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France Starts Second Career At Turf Moor

9 September 2015

Former Clarets defender Paul France is back at Turf Moor after more than two decades away!

Paul, who was a part of the 1992 promotion winning squad under Jimmy Mullen, has been appointed as the new Deputy Chief Executive of Burnley FC In The Community.

And after honing his skills in 20 years of running Huddersfield’s community programme, Holmfirth-born Paul is eager to make a big impact in his second career with the Clarets.

He said: “I’ve been back a few times since I left and it’s feels like I’m back on familiar territory, although things have changed a little bit around here!

“One of the big attractions is the way the football club and the community programme work so closely together.

“While we are a registered charity, independent from the club, you wouldn’t know that if you walked through the door.

“I am aware of a few problems in the past with Burnley’s Community schemes, but Neil Hart (Head of Community) has done a fantastic job in a short space of time.

“What he has developed here, and the growth of the organisation in the past 12 to 18 months is phenomenal.

“Obviously due to that growth, Neil’s time is precious and he is involved in so many things, so my role is primarily to help him on a strategic level and develop new opportunities.”

Paul was limited to just nine first team appearances for the Clarets after joining the club from Bristol City in 1990.

Opportunities were increasingly hard to come by, largely due to the form of full back Ian Measham.

But it is due to good friend Measham that Paul perhaps owes a debt of gratitude, after finally finding his new vocation off the field.

He recalled: “Ian had the shirt at that time and he was a very good player. I struggled to get in the side primarily because of that, although I did contribute in that promotion season; just not enough to get a medal though, unfortunately.

“Midway through that season I decided that would be my last season in professional football, even though I was only 23.

“I’d played a good few seasons of reserve team football, including at Bristol City, and I had to admit I wasn’t going to be good enough to earn lots of money and retire at 30!

“At some point in my life, I needed to do something else, and it was probably easier at 23 than 33.

“So I went and played non-league football for Altrincham for seven seasons and absolutely loved it there.

“I also took coaching qualifications and managed to get into Football In The Community through Leeds United.

Two years later, in 1995, Paul was appointed Head of Community job at another former club, Huddersfield Town, giving him the perfect grounding for his new role at Turf Moor.

He said: “I always found it easy to work at Huddersfield because it was a club I had an affiliation with, so coming to Burnley is no problem for me because it’s exactly the same.

“It’s always easier to work promote and sell something if you have a belief in what you are doing and it’s in your blood.

“I have experience of doing that, so these are exciting times and I am really looking forward to getting my teeth into the role.”

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