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Burnley take huge gamble over Laws

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Paul Fletcher | 16:08 UK time, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Brian Laws was sacked at Sheffield Wednesday on 13 December because his team were in the bottom three of the Championship and playing like a team for whom victory was an extinct concept.

Fast forward to 13 January and, after a festive season relaxing with his family, Laws is back in management as the new boss of Burnley.

What's more, Laws is now the boss of a Premier League club, a level at which he has never managed before. The 48-year-old could be forgiven for thinking that he has hit the jackpot.

In one sense it looks like an appointment that has rewarded failure and even in such an unpredictable and volatile industry it is one that leaves me scratching my head.

Take a look at the clubs in the Championship and there are plenty of managers for whom a stronger case could be constructed - Billy Davies, Nigel Pearson, Paulo Sousa, Gary Johnson, Mark Robins - though how many of them would leave for Burnley remains open to question.

There is no doubt that Burnley had an opportunity to make a statement of intent with the appointment of their new boss.

The Clarets might only be two points above the relegation zone but they are 14th in the table and there are unquestionably other teams in a worse predicament.

More than half of the season has been completed and the Lancashire club must be considered a realistic proposition for survival.

But by appointing Laws, Burnley chairman Barry Kilby and his team have appointed a proven Championship manager to try to secure their Premier League safety.

Is this the behavour of a club going all-out to survive in the top flight?

Laws and Doncaster boss Sean O'Driscoll were the two main contenders that emerged over the previous 48 hours.

O'Driscoll was at one stage thought to be the favourite but it has been reported that a compensation deal could not be agreed with Doncaster, who wanted a rumoured £1m.

If this is true then it hints at a club limited in its scope and ambition; that has failed to grasp the bigger picture of the rich rewards of Premier League survival.

However Kilby is adamant that compensation was not the issue and that Laws was appointed purely because he was the stand-out candidate.

Certainly, unless Burnley have heavily overspent in other areas, they could hardly argue that they do not have the funds to land O'Driscoll given that they have just received compensation from Bolton for previous manager Owen Coyle.

O'Driscoll, a determined if quietly-spoken and unassuming individual, does not have any Premier League experience but I think he would have been a more intriguing successor to Coyle.

At Doncaster and previous side Bournemouth he was noted for his hard work and strong footballing principles - building attractive, attacking teams despite financial limitations.

In this sense he stands comparison with Coyle, who joined Burnley from Scottish side St Johnstone in November 2007 and kickstarted the Clarets fairytale with a bold brand of football that always respected the opposition but refused to comprise its desire to score goals.

Of course, following Coyle is an almost impossible task. The Scot left Turf Moor for Bolton and explained that he did so in part because he felt Burnley lacked the infrastructure and the transfer funds to move to another level.

In other words, he had taken them as far as he thought he could. They might have survived this season but sooner or later the implacable laws of the financial reality that effectively shapes the Premier League would have seen Burnley relegated.

I'm not sure that Burnley's supporters have yet come to terms with his departure and the timing of it, at such a delicate stage of the season, is a body blow.

The high point of Burnley's Premier League adventure may well be the victory over Manchester United at Turf Moor earlier in the season.

Laws will certainly get an early grasp of the size of the task facing him when he takes his side to Old Trafford for the return fixture this weekend.

An FA Cup tie against Liverpool is likely to follow, then a meeting with Coyle's Bolton and a match against Chelsea.

At the end of that series of games the complexion of Burnley's survival prospects may have turned ashen.

I'm sure that Laws, who looked deflated and out of ideas after his last game in charge of Wednesday, will remain chipper and upbeat in his new role.

brianlaws595335getty.jpg Laws started his playing career at Turf Moor

He always comes across as a very decent and enthusiastic man, who remains highly regarded in Scunthorpe after a lengthy spell in charge of the Iron that brought two promotions.

He was popular with many Wednesday fans, though others questioned some of his signings, the likes of Darren Purse and Francis Jeffers, while it seems to me that giving the job to Laws lacks the sense of daring and invention that brought Coyle to the club.

His appointment comes at the end of a series of managerial changes, with Alan Irvine sacked at Preston only to be replaced by Darren Ferguson, who started the season in charge of Peterborough.

