Club right to invest in future at Gawthorpe

A projection of the plans at Gawthorpe
A projection of the plans at Gawthorpe

Burnley came in for criticism from some quarters last season for spending money on the redevelopment of their Gawthorpe training ground, which they could have spent on the playing staff.

Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness was one vociferous opponent in particular, feeling the priority should have been survival in the Premier League at all costs.

Speaking in November 2014, Souness said: “Burnley may have a fantastic training ground in a year’s time, but that’s not going to help Sean Dyche.

“I think it’s lovely but it’s a wee bit naive, unless he’s got the most ridiculously strong chairman and the most ridiculously strong board who are going to stand by him through no matter what.”

Sean Dyche, in response, pointed to the example of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, who played an active role in the building of a new training ground and the Emirates Stadium: “To be fair I think Arsene Wenger has done all right!”

“I think Arsene took it forward, built his own version of it, Sir Alex did it too.

Work commences at Gawthorpe

Work commences at Gawthorpe

“I’m not suggesting I’m trying to do that at Burnley, but the club is absolutely important.

“As well as being a manager, managers are custodians for whatever period of time, and I know for sure in my current period of time that this club is in a whole better place from when I got here.

“That’s progress, but it’s more important what we do going forward.”

Burnley were ultimately relegated from the top flight in the summer.

But, after getting the go-ahead for the £10.6m project, Dyche insists it was more pertinent to invest in the long-term future of the club, rather than short-term gain.

Dyche said: “You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

“It’s finding that balance.

“Unless you’ve got sugar daddies who can do everything all at once and pay themselves back over time, which we haven’t got.

“It has to be done in a balanced fashion.

“On the pitch demands and off the pitch demands all lead to a bigger-picture future, and there has to be a balance.

“I think we’re attempting to find it appropriately and still challenge on the field, as well as building off the field.”

Work began on the project last week and will, within 18 months, house all players in a new, dedicated new training centre for the first time.

And the new facility, which also includes new pitches constructed by a third party – taking the total cost of the compete redevelopment to £10.6m – will now be known as The Barnfield Training Centre.

Dyche was delighted to get the go-ahead: “We thank all of the governing bodies that have been involved because we understand it’s a complex process.

“For the immediacy, fantastic news, but also for the longevity of the club.

“If you look at all levels, particularly the Premier League going into the Championship, mainly because of the increase of finance, most clubs have a real base.

“It’s been here, but the club has kind of outgrown this facility now.

“If you want to include the development team, the Under 18 system, you do need more than what’s here.

“The pitches are key, and on top of that is a facility that can house the people properly and allow the club to build for a longer term future.

“I think that’s a big part of it.”

Dyche added: “The pitches are already very good.

“Beyond that it’s the facility, to get everyone in a main hub of a training ground and have a real good feel factor is something to really look forward to for all concerned.

“It tickes so many boxes. Professionally it increases the professional feel and environment, the EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) will increase that, possible links at times for community...

“It opens up a lot more possibilities than just for the football club, and good use of the land mass as well.

“The pitches have been down there for years and years. The rest of the area is left to be what it is.

“Now actually using that area for a main reason is good use for the land.

“It was something I was very strong about, something I believe is right for now, but also beyond me, whenever that day occurs.”

Tim Webber, Managing Director and Chairman of Barnfield Construction Limited, said: “After forging a new partnership with Burnley Football Club, we are proud to have officially signed the sponsorship agreement for the naming rights to the new training facility, which we are developing for them.”

“As a company that is based close to Burnley we are always keen to partner and re-invest with local companies and organisations and we are delighted to be supporting the club for the next five years.”

Anthony Fairclough, Head of Commercial Affairs at Burnley Football Club, added: “We are delighted to finalise this deal.

“It represents a major investment into the club and is a great foundation to build on for the future between our two great companies.

“Although the build will be complete in 2017, the naming rights for the new training facility start immediately and will now be known as ‘The Barnfield Training Centre’, seeing our relationship carry through to at least 2020.

“This is a fantastic development for the club and will see us create a magnificent facility for our players, with the naming rights solidifying this.”

Related content:

Clarets to re-name Gawthorpe training ground

Work begins on Clarets training ground renovation

Burnley FC bid to transform Gawthorpe training ground