Former chairman Kilby’s pride as Clarets return to Europe

FAREWELL: Burnley Football Club chairman Barry Kilby.'Photo Ben Parsons
FAREWELL: Burnley Football Club chairman Barry Kilby.'Photo Ben Parsons
Share this article

Burnley vice-chairman Barry Kilby has drawn on the club’s troubled past to further underline the scale of their achievements last season.

Kilby, who became the largest single shareholder at Turf Moor in 1999, reflected on the Orient game as the Clarets fought back from the brink of extinction 31 years ago.

The former chairman, who stepped down from his position in May 2012, also had to steer Burnley through troubled waters early in his tenure, with the collapse of ITV Digital savaging the club’s finances.

But, by sticking to core values and traditions, the board of directors have been able to rebuild, and the chance to play in the Europa League is now the icing on the cake.

The Clarets will take on Aberdeen in an all British encounter and the first tie, at Pittodrie on July 26th, will mark the club’s first game at that level in 51 years.

“First things first, we’ve been called on it sometimes, but we never bet the ranch,” he said. “There are clubs now who are suffering from that.

“We’ve built it slowly, we’ve never been frightened of going down. We’ve had a great manager obviously in the past five years and we’ve managed to stay strong and come back.

“All the time running the club well and properly has been key, knowing our strengths but knowing some of the weaknesses we have as well for attracting people.

“I’m really proud how we’ve done it and how we’ve come through.”

Kilby added: “It’s quite nice that we’re back now after all that time and all the history we’ve had, from the bottom and the Orient game, to get where we are now is fantastic.

“Particularly the way it’s gone, the top clubs have got richer and richer. “When I took over as chairman we were in the third tier.

“Quite a lot of people, who are past their 30s, were there during that dreadful season when we played Orient and we’d had gates of 1,800.

“If we’d have gone out of the Football League there wasn’t the same structure in place to get back in as there is now. Burnley would have gone out of business. Let’s go and enjoy it.

“The way we’ve recovered and built up is fantastic, it’s going to be quite something for us.”