Burnley Football Club is now on a firm financial footing with the news that all Bond Holders, who helped in the repurchase of Turf Moor and Gawthorpe, have been fully repaid five years early.
The club now fully owns the stadium, its surrounds and the expansive training facilities in nearby Padiham and can therefore redirect £500,000, ring-fenced for interest payments over the next five years, towards squad strengthening and /or infrastructure improvements.
Chairman Mike Garlick said: “This excellent news is further evidence that Burnley Football Club is now financially stable and in a healthy position to press ahead with the aim of returning to the Premier League.”
The Burnley FC Bond Holders, a group of supporters who were approached by the club at a testing time five years ago, each invested a significant six-figure sum to help repurchase the 130-year-old stadium and training facility from Longside Properties.
The original plan was to pay back the bond in seven years, with interest.
Former Co-Chairman John Banaszkiewicz developed the buy-back, which in 2013 brought the two assets back under club control under a new property company entitled Turf Moor Properties Ltd, in turn owned by a new holding company named Burnley FC Holdings Ltd (BFCH).
At the time, Mr Banaszkiewicz said: “Buying both Turf Moor and Gawthorpe back makes sense financially and operationally for our long-term future plans.
“As directors, we care as passionately as the fans about the club and the town and it was vitally important for the club to come up with a scheme that would enable it to regain control of the properties.
“Despite concerns that it would be tough to raise the funds we needed, this innovative scheme has been very successful, bringing us £3.5 million.
“In the long term this will save the club money in rent and charges that can be used to invest in the squad and help to build for the future.”
Longside Properties had taken ownership of Turf Moor and Gawthorpe in 2006, with the club seeking to resolve financial problems following the ITV Digital crisis.
Turf Moor became the home of Burnley Football Club only nine months after the club came into being and the Clarets have played there since February 1883.
Only Preston North End has been in continuous residence for longer in English senior football.
The Gawthorpe training facility is located in Padiham, approximately 5km north west of Burnley town centre, set within a site of approximately 45 acres and adjacent to the Grade I listed, 17th century Gawthorpe Hall. The site currently accommodates Burnley Football Club’s training ground and associated facilities.
Planning permission is currently being sought for a new indoor training facility on the site that would meet the requirements for Academy Grade Two status, in addition to a new first team and academy training buildings, and the construction of five new full size and two three-quarter size pitches.