Burnley chairman Alan Pace's plans to develop Turf Moor
ALAN Pace has already earmarked ground improvements, just over a week into his new role at Burnley Football Club. But the new chairman has no plans to move the Clarets away from their beloved Turf Moor.
Since ALK Capital completed their takeover last week, Pace has spoken of increasing Burnley’s fanbase and the club’s reach on a global scale, capitalising on their Premier League status to build an international brand.
But while there are big ambitions to improve marketability and maximise the ground’s current usage on a day-to-day basis, community is key too.
And Pace admitted the location of Turf Moor – in the heart of the town – was part of the appeal.
“I think, from what we have seen, so far, I like the location – this is part of the charm, the character of a club in this part of the country,” he said.
Turf Moor is one of the oldest grounds and has been the home of Burnley Football Club since 1883. Only Preston North End’s Deepdale has been continuously used for longer in English professional football.
And Pace is keen to make the most of their ground.
“There are definitely some things that can improve at the stadium. Give us some time to look through, but I want the experience to be different,” he said.
“If we want connectivity, then that includes the experience when you are here, and taking that away. We have some improvement we can do there.
“It’s fair to say, one of the things I learned in my first time of managing a club and being an owner (at Real Salt Lake), you need to make the asset sweat – that’s the way we would say it.
“You need to use the facilities for all kinds of things.
“Whether or not there are people here doing some things seven days a week, we’ll wait and see, but we need to have things that make them want to, or are available for them to do that, and that is something that is really important to us.
“How we do that, I need a little bit of time, but we have some ideas.”
Tailgate parties, held in the car parks of stadiums, are popular in American sport and part of the matchday experience. A ‘fan zone’ is in operation and has proved popular at Turf Moor in recent seasons, and Pace is looking at ways for Burnley fans to prolong their matchday experience at Turf Moor, once supporters are allowed to return.
“We plan to make it a place you want to come and spend time, not just about 90 minutes – there’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“People may say ‘you’re going to bring all the American stuff in’…it may look like tailgating, but there will be fan things…we want people to be here and enjoy the atmosphere, and think about this club as a place to go on Saturday, something to do, that they want it to be a central part of their lives. It already is, but it kind of ends and you end up in the pub! There can be more.“It’s the way we can create that and make it possible.
“We have some very cool ideas for the youth, and we have the capability and facilities to make that possible.
“I think we can turn it into a really cool place that people actually want to be at and spend the day.”
Intriguingly, on Monday a security document which showed that the club owned some land near Rosegrove – dating back to the era of former chairman Bob Lord – was filed at Companies House.
It was spotted by shareholder and season ticket holder Andrew Ronnan, who said: “The new owners’ professional advisors have been undertaking their necessary contract diligence, some of which has to be filed on the public record at Companies House within 21 days.
“What I found was that BFC owned some land to the north and south of Molly Wood Lane at Hapton.
“When checking Land Registry records, it revealed that, under Bob Lord’s tenure, the land was bought in June 1975.
“When Chairman Bob bought Home Farm at Gawthorpe as a training ground in the 50s, it was a visionary idea ahead of its time.
“I now wonder whether Chairman Bob actually thought about moving away from Turf Moor as well, and into a new stadium on Molly Wood Lane?
“I hope someone with better knowledge than I possess of our great club’s history could enlighten us all about the land acquisition which later saw the M65 constructed through it.”
© The Fan Experience Company 2020