Outside investment could be vital for Clarets to grow

A general view of Turf Moor home of Burnley

Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport

The Premier League - Burnley v Stoke City - Tuesday 4th April 2017 - Turf Moor - Burnley

World Copyright � 2017 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com
A general view of Turf Moor home of Burnley Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport The Premier League - Burnley v Stoke City - Tuesday 4th April 2017 - Turf Moor - Burnley World Copyright � 2017 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

Staying in the Premier League remains Burnley’s primary aim.

But should the time come where the club is established and looking to break into the top half and beyond, chairman Mike Garlick accepts outside investment will be necessary.

Burnley are something of a rarity in the Premier League, owned by local businessmen, who all grew up supporting the club.

However, Garlick admits if the deal was right, foreign investment could take the club to the next level: “We’re one of three or four clubs now who are British owned in the Premier League, but we get calls all the time.

“If you look and think you want to push for the top seven, you’d have to get outside investment.

“I don’t think we’re quite at that phase yet.

“It’s difficult to bottom out whether an owner is going to be bad if they are foreign, how do you do your real due diligence? Not just whether they’ve got a big cheque to buy the club, but how they are going to behave?

“Most people seem to pass the fit and proper persons test!

“But there are good foreign owners, you’ve just got to be very careful.

“If we stay here, you’d hit a ceiling at some point, and have to make that decision as to how do we kick on, keep everyone motivated, keep the fans excited.

“Everyone wants to win, but let’s not get carried away, if we can stay in the Premier League, that’s the number one mission right now.”

Meanwhile, there are no plans as of yet to increase the capacity at Turf Moor.

The Clarets averaged 19,709 this season – the 19th-biggest in the Premier League – but, asked whether there are plans to expand, Garlick said: “This coming season we’ve got £8million or £9million budgeted in new money for adding new facilities down at the Barnfield Training Centre, new media facilities.

“There is some obligatory improvements we have to make at the ground, new and improved disabled access facilities.

“That, combined with other bits and pieces at Turf Moor and the training centre adds to £8million or £9million.

“I’ve seen a bit of speculation about whether we’re going to be expanding the stadium. There aren’t any short to medium term plans to do that.

“The last time we made any infrastructure changes like that was back in 1972 or 73 and we built the Bob Lord Stand.

“I think it became known as the Martin Dobson Stand because we had to sell Martin Dobson to pay for it and a couple of years later we got relegated.

“Above the improvements we’ve talked about, everything else has to go on the pitch strengthening the team to make sure we stay in the Premier League.

“In five years time if we’re locking 5,000 people out for every game we’re going to have to do something, of course we are.

“But short to medium term we have to get established as a Premier League club.

“We will get more people down here, but the way we’ll get that is success on the pitch.

“That’s a gradual process. You don’t suddenly leap up four of five places every year. It’s slow, steady evolution, not revolution.

“If that means in five years time we’re getting 30,000 people at Turf Moor, then we’ll expand accordingly.”