Euro opportunity fraught with risks

As Burnley push for European football for the first time in over half a century, chairman Mike Garlick admits a continental adventure would 'come with a health warning.'
New Clarets' co-chairman Mike Garlick.New Clarets' co-chairman Mike Garlick.
New Clarets' co-chairman Mike Garlick.

But the club would tackle the challenge head on, should Sean Dyche’s side round off a magnificent campaign in style.

Burnley sit seventh with seven games to play - a position which is likely to mean Europa League football.

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That would bring extra pressures and stretch the squad, and Garlick admits: “I’ve got two or three hats and the fan hat says it’s a dream.

“It’s something that hasn’t happened since 1966/67, so that’s over 50 years ago.

“But my chairman hat says ‘Be careful what you wish for. Europe comes with a health warning.’

“It’s like going out and drinking too much alcohol, there are side effects. You’ve got to be a bit careful about what we wish for I think.”

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A number of clubs at home and abroad have struggled to juggle their league form with European football, as he added: “I was looking at Cologne, who did really well last season and the season before, qualified for Europe and now I think they’re second bottom of the Bundesliga.

“They haven’t got the strength in numbers, and let’s be honest we haven’t got a huge, huge squad.

“I’m not talking it down, but it would be a little bit harder for us.

“If it happens it happens. We’re not going to start dropping points to finish eighth, that’s for sure!

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“If we find ourselves in that position, we have to evaluate that and give it our best shot.”

To that end, Garlick - who last week announced a £22.2m profit in the club’s annual accounts - revealed plans are already afoot to improve the squad, with their Premier League status secured for another season: “We want to bring players in who can improve what we’ve got, but they’ve got to fit into our structure. It’s really important.

“(Planning) has already started. Specifically recruitment, who the targets are.

“We’ve already got a list that we’re going through, so we like to think we’re ahead of the game.”

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The profit means Burnley will look for quality, rather than quantity, this summer in the transfer market: “We brought in the summer gone five or six new signings, the summer before that five or six as well. Maybe one or two more?

“For the summer going forward, will we see that many new players coming in? I doubt it to be honest. Twos and threes rather than fives and sixes. We’re always looking to upgrade the quality of the side, so anyone we bring in has got to add something, if they don’t, we won’t sign them, it’s as simple as that. We’d look for them to bring something to the side.”

And prudence will remain a key word at the club - something which has served them well: “I think we always want to trade profitably, and therefore if you do that, you’ve always got some sort of warchest for emergencies.

“You kind of run the club like you do a family. In a family you always need a bit of money put by for a rainy day, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad reasons.

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“It can be put by if we see an opportunity in the market and we want to buy a player that maybe we thought was out of our reach at some stage, we can maybe take that view.

“Or, if in a year’s time, maybe we think we have to redevelop some more parts of the stadium, we’ve possibly got the money to do that if it’s needed of course.”