Clarets takeover could lead to naming controversy

Allegedly, Burnley Football Club is moving closer to a potential takeover, multi-million pound investment and a possible rebranding.
Hull City fans protested against owner Assem Allam's plans to rename the club Hull TigersHull City fans protested against owner Assem Allam's plans to rename the club Hull Tigers
Hull City fans protested against owner Assem Allam's plans to rename the club Hull Tigers

Premier League football could be on the calendar for the 2014/15 campaign at Turf Moor, and the board of directors, including co-chairman John Banaszkiewicz, are in the provisional stages of structuring a business plan to help sustain the club’s status in England’s top tier.

Remember Burnley businessman and international ambassador John Sullivan?

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Well the club’s associate director is at the forefront of negotiations once more, though on this occasion there seems to be more substance in the speculation.

It’s an avenue that Banaszkiewicz and company appear eager to explore and Mr Sullivan, who was honoured by the Russian Royal family by being made a Knight of the Imperial Order of St Anne, has been trusted as the club’s representative to lead talks with some of Russia’s most esteemed entrepreneurs in Moscow.

Like takeovers involving Cardiff City and Hull City, however, the board has conceded that a rebranding of the club may have to be taken in to consideration to entice the oligarchy to invest.

Fans at the Cardiff City Stadium and the KC Stadium have already strongly protested the respective proposals of owners Vincent Tan and Assem Allam to rebrand and re-register those clubs to make them more marketable on a global scale.

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Opposition and discontent grew in August last year when Allam announced that the Premier League new boys had been re-registered as “Hull City Tigers Ltd”, and that the team would be marketed as “Hull City Tigers”, removing the Association Football Club” that had been part of the name since the club’s formation in 1904.

Only time will tell as to whether the Clarets explore a similar direction. But a possible change of identity, including “Burnley Bees” and “Burnley Rovers”, which is how the team was known on its inauguration in 1882, will be put to the Turf Moor faithful should discussions reach an advanced stage.

Losing the club’s identity would be catastrophic and hurtful to say the least. But if rumours surrounding a return to the club’s original colours of blue and white - similar to the design of the 125th anniversary kit back in 2007 - are true then the vitriol from supporters would be unimaginable. Burnley Rovers playing in blue and white? Surely not.

Scrutinising the situation from a journalistic perspective, talks with boardroom members have previously circulated around expanding the club’s brand worldwide. Before Banaszkiewicz was elected on to the board in November 2010, he organised the pre-season tour to Singapore to broaden the club’s popularity.

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Don’t be alarmed just yet, because any scrupulous attempts of commercial gain and eroding tradition would have to be ratified by the Football Association.

And the FA membership committee has already advised that the name change application from Allam be rejected at the FA Council meeting in just over a week’s time.

Yes this could be a solution to create additional sources of revenue, but we’re not the type of club to sell its soul to the devil. Are we?