Barry Kilby is a majority shareholder of Burnley FC and has revitalised the club. Jeremy Wilson endeavours to find out who is the man behind all the success
Distinguishing Features Tall, with a crop of red hair, Barry stands out in a crowd. In the early days of his reign he could be easily spotted from afar ensconced in a full-length 100 per cent llama hair coat. However, following merciless piss-taking of said garment on a supporters’ group website (Barry is known to check out a variety of sites on a regular basis) it failed to make another appearance on the Turf.
Habitat Barry’s Blackburn-based gaming machine company, which took off on the back of the National Lottery, enabled him to buy a controlling interest in the club from a floundering administration who appeared to be presiding over an ignominious return to Third Division football.
What use is he? The Kilby administration has been a breath of fresh air following a long line of chairmen and directors who paid scant regard to the loyal supporters who kept the club afloat during some very bleak times. He has instituted regular meetings with supporters’ groups, introduced £35 juvenile season tickets, renamed a stand after our greatest player (Jimmy McIlroy), and a stretch of road after our greatest manager (Harry Potts). By contrast, the previous regime decided that one of our new stands should bear the name of a local plumber, appropriate but uninspiring.
Who remembers his birthday? After consecutive 5-0 and 6-0 home defeats not long into Kilby’s reign, Stan Ternent offered his resignation. With a large number of fans baying for blood, Kilby decided to stick with a manager appointed before his arrival. Ternent returned the favour by guiding the team to safety on the back of an 11-game unbeaten run and followed this with promotion the following season. The fans recognise Kilby’s contribution to continuity and stability that has been missing for years.
Quote unquote “Being chairman of this club is something I badly wanted and that’s the culture I come from. It’s not a question of money. I couldn’t think ofanything better to spend it on.” “A fan of this club once told me ‘This town is too small to have big ambitions, but its history is too big for it to have anything else.’ That says it all for me.”
Other offences to be taken into consideration The Clarets are beginning to punch their weight at First Division level, we have recently bought our first £1 million player and, of course, usurped our good friends at the other end of the M65 when Ian Wright arrived at the Turf in a blaze of publicity last year. Kilby has brought some much needed credibility to the club, especially since he got rid of the coat.
From WSC 170 April 2001. What was happening this month