Irvine now has Laws' old job at Wednesday, while Paul Mariner has been promoted from within at Plymouth after Paul Sturrock was relieved of his duties. Sturrock was quickly linked with a return to Hillsborough before Irvine's appointment.

I didn't see too much suggestion of an immediate return to management for Laws but in taking over at Burnley he has been given an opportunity to show he can manage successfully in the Premier League.

Laws started his playing career as a young professional at Turf Moor and Premier League survival would be a great achievement for him - but he has his work cut out to ensure his dream move does not turn into a nightmare.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Can't see this working out, look what he did at Sheffield Wednesday. Burnely will probably go down now with Portsmouth and Hull.

  • Comment number 2.

    Its such a shock decision I feel guilty they didn't take Grayson off us! Its not like Laws leaving Wednesday was a shock, he was clearly not working out in Sheffield for the lasy year of his tenure. Up to today I couldn't put a ciggie paper between deciding which of 4 clubs will be joining Portsmouth and Hull City in the CCC next season, now that has become much clearer, its the one with the dodgy defense, the rubbish away record and a manager out of his depth.

  • Comment number 3.

    Seems like an odd appointment to me. I think Laws was one of the few managers who ahs deserved to be sacked this season. He did seem out of ideas as Mr Fletcher states which, when you are stuggling to pick up points in the prem, is something you cannot afford to be.

    Other managers such as Davies and Pearson will end up getting their teams to the prem and are doing a good job with "bigger" clubs so they would have never left for Burnley.

  • Comment number 4.

    Shame Darren Ferguson didn't hold out a bit longer as it would have been good to see him in charge with the first game coming against Man U at OT I believe. Looks as though they will go down as Eagles can't keep them up on his own!

  • Comment number 5.

    Burnley fans will feel the same as Bolton fans did when megson was appointed. They know it's the wrong appointment but the chairman wasn't prepared to spend any money on compensation for other managers. I really hope I'm wrong because the premier league is a far better place for having the likes of Bolton and Burnley in it who know what it's like in the bottom leagues and fully appreciate premiership football unlike many spoilt fans of trendy "big" clubs.

  • Comment number 6.

    As a Wednesday fan i think Brian Laws did a great job at sheffield wednesday, working each day with sod all. so i wish him luck in his new for you comments why dont you sit back and WAIT and few game and ask the Question about been a Gamble to his new club.
    hate reading dribble on this site some days paul, and you write most of it.I think Burnley are a good club with great fans, and think they will get behind Brian, and do well.

  • Comment number 7.

    I am curious to know if we at least approached bigger hitters (Coppell? Curbishley? Hughes?) and if so did they turn us down?
    If we didn't approach them - why not?
    Wasn't my choice but now appointed we need to get behind him 100%.
    Keep us up Brian!
    Great move to appoint Graham Alexander as a player / coach.
    My faith is with the Burnley Board.

  • Comment number 8.

    I am sheffield Wednesday fan and i think with the resources and finances available to Laws he did ok. When he had a fully fit squad towards then end of his 1 year before he was forced to sell his best players (brunt,whelan) he did well. I think he may surprise a few people up there.

  • Comment number 9.

    "If this is true then it hints at a club limited in its scope and ambition; that has failed to grasp the bigger picture of the rich rewards of Premier League survival."

    But you have no idea what their situation is financially. If they had gone for SO'D and subsequently run into finanical trouble, no doubt we'd see an article from you lambasting the club for 'failing to grasp the bigger picture of being financially sound.'

  • Comment number 10.

    Laws did ok everywhere he's managed, played good football at Scunthorpe and punched above their weight, which is what he's going to have to do with Burnley. He's played under one of the greatest mangers ever who preached discipline and passing the great BC so let's hope a club who's showed faith in a youngish English manager does well.....

  • Comment number 11.

    It is a step up for Brian Laws. But if we are honest he will just be trying to get the best out of good championship players. Its not like he has to find a way to up Berbatovs work rate, or get Anelka or Drogba to play well together.

    As a Scunthorpe fan, Brian took us all the way to the championship and left us (for SW) in the top half of the table a third of the way into the season. He did this despite having the smallest professsional squad in the division, having also lost star striker Billy Sharp in the summer due to financial constraints, and no doubt the smallest payroll.

