Peril of relegation sharpens reality of Burnley’s survival fight

Looming loan repayments and an impending squad rebuild have heightened concerns of what relegation to the Championship would mean for Burnley

<p>Turf war: Burnley have two games to save their Premier League status </p>

Turf war: Burnley have two games to save their Premier League status

The calculations are relatively straightforward for Burnley, in one respect at least. A win away at Aston Villa tonight would be a major step towards avoiding relegation. A draw would lift Mike Jackson’s side above the dotted line and leave it all to play for on the final day. But a defeat would leave them relying on a favour to retain the top-flight status that they cannot afford to lose.

In that worst case scenario – relegation to the Championship and the end of their six-year stay in the Premier League – things become more complicated. Burnley’s first set of accounts since ALK Capital’s controversial takeover were published earlier this month and revealed what many feared could be a consequence of the £170m leveraged buyout.

As the accounts show, ALK’s takeover loaded £102m worth of debt onto a previously debt-free club and reduced healthy cash reserves of £81m down to £50m. More immediately concerning, though, was confirmation that ALK’s purchase was partly financed by a £65m loan from MSD Holdings, a private investment firm who have also lent money to Southampton, Sunderland and Derby County in recent years.

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