Saturday, 19 January 2013

Hoos Zoomin' Who?

Burnley Football Club

Following a recent statement from the Club regarding possible redundancies, I wonders if there is more to it than meets the eye?

A couple of days ago there was a small one column report in the Lancashire Telegraph entitled “Football club wields jobs axe”. It was referring to Burnley Football Club. There was nothing regarding this posted on the official website as far as I could see.

The report said that “Jobs are set to go at Turf Moor after Burnley FC announced it is to ‘streamline’ its ticketing and retail department.”

It then went on to say “Full-time and part-time staff are being consulted as the Clarets look to make redundancies…”

A spokesman for the Club was reported as saying: “Burnley Football Club can confirm that it has entered a consultation process with all staff from the ticket office and retail departments. This is pursuant to a proposal to streamline operations by integrating both departments in to a single department. The service provided to supporters remains unaffected by these proposed changes and there are no plans to halt the sales of tickets at either Turf Moor of the Clarets Store in Charter Walk.”

This all comes shortly on the heels of the announcement regarding the restructuring and buying back of Turf Moor and Gawthorpe. This to me is a paper exercise so that the company that will own the club will once again have the assets of the ground and training facilities. It will also probably mean that staff will be transferred to the new company and as such it will probably be possible for this new company to “restructure” and dispose of people and departments as they wish.

The fact that the club is borrowing the money to “buy back” these tangible assets leads to the question, who is lending them the money? So someone somewhere is going to be getting seven years of interest on that deal.

This so-called restructuring is worrying to me. In a small town like Burnley the Club is at its absolute centre. What it does directly affects the daily lives of thousands of people. Such people who work all week to be able to afford to buy an already sky-high priced ticket.

Has anyone else noticed that this year the turnstile operators are stewards and not the young Saturday job kids that they have been for donkeys years? These stewards don’t generally come from Burnley. So local jobs have been lost.

I believe that the same thing will happen to the retail side of the Club. At the moment everything is done and managed in house. The report suggests to me that this won’t be the case. Other clubs already have their entire retail operation run by whoever the official kit supplier is such as Nike for example. If this was to happen at the Turf then again the local jobs may be lost as they bring in their own people from outside the town.

The Club already uses a call centre in Yorkshire when they are making telesales calls to sell products such as the Claret & Blue Bond. Why are these jobs not in Burnley? Will all the ticket sales jobs be there too?

I fear that we will start outsourcing more and more services at the expense of local jobs.

The club will then have less to manage and more assets. This will then be a more favourable business for an investor who wants to own but not run a football club! This is where I think all this is heading and I fear it is all the work of chief executive Lee Hoos.

I was never a massive fan of Paul Fletcher. However, his blood was probably Claret and Blue. I cannot help but think that someone who comes from a country that doesn’t even call football by its proper name can have any empathy for our great club. In my opinion, he just sees it as a business.

I think that he and his cronies are merely lining us up to be sold to some foreign business that will have even less understanding of our local community. I know we need investment, but at what cost?

And what will be next? The media department that is probably one of the best in the country that pumps out superb content on a daily basis. The same department that keeps winning the Football League programme of the year award. It’s no coincidence that all these guys are Clarets.

Cost saving is good, but not at the expense of the local people who love the Club. Bringing faceless outsiders in to run things will lead to more and more disgruntled fans. The one thing the club needs in these austerity years are its fans.

The current staff are fans, they need to continue to be.

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