    I think its always a bit shortsited to write an obitiory based on the last 3 months, if you look at all the managers mentioned, I'm sure they have all endured such periods.

    What I find strange is the overwhelming good press for Owen Coyle. He's done alrights but he's not done brilliantly. I wonder sometimes how managers build such reputations. Scunthorpe current mananger Nigel Adkins again having taken them back to the Championship on limited finances is someone I would see as an up and coming manger, but then he never gets the press, probably because he isnt the typical old pro, but then that's why I think he's good.

  • Comment number 12.

    Thanks for the comments.

    I have interviewed Brian Laws a few times and always found him to be a very approachable and decent man. I wish him the very best of luck - I think he will need it.

    What I find strange is that a manager sacked at the wrong end of the Championship turns up at a Premier League club a month later having never managed at that level before.

    It is interesting to hear a few Owls fans suggesting that he wasn't all that bad but I'm not so sure the vast majority shared that opinion a month ago.

    STownWolf - I like to think I wouldn't do that. Coyle leaving unquestionably left the club with a real problem and time will tell if they have got it right in appointing Laws. However, I honestly don't think the cost of bringing Sean O'Driscoll to the club would have resulted in financial problems.

  • Comment number 13.

    I know that sometimes the media are quite unreliable but you only have to look at the names they said were in for the job. Clark at Huddersfield. Grayson at Leeds. O'Driscoll at Doncaster. Laws formerly of Sheffield Wednesday, Scunthorpe and Grimsby. They've all got something in common. They have never managed in the Premier League. Surely, if you are to stay in the Premier League, you hire someone who has been there, done it and got the t-shirt? An alternative to that would be one hell of a risk.

    The fact that it was Clark, Grayson, O'Driscoll and Laws in the running for the job shows that either the board lack ambition or that the Burnley job is not attractive to managers out there. To consolidate a place in the Premier League and to send out a message that you're here to stay amongst the big boys, you go for managers like Coppell, Curbishley and, although they're big asks, Hughes and even Walter Smith (remember, he is working at Rangers without a contract). But the press has not mentioned one of those names to the job. And as for the managers that Paul has listed in his blog, they wouldn't join Burnley considering that they are either doing really well at their respective clubs or have only been in their job for a matter of months so would not jump ship too quickly.

    Burnley were never going to get a big name manager, they just can't afford that, and i'm sure the players and fans realise this. But there were better alternatives out there for them. It's a massive risk taken by the board and i hope it pays off for them and the fans because they are a nice club. But i seriously doubt that it will.

  • Comment number 14.

    Paul, I normally like your blogs but this one is full of rheotric and hypotheses.
    Firstly, "unless Burnley have heavily overspent in other areas, they could hardly argue that they do not have the funds to land O'Driscoll given that they have just received compensation from Bolton for previous manager Owen Coyle"
    It has not been published how much compensation Burnley received from Bolton. If Alan Nixon's (Mirror) comments are to be believed it could have been next to nothing.
    The basis of Burnley's recent history has been financial survival. Promotion to the Prem came just at the right time as their Directors all had to inject emergency funds in early 2009 to keep the club going. The money from promotion has merely wiped the slate clean and made the club debt free. How many other premier league clubs can boast that sort of prudent financial management, especially during a recession.
    Spending money on a manager rather than players just doesn't make sense when cash is so tight.
    Secondly, Laws' management experience, whilst being outside the top flight is no where near as dire as you suggest. He has managed only 2 clubs in over 14 years of management. How many other managers have such a record of loyalty. Loyalty is just what's needed at Turf Moor following Owen Coyle's contradictory behaviour.
    I believe Laws' passion for Burnley has come through the interview process. Whilst Burnley fans would not pretend he was a Claret's legend (unlike the Bolton/Coyle story!!!) he has committed himself fully to the task in hand.
    Whilst many would look for an experienced Premier League manager, we are not in the position that any previous Premier League club have been in. We have virtually no transfer cash, we have a wage limit of £15k per week and we are punching way above our weight. The opportunity to do the double over Man U this weekend is no mean feat!
    A manager with top flight experience would probably not jump into this fire willingly (or cheaply).
    I believe that Barry Kilby has done the very best for Burnley Football Club over recent years and now is the time to trust his judgement again. Owen Coyle was a virtual unknown in 2007, yet Barry Kilby clearly made the right call at that time.
    Finally, when Sam Alladyce joined Bolton from Notts County it wasn't a popular choice - would they do things differently if they could turn back the clock.

