things and will continue to do so - talking to architects and developers - and we won’t press the button on the project until we have funding.

“We have planning permission for Phase One but we are completely re-analysing it, and discussing it with the chairman and Brendan Flood, to see if the relocation of the dressing rooms, for example, is the right thing to do, or if we could do it a different way.

“Clearly this will slow the process down rather than quicken it up.”

Plans for a hotel as part of Phase Two have already been amended, but that is more as a result of market research than the credit crunch.

It was initially expected that the facility within the new one-tier stand would consist of 120 rooms but, while there was demand for a new hotel in the area, the capacity was too large and this number has since been reduced to around 80 rooms.

“We are not rushing blindly into anything, neither are we expecting to shelve anything. Sooner or later we will start building and the new stand will go up, but we won’t be doing anything that will cause Burnley Football Club long-term difficulties,” said Fletcher.

“It’s just like a family who are considering moving from a small cottage into a big four-bedroom house - you have to evaluate everything.

“I’ve always said this football club is in a safe pair of hands with Barry Kilby as chairman.

“We are looking to see what we can afford, where the money’s coming from and how it is best spent.

“We will apply for grants once the plans have been finalised, but in the middle of the credit crunch they aren’t as forthcoming as perhaps they once were. The situation is affecting everybody.

“I know some fans will be very frustrated and question why we aren’t moving forward, but we are trying to be very prudent and do what is best for the football club.”

It is a particularly poignant situation for Fletcher, who became a new record signing for Burnley in 1971 - the year the Clarets were relegated after 24 years in English football’s top and the summer after work had begun on the redevelopment of the Bee Hole End terrace and plans had been drafted for two new stands to create a capacity of around 40,000.

Nevertheless, he is confident that Burnley can avoid suffering the same fate as Liverpool, who have just announced plans to build a new ground in Stanley Park have been put on hold until the financial market stabilises.

And he believes the Clarets are in a better position to carry out work on their own ground, rather than relocating.

“My view after building three or four of these out-of-town stadia is that it becomes state of the art rather than state of the heart,” he said.

“A football club that stays on its own location, where it’s been for many years - close to the community, has massive benefits over new stadia that are built on greenfield sites, out of the town centre.

“I’m passionate about that, and that’s why I’m pleased to be back at Burnley.

“A football stadium is a community facility.

“And you only have to look at the end of last season and all the clubs who had built a new stadium and found themselves at the bottom, like Leicester, Colchester, Southampton and Coventry City.”

He added: “I was asked to look at the cost of the new Liverpool stadium and relocation to Stanley Park about seven years ago when I was working on the new Wembley.

“Back then it was a £100million project, now I am hearing figures of £300-£400m and by the time it’s finished it’s probably going to be £600-£700m, and they are only increasing the capacity by 10,000-12,000.”