Alan Pace becomes chairman of Burnley Football Club
Photo by Barrington Coombs - Pool/Getty Images

The long running saga has finally reached it’s end.

Burnley FC have a new majority shareholder and a new chairman in charge in the form of ALK Capital LTD’s sport investment arm, Velocity Sports Partners (VSP), and Alan Pace.

After Mohamed El Kashashy and Chris Farnell ended their interest in the East Lancashire club, it was only a matter of time before Mr Pace took charge.

And just in time for January too.

  • What has the owner had to say?

Sean Dyche said he was left in the dark about the looming takeover in recent weeks, with some fearing this means he would be replaced by someone favoured by any incoming owner.

However, to Dyche and Clarets fans delights, Mr Pace said: “We have been very big fans of Sean Dyche for some time.

“The longevity and stability of the management side is something that has been very impactful from our perspective, along with the playing style and the ability to perform at the level they have,” Mr Pace told the club’s YouTube channel.

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And, after a dismal start to the season caused by a severe lack of investment in the summer by outgoing owner Mike Garlick, the new man in charge has plans to back his new manager at the earliest opportunity.

We need time to get in and understand what their needs are, what we’re planning for and what the decisions were that they’ve taken so far and where they desire to go,” he said.

We are fully prepared to back the manager.”

Burnley fans shouldn’t be too worried about an absent owner, with Mr Pace explaining he is planning to move to the area as soon as possible.

Myself, my family and some of my partners will be moving to the local area and we’re very excited to be engaged more regularly than some would expect.”

  • The passion of the fans” appealed to ALK the most

Mr Pace had been involved in an attempt to buy Sheffield United, but ultimately failed in his bid before having his attention turned to Burnley.

We’ve spent a lot of time looking at football clubs and what attracted us specifically to Burnley was the passion of the fans, the quality of the club, the way it had been managed,” he said.

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He also explained he and his partners are at the club for the long haul, saying that they wouldn’t do anything that is not a long term project.

This is very much something we have a passion for ourselves and we are looking forward to the opportunity to be involved for years to come.

  • Pace can’t wait to see fans back inside Turf Moor

It has been nearly ten months since fans took their seats at Turf Moor, and everyone is craving to return.

Mr Pace said that the positive news of a vaccine would eventually see fans back on the terraces.

This pandemic has been a concern for everyone, myself included,” he said.

Hopefully [the vaccine] will bring the thousands of supporters back into stadiums. We are very hopeful that change is coming and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Who is Alan Pace and ALK Capital?

Mr Pace is a renowned financial specialist and sports technology innovator and is managing director of the New York based sport and media investment group.

He has also held the position of head of sales and client solutions for the Prime Finance, Futures and Securities Services division at multinational investment bank, Citi.

Mr Pace has been involved in a football club in the past, taking Real Salt Lake in the MLS from regularly bottom of their conference to winning the MLS Cup in 2009.

Just recently, ALK Capital had invested in London-based football technology businesses AiScout and Player LENS, with the new 84% stake in The Clarets building on their foray into the European Sports Market.

Mike Garlick takes new role as director

Outgoing chairman Mike Garlick and former shareholder John Banaszkiewicz will stay at the club to ensure a smooth transition to the new owners.

They have taken seats on the club’s board of directors so they can provide their knowledge and insight in the early parts of the new chairman’s tenure.

In the eight years Garlick was at the helm at Turf Moor, Burnley have seen two promotions – and one relegation – to the Premier League, European football at Turf Moor for the first time in more than half a century and the development of the Barnfield Training Centre.

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The new training centre is what was cited as the reason for lack of investment of the summer, but Garlick has achieved his goal of making Burnley FC a sustainable club.

“This investment represents a natural progression for Burnley Football Club,” he told the club website.

“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.

“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.”

  • So, what’s next?

The January Transfer Window starts on 1st January, so Mr Pace plans to sit down with Sean Dyche to see how the manager wants to strengthen his squad.

It is expected that Dyche wants to add depth to his squad, but a right midfielder is a position he needs to improve.

With Dwight McNeil and Johann Berg Gudmundsson currently on the injury table meaning Erik Pieters has had to play on the wing as of late.

Mr Pace’s arrival and the investment from VSP brings a new exciting time at Turf Moor, it’s only a matter of time before the changes start to take effect.

Good luck to the new owners!