  • Comment number 15.

    This is not about one man, this is about the whole club. Brian seems to be an honest and stong minded individual, just look how he fought off Coyle over Marcus Tugday. The player stayed so he obviously has integrity.

    Thisis what the club needs now, not a big name just a big heart!

    Either get behind Laws or sell your season ticket.

    Burnley fans are all starting to sound like moaning Coyles.

  • Comment number 16.


    I think part of the reason Coyle gets such good press is due to the fact he had pretty much a simliar budget and style of players that clubs like Wednesday and Scunthorpe have just now-granted both clubs have lost some players such as Brunt for S.Wed and Sharp for Scunthorpe. This, along with the fact Burnley have so far done ok under Coyle in the Prem could be the reason why he gets good press.

    However I do admit that sometimes the acheivements of other managers are often over-looked- as you sat Adkins has done a fantastic job at Scunthorpe, O'Driscoll has done a magic job at Doncaster and the Rochdale manager (sorry for the ingorance Rochdale fans and management!) has also done a fantastic job-it would be great if the Lower League Managers and Players got the sort of coverage the Premier League do.

    Ok after going off topic, I worry for Burnley as a club-I really do hope Laws proves me wrong, I'd quite happily eat humble pie if he keeps them up, but I don't think he will which is unfortunate as personally I think the club have been brilliant in the league and its great to have different teams such as Burnley do well in the prem as opposed to the usual suspects. I just don't think Laws-who as an outsider looking in I have to say did a poor job at Wednesday did a poor job-will keep Burnley up.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm sure the reason all the managers in the frame are championsip managers is because the playing squad is mainly good championship players with a couple of additions.

    A premiership manager would come with a shopping list of 3-4 premiership has-beens and a few coaches they'd worked with before, when I'm sure what the Burnely chairmen wanted was a good coach who could work with the existing resources.

    I don't think its an approach that lacks ambition but one which is in tune with the clubs plan at the beginning of the season.

    And while we are on it, what makes curbishley a big hitter? Is it his ability to almost bankrupt a club by overpaying (transfers and wages) for players with a history of injurys. And as for Mark Hughes, I am sure he would hold out for a different opportunity - I think he can cover his mortgage for a while.

  • Comment number 18.

    An odd appointment but one which reflects well on the Chairman. If Burnley stay up then great but if they go down then there is an experienced manager to try and take them back up.

    In addition, Laws was cheap to acquire (nothing) and probably on a sensible wage. I think it's a well thought out appointment and a long term one.

  • Comment number 19.

    harrogateclaret - you make a lot of good points. Kilby is a sensible chairman who cares deeply for his club and Burnley fans should be pleased to have him.

    But answer me this - when Coyle left Burnley where was Laws on your list of potential candidates to take over at the club?

  • Comment number 20.


    # 19. At 5:56pm on 13 Jan 2010, Paul Fletcher wrote:

    harrogateclaret - you make a lot of good points. Kilby is a sensible chairman who cares deeply for his club and Burnley fans should be pleased to have him.

    But answer me this - when Coyle left Burnley where was Laws on your list of potential candidates to take over at the club?

    Thats an almost irrelevant question. The average fan knows of only the biggest names, and often its the press that seem to decide the candidate list. Laws had a good name as a footballers coach, and while his results at Sheffield Wednesday were poor this season, he is well known in Championship circles as a strong manager. The question for me , is why didnt ANY sports journalists predict this? He wasnt even mentioned, and you guys are supposed to be in the know!
    I guess you only know as much as we do, after all.

  • Comment number 21.

    Great debate and I for one am unsure but willing to give him a go. The facts are that we stand by Kilby and we stand by the club and we have to respect their decision. I have been keenly listening to footballing gossip this week and was impressed when O'Driscoll was linked yesterday and reports suggested he was to be named Clarets boss. My initial reaction to Brian Laws was that i felt that the club had let us down, that we are resigned to a challenge in the Championship next year rather than a bid for survival this year.

