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Features: Looking at the Board.

By Turftalker
March 20 2004

The AGM has been and gone. Vice Chairman Ray Ingleby expressed his disappointment over fan criticism levelled at the board, while club finances seem to be moving towards more and more debt.

Column One:December 24th, 2003.

The AGM has been and gone. Vice Chairman Ray Ingleby expressed his disappointment over fan criticism levelled at the board, while club finances seem to be moving towards more and more debt.

With this situation there has been a natural desire among many Clarets to find out just what their club's Board of Directors do, a desire to get more answers.

Make no mistake, I am fully supportive of the current board, in particular the Chairman. We are not in the awful situation that came with the dying days of the Teasdale regime, but equally I will always support those who believe that the Directors are not above constructive criticism, those who believe they have a lot of responsibilities to live up to.

Few fans would expect our directors to be benefactors - that is both unrealistic and a fantasy better found in dreams. But we must acknowledge that when the Directors accepted a place on the Board - something none of them had to do - they took on added responsibilities.

Of course there are question marks over what they are:

A constant source of cash? Creators of inventive ideas? Targets for fan anger? - all are part of the Director's job description. No one pretends it is an easy job, but it is a role crucial to any football club.

Yes, our Board of Directors have invested cash with the shares they have bought. It is their responsibility to communicate with the fans, manage club finances and if necessary take tough decisions. At the moment there are failings in these tasks.

Recently Chief Executive Dave Edmundson suggested that Burnley FC are a club that does not carry much debt compared to others. While this is true, bleak financial figures suggest this may not carry on. Furthermore comments, like that of the Vice Chairman at the AGM, seem to ignore the fact that it is perfectly natural for fans to show their disappointment and anger from time to time. It is human nature to be occasionally fickle and have short memories.

The Directors must be more understanding.

The average fan cannot afford the extortionate 200 per share to get an active voice at AGM's. We place our trust in Directors. There is therefore a need for the Board to be a little bit more sympathetic with fans. If they did this, I am sure it would result in fans being more sympathetic with the club.

Of course there is no guarantee that the fate of Barry Kilby could not follow that of Frank Teasdale in the future. But this is highly unlikely and equally undesirable.

If the board communicate better, and understand a little more, they will help challenge the presumption many football fans have. That every Director has a natural shelf life: a period of time when he or she goes from hero to villain.

Equally Burnley fans everywhere could approach 2004 with a little more optimism.

Merry Christmas,

Turftalker.

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