Burnley FC: Four new friends for the Clarets
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - MAY 19: A silhouette of the stadium as the sun sets during the Premier League match between Burnley and Liverpool at Turf Moor on May 19, 2021 in Burnley, England. A limited number of fans will be allowed into Premier League stadiums as Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease in the UK. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

This week it was announced that Burnely formed four new partnerships with clubs across the British isles.

Portadown FC of Northern Ireland, Ayr United of Scotland, Llandudno FC of Wales and Cobh Ramblers of Ireland. 

The four new clubs will help the Clarets gain a further stronghold in the regions whilst helping provide a pathway for young players and coaches. 

  •  Portadown FC

This is isn't the first time the two clubs have linked up. In August 2020, Portadown youngster Dane McCullough signed for Burnley with the left-back going straight into the U18s setup. Since then he has played eight times for the young Clarets as he continues to progress.

As for the club itself, it was formed in 1887 and has a well-respected youth academy within Northern Ireland. 

The club now plays in the Danske Bank Premiership, Northern Irelands highest tier of league football, after winning the NIFL Championship in the 2019/20 season. They have been crowned domestic champions four times and have won the domestic cup three times. 

In Europe, the club has played 36 games in its history, mainly in Champions League or Europa League qualification rounds. Their last European stint was in the 2012/13 season where they reached the second qualification round of the Europa League before being knocked out by Croatian club Slaven Belupo. 

  • Ayr United

Probably the most well known of the four, the Honest Men finished their season 8th in the Scottish Championship. The club was founded in 1910 after a merging of two clubs. They are the only Scottish Football League club to have been formed from a merger of two existing league clubs.

The club has won the Scottish second tier six times and the Scottish third tier three times. Their most successful cup run saw them finish as runners up in the 2001/02 season. 

A small claim to fame for the club is the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson CBE finished his playing career at Ayr, making 2 appearances and scoring nine goals. 

  • Llandudno FC

Situated right at the top of North Wales, Llandudno FC was founded in 1878 as Gloddaeth Rangers. The club was reformed in 1988 under the Llandudno name. 

The club reached the Europa League qualifying round for the first time in their history in the 2016/17 season where they were knocked out by Swedish side IFK Goteborg. 

Trophies are hard to come by for the Welsh side with their last success being the Cymru Alliance, a northern and central Welsh league part of the second tier of the pyramid, in 2014-15. The league has now been replaced by the Cymru North.

The Seasiders' home ground is the smallest of the four holding only 1,100 with 130 seated. 

  • Cobh Ramblers

The Irish side will be celebrating its 100th year in 2022 after being founded in 1922. Cobh also play in claret and blue and say these colours were actually inspired by Burnley who won the English First Division in the 1920/21 season, the year before Cobh were founded. 

During their early years, the side played in the Munster Senior League, a regional league part of Ireland's third tier. The Ramblers won this league 15 times and the regions domestic cup, the Munster Senior Cup five times with the latest victory coming in the 2015/16 season. 

They are now competing in the League of Ireland First Division, the country's top tier which they won in 2007.

  • Pace's comments

Chairman Alan Pace spoke to Clartestv about the new connections: "This is an exciting opportunity for us to grow Burnley’s footprint and profile in every corner of the British Isles and benefit from working with some fantastic clubs on our doorstep.

“We look forward to developing a strong working relationship with Ayr United, Cobh Ramblers, Portadown and Llandudno, which will no doubt benefit the clubs, the coaches and their players for many years to come.

“This is very much the first step in our plans to expand the football network of Burnley, build the relevance of our club beyond the North West of England and ensure that Burnley’s academy continues to be a high-performance hotbed for future first-team players and international footballers.”