    However, in Kilby we have loyalty and agree with financial comments made previous. We have no funds and any that are available need to be spent to bolster an ageing defence who are injured repeatedly at this level.

    4th from bottom after 38 games would be a massive feat with Blackburn and Bolton sadly below us. If only.....

    Lets get behind him, I am making the trip up for the Chelsea game and will give 100%.

  • Comment number 22.

    I genuinely think that this is one of the most bizarre managerial appointments in recent premier league history, probably the most baffling since Charlton's decision to put Les Reed at the helm in 2006. Where is the evidence that Laws will be able to keep this team in the premier league? Having said that, Burnley's home form, which was their strength earlier in the season, seemed to be fading in the last weeks of Coyle's tenure. It may have been that finally, teams have started to work them out. Perhaps Coyle's departure will turn out to be a blessing in disguise, though I think the odds are stacked against Brian Laws. Whatever happens though, good luck to him.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think Paul, I would welcome more serious reporting on the economics of individual Premiership Clubs... It would be good to see propor analysis and some figures. I think we the fans of all clubs need to be more informed on this subject before commenting on the spending decisions made by clubs such as Burnley. It's reported that Burnleys budget is bottom of the Premiership list and is reported as being only one quarter of the club second from the bottom. Most importantly unlike most premiership clubs I don't think Burnley has large debts, and unlike clubs such as Portsmouth it lives within it means. It has been said that if Burnley can survive in the Premiership without major spending (a big 'if' and a Big gamble I think on Mr Kilbys part...) they would be the ONLY club in the Premiership next year without debt. Is this true Paul? If so this would open up opportunities for them next season and would be a massive achievement for a club playing alongside elite clubs who spend a fortune but don't run as propor businesses or have crippling debts. My guess is Mr Kilby is gambling and keeping spending tight so (if and when) Yr 2 premiership funds are available there will be a decent Budget for the Manager to spend without jeopardizing the clubs finances. Burnley have proved even with so little resource and such a small squad they can still play good spirited and attractive football. They have proven they can beat any team on their day and they never give up. We should applaud Mr Kilby for keeping his nerve sticking with the squad and not spending beyond the clubs means at this critical time. I think Mr Laws appointment fits this ethos and I am sure he will do well for the club. At the end of the day it's still the same players who are out on the pitch not the manager! I wish Burnley FC, Mr Kilby and all the players all the best for the remainder of the season and I hope they stay up despite the disruption of being left in the lurch by Owen Coyle at such a critical juncture in the season - what happened to loyalty Owen?. Burnley have been a breath of fresh air this season, so please Paul lets have more on Premiership finance then look again at the appointment of Mr Laws and the decisions made by the club within a wider strategic and overall financial context before we criticize.

  • Comment number 24.

    "Surely, if you are to stay in the Premier League, you hire someone who has been there, done it and got the t-shirt? An alternative to that would be one hell of a risk."

    I can think of many, many managers who have Premier League experience who would be far more questionable appointments than Brian Laws - Ince, Adams, Megson (although I think he gets far more criticism than he deserves), and many others - but don't let precedent get in the way of cynicism, eh? A couple of months ago, everyone seemed to think Peterborough would be worse off with Mark Cooper and Middlesbrough would flourish with Strachan. Only one of those predictions was half-right.

    Give Laws a chance, for crying out loud.

  • Comment number 25.

    i'm a sheffield wednesday fan, i think laws did well at us but ran out of ideas at the end, but with-out beeing disrespetful to burnley, they are like us but in the premier league, small squad and no money, i dont think laws will do well, but hope he proves me wrong and burnley stay up as they kept united down :)

  • Comment number 26.

    To me this is a signal that Kilby expects to be in the Championship next season. Laws is a manager for that division.

    However, it is a good move. Burnley cannot compete with the Premier League teams. We simply do not have the required income levels to be anything more than an occasional team in that division. Kilby is quite right to think about the future. Even with a wage cap of 15K per player we will need the parachute payments next season!

  • Comment number 27.

