Midfielder Jack Cork says that the club’s multi-million pound development at Gawthorpe acts as a shining beacon for Burnley’s ever-increasing ambition.
The new design, which cost the club upwards of £10m, is a far cry from the layout and procedure that greeted the 28-year-old on his first spell at Turf Moor when joining on loan from Chelsea.
The training facilities and surroundings were simply unassuming when the former England Under 21 international arrived in 2010 with Brian Laws at the helm and little had changed when he returned in the Championship the following season.
Cork recalled how he and his team-mates would lay out towels to protect their car’s interior from the dirt as they travelled between bases.
Before signing in for his first session at the state-of-the-art Barnfield Training Centre, the former Swansea City man said of the transformation: “I’ve not been there yet but I’ve seen pictures and people have told me how nice it is.
“It’s meant to be amazing and completely different from what we were used to when I was here before. It’ll be good to go there; it’ll be a bit different to how it was before.
“We used to get changed in the stadium then everybody would get in their cars, get dirty at training, put a couple of towels over their seats and drive back. That was that.”
Cork added: “We’d go and have dinner in one of the boxes and that was only eight years ago. I can’t believe how much has changed in such a short space of time.
“The club is really pushing in the right direction to change and try and be successful which is good. The amount of change is a good factor in showing how much ambition the club has got.
“It is attractive for somebody coming in to the club when they’ve got a training ground like that. It does help sway your mind.
“It’s only been about eight years and you can see the changes already and how much the club has improved. There’s no reason why they can’t keep improving and looking to strive for better.”
Cork, who signed a four-year deal when moving on from the Liberty Stadium, says that he has always maintained his affection for the club and now he’s looking to build something special on his return.
“I always look out for the results,” he said. “I look out for all the teams that I’ve played for previously. It was a big part of me being at this club and I made some good friends here.
“I still speak to a few of them now. It was a good part of my development as a player and a person.
“I’ve enjoyed the last seven or eight years. I got promoted to the Premier League with Southampton and we stayed there.
“I moved to Swansea and had another couple of successful years. Now it’s time for a new challenge at a team I’ve known from before. Hopefully we can build something special.”