Burnley boss struggles to keep cool as they near Premier League return

Burnley chairman Alan Pace revealed the mood at his Championship-leading club is jubilant, but he nonetheless takes the cautiously optimistic stance favored by manager Vincent Kompany.

The Clarets need just nine points from their last nine games to automatically rejoin the Premier League after Wednesday night’s 3-1 win over Hull.

While Kompany’s side are now 13 points clear of second-placed Sheffield United and 19 points more than third-placed Middlesbrough, Pace insisted the champagne remains corked for now.

“The mood is fantastic,” he told the PA news agency. “We’re trying to be very, very calm. Vince would kill me if we said anything other than we have a lot of games to finish. We are on the journey, we continue it.

“I’d say look we’re not done until we’re done and as he says we’re still only the 21st best team in the country.”

If, or more likely if, Burnley gets the job done, Pace, managing partner of US-based consortium ALK Capital, confirmed the club has a plan in place to ensure they can compete in the top flight.

Velocity Sports Partners, the sports investment arm of ALK, acquired Burnley’s majority shareholders in December 2020, acquiring a controlling 84 per cent stake in the club.

Pace said: “I’d like to say I have £1billion to work like Chelsea. So we have to be thoughtful, but just like this year, we will continue to be thoughtful.”

The former Real Salt Lake CEO admits he was at times challenged as an American manager in English football, an “outsider” struggling with attitudes like “this is English football”. That’s how it’s done, you have to accept it, you just have to learn it.”

It’s an order he and Kompany, who Pace believes breathed new life into Turf Moor, largely refuse.

Of Kompany, Pace said, “He has tremendous humility, with an incredible work ethic and an amazing vision and conception of what he thinks is the right way to do things and actually act on them, and then the ability to actually communicate that.” and bringing people together around that one vision. He is second to none.”

Kompany’s sphere of influence extends far beyond his own squad. In 2021, Burnley outlined the long-term goal of fully professionalizing the women’s first team, which currently sits second in one of two tier-three divisions.

The former Belgium international has shown great interest and opened up training sessions for the entire women’s coaching staff to watch and learn from.

“The atmosphere in the club has changed dramatically,” said Pace. “We’ve always said that we’re a club for everyone, but now you can see that people behave like that. He’s been a real advocate for his knowledge being spread more widely throughout the club and he’s made it a very, very welcoming environment.”

“I absolutely believe that anyone [women’s or other] Players who need help, advice or hints can always get them from him. I have seen nothing but a willingness and a complete openness to help at all levels for any type of person. He is a very special person.”

Pace is among a growing presence of American owners in the top divisions of English football, a list expanded in recent years with the addition of Chelsea’s Todd Boehly and Bournemouth’s Bill Foley in December.

When asked why American investors are increasingly interested in English football, he speculated: “It’s part of the game that clubs are undervalued. You’re missing out if you don’t realize that this is the greatest sport on earth, bar none.

“Most Americans like to think, this is the NFL, this is the culmination of everything, and the reality is that ten times as many people are watching a Premier League game on any given day. You see that and you think, “I want to be involved with the biggest ones. The best. And that’s a very American thing.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league-american-english-sheffield-united-middlesbrough-b2302383.html Burnley boss struggles to keep cool as they near Premier League return


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