BURNLEY chairman Barry Kilby has revealed he would be in favour of buying back Turf Moor if the Clarets retain their Premier League status.

The ground was sold to Longside Properties in April 2006, when Kilby was the company’s majority shareholder, and has since been used under a 99-year lease that includes a buy-back clause.

Although Kilby, who owned 51 per cent of Longside Properties, sold his shares earlier this year, along with Burnley director John Sullivan, who held the remaining 49 per cent, it was stipulated that the terms of the lease would still be honoured by the new landlords, believed to be Lionbridge Properties.

With Burnley expected to be one of the most profitable clubs in English football if they stay up this season, the buy-back could happen as early as next year.

But while Kilby would love Turf Moor to belong to the Clarets again, he admitted the process would involve a fine balancing act.

“I’d like it back, don’t get me wrong. It would strengthen your balance sheet if and when you’ve got the money to do it,” said the Burnley chairman, who sold all 51 per cent of his Longside Properties shares in March this year.

“It will cost us £3.5million as we sit here now to buy it back. Legal costs would make it about £3.8m.

“I would say it’s high up on the agenda for next year if we stay in the Premier League.

“It’s just where you put it in your priorities.”

Kilby this week revealed that attentions could finally turn to the Turf Moor redevelopment, after the credit crunch forced the £20million facelift to be put on hold.

It was initially proposed in the summer of 2007 and scheduled to take three years to complete, but work has yet to start.

Kilby indicated that Phase Two of six - demolishing the ageing David Fishwick Stand and building a £10million, single tier stand incorporating corporate boxes, a hotel, business centre, gymnasium and cricket pavilion - could now be the first project to get underway at the end of this season should the Clarets avoid an immediate return to the Championship.

But Kilby admitted decisions must be taken on whether money would be better spent on the ground - the second oldest continually used site for league football in the world, behind Preston - or playing staff.

“Do you spend it on players? Or even the David Fishwick (Cricket Field) Stand?

"Do you bring that in before it? Do you put the money towards that?” he said.

“It (Turf Moor) is secure. That’s how it was set up. There’s a long lease and the football club can buy it back at any time.

“It’s there every year. It sounds emotive (when you don’t own the ground).

"The fans thought we’d lost the ground, but we haven’t. We play at Turf Moor every (other) Saturday.”