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Portadown announce partnership with Premier League side Burnley to aid club's progress


Portadown's George Tipton recently went on trial with Burnley

Portadown's George Tipton recently went on trial with Burnley

©INPHO/Presseye/Stephen Hamilto

Portadown's George Tipton recently went on trial with Burnley

Portadown have announced they have established a new partnership with Premier League club Burnley.

The partnership will see both clubs mutually benefit from a playing, coaching and organisational perspective as part of a new programme established by the English club's new American owners.

That has seen them set up this partnership with the Ports, along with Cobh Ramblers south of the border, Scotland's Ayr United and Welsh side Llandudno.

As part of the link-up, Portadown's coaches will benefit from reciprocal coach exchanges, coach education and there will also be opportunities for their coaches to visit and observe Burnley coaches doing first team sessions.

On the pitch there will also be benefits, with some of the Clarets' young players going on loan to Shamrock Park while, in return, some of the Ports' burgeoning talents will be given a pathway to the top flight at Turf Moor.

That has already taken place, with Dane McCullough making the switch from Portadown to Burnley 18 months ago, while more recently Bobby Edwards, Lee Bonis and George Tipton have gone on trial with the Premier League side.

The two clubs will even work on commercial and sponsorship opportunities off the pitch as well, with Burnley inviting Portadown officials to visit and observe how they run their commercial and media operations, with the clubs set to collaborate on community schemes too.

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Portadown chairman David Jameson and vice-chairman Paul Jackson commented in a joint statement: "Portadown FC are delighted to be able to partner up with Burnley FC. We are all well aware of how great a club Burnley are, steeped in history and tradition and currently playing in the English Premier League, so when approached to create a formal link between the clubs this was an easy decision.

"With formal links set up on the football end of the club, including coaching and player development, this link will also see both clubs co-operating in the off-field side of football with regards to commercial operation, media and general working operations, which makes us very excited for the potential of the relationship.

"It is well known the huge steps that Burnley have undertaken with regards to their Academy structure, and with the recent announcement of our own Portadown FC Youth restructuring, we are looking forward to working hard on making sure our club keep striving to be the best it can be and this step is another way of achieving."

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton added: "The partnership has been in the pipeline for a long time, I know Matt Williams who is the chief operating officer of Burnley for over 20 years from my time at Oldham.

"For us it was a no brainer when we were asked to come on board with Burnley. The benefits will be massive, not only through the football side of things but the off field package that they’re offering in terms of shared resources, sport science and our youth coaches getting the opportunity to learn from Burnley youth coaches.

"Things like that are massive for us and, with myself going full time over the past few weeks, it will only help us progress. I want to drive the club forward to the best it can be and back to where the club was previously.

"We had a tough three years in the Championship but we’re out of it now and we can see progress on the pitch, albeit small steps this year, but over the next five years we really want to be pushing and moving the club into the top echelons of the Irish League again.

"Dane McCullough joined Burnley last summer and did well, and Lee (Bonis) and George (Tipton) were over training with Burnley's Under-23’s last week, so Burnley understand and see we've many more young players coming through and playing first team football at the ages of 15 and 16, and I think that’s the attraction to Burnley.

"We have to be clever in our thinking in terms of recruitment as we see the Irish League market condensed as it is with 12 Premiership clubs and the same players moving around three or four clubs, so we’re looking outside of that.

"That doesn’t mean Burnley are going to stockpile us with players on loan, although we would like to get one or two, but it’s also a fact other players come on Burnley’s radar who might not be ready for Burnley and need to come out to play ‘real football’, which we would class as first team football, and if we can get sent one or two nuggets from that it’ll be brilliant.

"We have to build relationships to get us back to the top and it won’t just happen tomorrow, this is a long term relationship which will work for both clubs and, with a bit of luck, we will get a lot of success from it."

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