Co-Chairman John Banaszkiewicz on the hunt for new recruits.
Good evening everyone and welcome back to the Turf and a game many years in the making!
This marks our first game against Newcastle United for 31 years. I was a student at Newcastle doing business studies in 1983, but more than my hairline has changed since then.
That year saw the one pound coin introduced in England and Wales – and wheel clamps were first used to combat illegal parking in London. The first heart and lung transplant was carried out in Britain and Richard Attenborough’ s epic Gandhi won eight Oscars!
The UK was represented in the Eurovision Song Contest that year by ‘Sweet Dreams’ with the song ‘I'm Never Giving Up’, which is very fitting for our season so far.
We have managed to silence the doom-mongers who wrote us off as relegation candidates thanks to a series of inspiring performances from Sean and the team.
Off the pitch the board is in the process of looking at the future vision for the club and how we get the most out of benefits that go with promotion to the Premier League. As you will soon see in our annual financial report, we have done a remarkable job in a league that is defined by money.
Our objective as always going forward is to be ambitious, sensible and clever in our decisions. We are very keen to build a more extensive Academy and Training facility at Gawthorpe, which can be used for the next 20 years to improve our category status and help draw future talent to the club.
I’m sure you will also have seen Burnley hitting the headlines, not just because of our results, but the fact that our team represents ‘the full English’.
I commented to Greg Dyke at the LMA Manager awards that Burnley would boost his statistics.
While we want to widen the net, including looking at foreign players to enhance the squad, we also want Burnley to be a hub of British talent between 16 and 21 – a range that many Premier League teams seem to neglect.
Just look at the statistics for the top clubs and you will see that British youngsters make up 90% of their youth squads. Of these, maybe 10% will play for the senior first team.
We may not have the bright lights of London, but I do think we can attract this young talent to Burnley with a combination of great infrastructure and warm northern hospitality.
We have already boosted our scouting team to more than 14 people and we are actively looking for domestic players, loan players and some international players.
As we said during the last transfer windows, it’s a very competitive process. There are lots of clubs out there and it’s about timing and creating the opportunity as well as money.
One of the most encouraging aspects of the season has been fan support and interaction both at home and particularly at away games.
We need the vocal support of the fans to support Sean and rally the team. Knowing that there is a strong, loyal and vocal fan base here can help make Burnley a real focal point, which can help attract new talent to come here and want to stay.
On a final, personal note, it’s my birthday on December 4. I won’t say my age, but I hope this evening will be a special one.
I have some guests, including ‘Geordie Bob’ from Geneva, my brother Paul and his wife Bodil, all helping me celebrate a historic victory against the Geordies.
I hope that is PC?
Up the Clarets!