By Adedapo Adesanya
An American company, ALK Capital, has completed its takeover of Burnley Football Club of England, acquiring a controlling 84 per cent stake in the Premier League club.
The deal was completed after being approved by the Premier League and comes on the eve of the January transfer window, according to a statement released late on Thursday.
The Delaware-based ALK, which specialises in investments in the sport and media sectors, said its managing partner, Mr Alan Pace, would take over from Mr Mike Garlick as club’s chairman.
“Garlick, alongside former shareholder John Banaszkiewicz, will remain on ALK Capital’s new board of directors at Burnley, ensuring a smooth transition to new ownership and providing valuable knowledge from his eight-year tenure as club chairman,” the statement said.
“This successful period has seen two promotions to the Premier League, development of the Barnfield Training Centre, and European football at Turf Moor for the first time in more than half a century,” it added.
Mr Garlick, who had held just less than 50 per cent of the club’s shares, said the deal represented a “natural progression” for Burnley.
“In Alan Pace and his team, we are welcoming committed investors to Turf Moor who will be living here in the local community and investing in the club, both on and off the football pitch, for many years to come,” he said in the statement.
“My tenure as chairman has always been about ensuring Burnley is a sustainable football club, and this investment provides a long-term plan to maintain that philosophy, whilst driving evolution and innovation,” he noted.
On his part, Mr Pace noted, “Today marks a new era for Burnley as we become stewards of this historic football club and build on the impressive work that Mike Garlick, (manager) Sean Dyche and everyone at Burnley has done to make it a financially stable, established Premier League club that is a cornerstone of the local community,” Pace said.
“With a rich heritage, a brilliant academy, and a passionate fan base, this club has solid foundations to build upon.”
He noted that one of ALK’s first priorities is likely to be a meeting with the Manager, who can expect fresh support in the January transfer window.
“We are very prepared to come in and support Sean and the management team.
“We need time to get in and understand what their needs are, what they have been planning for, what the decisions were which they have taken so far and where they are desiring to go to – but we are fully prepared to back the manager.
“What attracted us specifically to Burnley had a lot to do with the passion of the fans, the quality of the club and the way that it had been managed, the longevity of the coaching staff and the ability for us to see a path to growth.
“For us, we would not do anything that is not on a long-term basis – this is not a short ‘buy-to-flip’ opportunity,” he said.
Burnley are 16th in the Premier League table, five points above the relegation zone. Mr Dyche has been manager since 2012 and he has seen the Clarets enjoy their fifth straight season in the Premier League after promotion from the Championship in 2016.
Its takeover comes at a time when football clubs are struggling with reduced revenues as matches are played without fans due to COVID-19 restrictions. The club earlier this year reported a profit of £5m for the year to the end of June 2019.
In August, ALK invested in two London-based football technology firms – AiScout and Player LENS. Both companies are involved in data analytics and predictive assessment of players.
The Lancashire club is the latest to come under American ownership following Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Fulham.
Burnley were one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888 and won the English league title in 1921 and 1960.
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