Burnley expand football network with partnerships with Portadown, Ayr United, Cobh Ramblers and Llandudno
Burnley have made their first steps to increase the club’s footprint after agreeing strategic partnerships with clubs in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
The partnerships, with Scottish Championship club Ayr United, 2007 League of Ireland champions Cobh Ramblers Portadown of the NIFL Premiership and Cymru North team Llandudno, will see the club widen its scouting network in those regions, while supporting the development of young players and coaches.
The partner clubs will benefit from a range of hands-on support from Burnley, including football, operational and commercial expertise, with coach education and player access
All clubs’ academies and women’s teams will compete in pre-season games and tournaments, while loan deals for Burnley’s academy players to gain experience at senior levels will also be considered.
Chairman Alan Pace said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to grow Burnley’s footprint and profile in every corner of the British Isles, and benefit from working with some fantastic clubs on our doorstep.
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“We look forward to developing a strong working relationship with Ayr United, Cobh Ramblers, Portadown and Llandudno which will no doubt benefit the clubs, the coaches and their players for many years to come.
“This is very much the first step in our plans to expand the football network of Burnley, build the relevance of our club beyond the North West of England and ensure that Burnley’s academy continues to be a high-performance hotbed for future first team players and international footballers.”
The development of coaches will be central to Burnley’s work at the partner clubs – the club will provide hands-on support in creating best practice structures to implement professional coaching in line with Burnley’s Category 1 Premier League academy.
Long-term, the goal of the strategic partnerships is to create player pathways into the Premier League for the best players.
Portadown were twice winners of the NIFL Championship Development League South from 2017-19 while previous academy graduates of Cobh Ramblers include Roy Keane and Stephen Ireland.
Matt Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Burnley F.C, added: “While there are clear benefits to the football side of the club, I believe there will also be significant benefits both operationally and commercially for all sides, none of us are naïve enough to think we know it all, and I am sure we can learn from our partner clubs as much as they can learn from us.
“We wanted to partner with clubs we felt would fit with what we stand for. The four clubs are at the heart of their local communities, have a passionate fan base and have chairmen and directors, who like Alan Pace and his team are ambitious and constantly looking to improve.
“We have developed a great understanding with Portadown in recent seasons and this is a natural step for us both and our relationship with Cobh can be traced back to 1921 when the Clarets were crowned league champions, prompting the newly-formed club to wear the famous Claret and Blue, and they are also currently managed by our former defender Stuart Ashton.
“Like ourselves Ayr have a relatively new chairman who has a real ambition to push the club forward and challenge for promotion to the SPL, while Llandudno are keen implement a professional approach, and I couldn’t be more delighted to welcome the four clubs.”