AFTER following a glittering career in football with success in business, former Clarets striker-turned-chief-executive Paul Fletcher has unveiled another new string to his bow - as a bestselling novelist.

His book Saturday Bloody Saturday, written with close friend and famous Burnley fan Alastair Campbell, tells the story of a football team in the 1970s caught up in the world of politics and terrorism.

Fletcher clearly has a mind for a good yarn, but there's one story he admits he's never managed to get his head around - the real-life tale of how a small-town football club continue to punch above their weight and give some of the biggest teams and cities in the country a bloody nose.

"I’ve never ever understood how Burnley do it, even when I was a player. When I was playing we were once second in the league in the top division," said Fletcher, who scored 86 goals for Burnley in 352 appearances.

"That’s the story of Burnley. It’s the giant-killing story, we killed so many giants when we played and nobody quite understands how.

"I can never believe what this club achieves. Every season people are expecting Burnley to go down, but it doesn’t happen. That’s why it’s great fun being a Burnley supporter."

Fletcher was a key member of the last Clarets side to finish in the top half of the top flight in 1974/75 and he sees similarities between the manager then, Jimmy Adamson, and the man in charge of the Clarets renaissance now, Sean Dyche.

"Often it’s just a philosophy," the 67-year-old said.

"Jimmy Adamson always used to say to the team I played for: ‘You have to work hard for these fans. They work hard through the week and they don’t expect you to play well every week, but they expect you to give your all.’

"I think Sean Dyche is persuading this current team to give their all on the field and they do, and often we can turn over the big sides who are not giving their all on the field because they’re waiting to fly off to Barbados or wherever for the weekend."

After Burnley's top half finish in 74/75 relegation followed a season later and so began a spiral that would take the club to the brink of ruin.

They were a game away from exiting the Football League in 1986/87, perhaps going out of business in the process. But they survived and began the process of rebuilding.

Fletcher was chief executive when the Clarets returned to the top flight in 2009/10, but had left to take up a position with UCFB by the time Dyche arrived and began the job of establishing the Clarets as a Premier League force.

But Fletcher is quick to praise the people behind the scenes, including those in the boardroom, for the revival.

"The club went on decline for about 20 years and has now somehow been pulled back together by great chairmen like Barry Kilby, who has stayed at the club an awful long time and is still here today," he said.

"It’s got some real good people amongst it but it’s got some real good supporters as well, we as players used to go out and mix with the supporters, we loved it, but I don’t that happens in modern-day football."

Not content with a remarkable career that took him from battles on the pitch to battles in the boardroom, Fletcher has now turned his hand to writing books.

Asked about the genesis of Saturday Bloody Saturday, he said: "About two or three years ago I remember sitting on a beach and my grandson turned to me and said: ‘Granddad, what was it like to play football in the 70s?’

"I started to tell him about the games and the goals and then I started to remember it was quite a frightening time.

"I remember travelling with Burnley to London and we stayed in the Great Western Hotel in Paddington, it was a time when the IRA were having a bombing campaign in London.

"There’s not many football novels, because we all have our team and if you write a novel about Burnley or Blackburn Rovers or any club there’s more people that won’t want to read it than will.

"So we decided that this team wouldn’t have a name but it would play against real teams, so when it played against Chelsea in that era it was playing against Ron Harris and Peter Bonetti and Peter Osgood and the great names.

"Then we started to come up with the characters in the dressing room, in every dressing room I played in you had a womaniser, a drinker, a gambler, all the different traits were at each club.

"It was a nice time to write about and when we pulled together the politics that was when Alastair got involved."

Campbell brought some added gravitas, as well as intimate knowledge of the political plotlines and the involvement of the IRA.

Fletcher added: "Initially it was tough but my grammar is not what it should be, so he used to pull me up about my commas and apostrophes and exclamation marks.

"But we had some real fun and real banter as we exchanged emails and talked about the characters and how we would develop each of the characters. Which one was the bully? What was it like being bullied in the dressing room? Why was somebody bullied?

"We had all these different aspects of the game."

Fletcher and Campbell clearly have a close relationship, sharing the plaudits and the leg pulling equally during the book launch at the UCFB campus at the Etihad.

Campbell is a veteran of over a dozen books, but for Fletcher this is a first, aside for his autobiography 'Magical - My Life in Football'.

His name might now get the star billing that former Downing Street press secretary's, but Fletcher can cope with that if he helps to sell more copies of Saturday Bloody Saturday.

As he surveys the stylish front cover with his name on it, he beams: "I'm massively proud.

"I had a lot of dispute with Alastair about his name being twice as big as man but that’s what it was all about, I had this idea of the book but if I’d have tried to publish it myself I’d have sold three copies.

"I was clever enough to persuade Alastair to co-write it with me and I’m not bothered his name is twice as big as mine as we’ll sell twice as many books."