University links Turf Moor with Wembley
By Tony Scholes
Updated Monday, 4th March 2013
Almost four years ago thousands of Burnley supporters were celebrating promotion to the Premier League after our 1-0 play off final win against Sheffield United in what was our first, and so far only, visit to the new Wembley.
Last week the name of Burnley Football Club was very much in evidence at the national stadium with the news that the UCFB College of Football Business was to open a second campus following the success at Turf Moor since it opened its doors to students for the first time in September 2011.
It's been something of a story over that time. The idea of a university was first revealed by the club in February 2010 as part of the latest redevelopment plans. Paul Fletcher, then the chief executive of the club, had included the university with the plans that also included his Stadiarena.
Both were mocked as pie in the sky ideas but Fletcher, along with a couple of Burnley directors, continued with the university plan which, in a blaze of publicity, was teaching its first students in the 2011/12 academic year.
It took over the former Sparrow Hawk Hotel as student accommodation and more recently added the Keirby to its portfolio as it went into a second year.
More recently they joined the likes of West Ham in bidding for the Olympic Stadium as they looked for a London base, but have landed, instead, the best possible venue for such a university with the link up at Wembley.
THE home of English football will be the new location and second campus for UCFB, with the first intake of students scheduled for September 2014 and with an increase in degree programmes available.
UCFB Wembley, as it will be known, will have circa 1,500-strong student body within five years of opening and will offer a range of degrees relating to football and sports administration and business. The degrees will be validated as always, by UCFB’s academic partner, Buckinghamshire New University.
This does not mean any scaling down at the UCFB Burnley campus, which is a separate entity to the football club, which will continue with a student population of around 350 at Turf Moor and will also expand its degree provision.
It's certainly been a success story in its first two years. Burnley Football Club are benefiting from it with the university set up in the Jimmy McIlroy Stand. Around 25% of the students are Burnley supporters with many others supporting the club on match days as well as providing the club with support as they gain work experience.
All of that can only be good news for our club.