EDDIE Howe’s Turf Moor vision of the future helped convince Chris McCann to stay at Burnley.
McCann committed himeself to another two years with the club on Thursday as they players reported back for pre-season training.
The saga dragged on all summer long, with the fear that the 23-year-old could be tempted away - with Premier League Bolton, and long-time admirer Owen Coyle, believed to be interested in a reunion.
However, the midfielder, who arrived in East Lancashire seven years ago from the famous Home Farm club in Dublin, was never in doubt.
McCann said before the last game of the season that he wanted his contract sorting before returning for pre-season, and it was, just!
And he has been impressed with Howe’s ambition: “Before I went home the gaffer had a chat with me, and Brendan Flood was there was well.
“He outlined his plans for the future and what he thought, where he wanted to go with the club and where he wanted to be.
“I think it’s the right choice to stay and hopefully get regular football here.
“With the redevelopment of the training ground, that’s a big influence as well.
“With the new gym you can see the difference here (at Turf Moor).
“All around it’s improving and I think the gaffer has a big hand in that.
“It was a big factor.”
McCann captained the side on the final day against Cardiff, and he would love to wear the armband again: “It was quite a privilege to walk out as captain on the last game of last season.
“Hopefully that won’t be the first and only time.
“We’ll see what happens. I’m just happy to be back playing football and have my future sorted out.
“If it comes, that’s a bonus.”
He featured in the last four games of the season after recovering from the knee problems which limited his time on the pitch to 100 minutes since September 2009.
McCann is delighted at how he has been looked after in that time: “The club have been good to me since I’ve been here.
“Through the injuries I had as well they’ve stuck by me and shown how highly they regard me by giving me the deal that they have, so it’s nice to get it signed.
“I knew there was something here for me regardless of what happened. I knew I’d have something. It’s not a case of me worrying about anything.
“The club have always been there for me and with the deal they’ve offered me I’m quite happy and never felt like I wanted to do anything else.
“A couple of things needed ironing out. People might have said ‘he is holding out to do something different’ but there was never any real doubt about what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be, so it was just a case of finding happy ground for the two (parties) to get it signed.
“I said before I went away (at the end of last season) that I wanted it done before I came back and I just about got there.
“I don’t think contracts these days are quick things. There are lots of things to be sorted out within the contract.
“I think the club wanted to get a good deal for themselves and I wanted to get a good deal for myself and I think we’ve both come to a stage where I think we are both happy.
“I’m happy staying here at the club I’ve basically grown up playing for.
“It was nice just to have the burden off by signing. I can relax now and not have to worry about anything for another couple of years. I’m happy being where I am.”
And he feels good times are around the corner again: “It’s a club on the up. Again I think we are really going to push for promotion this year.
“We have a good team. We haven’t lost anybody yet, which is a bonus, we still have good players here so I think we have every chance.”