    I too find it a bizarre appointment for reasons you have pointed out Paul. I'm an Owls fan. I followed Laws career at Grimsby and Scunthorpe and I like him. I thought he would do really well but I feel he has under-achieved in his 12 or so years in management so far.

    I was an even bigger fan of Paul Sturrock and saw no sense in Laws replacing him at Hillsborough. In fairness, with a decent squad assembled by Sturrock and Chris Turner, Laws achieved Wednesday's highest finish for years that season. Maybe this bodes will for Burnley in the short-term. The problem Laws had at Wednesday was his inability to sign new players to replace the likes of Brunt, Whelan and Bougherra. The squad is a shadow of the one he inherited in my opinion and it's not as if he's sold any players he bought for a fat profit along the way.

    Having said all that, I'd love to see him prove us all wrong and I really hope Brian Laws and Burnley do well. Good luck to 'em.

  • Comment number 28.

    It's always worth giving any new manager a chance & see how he gets on. You should have seen the blogs about Billy Davies from Forest fans 13 months ago. You would have thought Forest were heading for the Unibond premier using "route one" football. Now they can't sing his praises highly enough. OK - Megson was a disaster at Forest & reinforced the view that he couldn't hack it when at Bolton. But Coyles & Cloughs (Brian, that is) only come along rarely & it's better for fans to give the new manager & the team support - at least until it's clear they aren't up to it - rather than sabotaging them from the start by negativity.

  • Comment number 29.

    Paul, you suggest that Sean O'Driscoll would have been a better choice
    as the new Burnley boss but Doncaster are only 9 points off the relegation places in the Championship and a bad run of form could still see them go down. If that happens does O'Driscoll suddenly become a manager no longer worthy of a Premier League job? There is a lot of nonsense spoken about football but generally I think you're one of the few journalists who is capable of cutting through the nonsense to the real world beyond. But, here you are in danger of falling in to the common trap of stating what appears to be the obvious opinion - even though hindsight often shows that the 'obvious' turns out to be anything but.

    In this particular case I like the notion that an actual proper recruitment process has taken place and the best candidate selected. I really really hope therefore that Laws proves all the doubters wrong and leads Burnley to a mid table finish. Because (again using the principle that the most likely outcome often turns out to be false) I am not sure Owen Coyle would have kept the club in the league.

    Also, when you talk about clubs (other than the very big clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea etc..)lacking Premier League ambition, I would present Norwich, Charlton, Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth, Leicester, Derby all as examples of the negative aspect of being 'ambitious' in terms of the Premier League (and I am not necessarily just talking about money here).

  • Comment number 30.

    Just becasue someone has managed in the premier league before does not mean they are cut out for it. Likewise, if one has never managed in the premier league before it doesn't mean they are not cut out for it. A lot of people questioned the decision by everton to sign david moyes from preston (no premier league experience) yet nobody brings that up now.

    Just like some managers do well with some clubs but not with others. The most important think, ironically, is that the manager be given time to build his own team, something which is becoming less and less common. I wish Laws all the best, and i respect burnley for taking this chance. How else are managers going to get any premier league experience? They can't all get teams promoted from the championship.

  • Comment number 31.

    yes it is a bit of a surprise to say the least.but if you remember paul hart was managing in the confererence before he ended at pourtsmouth .so its not that massive a gamble. he has a chance to prove at burnley that the premiership isnt a closed shop .it will be interseting to see how well he does he is a decent chap and has earnt it

  • Comment number 32.

    As a Doncaster Rovers fan I am of course happy that O'driscoll has remained at Doncaster rather than moved to Burnley. Though I storngly believe that he would have been the ideal replacement to Owen Coyle as he shares his footballing ideals and would have continued to promote the attractive, free flowing and attacking football which has become so prominent at Burnley football club. I do not think that Brian Laws is a good appointment as his record, in recent years expecially, is not that impressive. I believe he will not last long at Burnely and was chosen as manager more for nostalgic reasons than for his managerial talent.

  • Comment number 33.

    I can understand Burnley fans defending their club and the way the Chairman has run it but that does not detract from the fact that this appointment is very questionable.

    Undoubtably Laws is a good manager but no one can deny this is an appointment that raises eyebrows. He was sacked because Sheff Weds had been on a terrible (one might say disasterous) run of form and found themselves in the relegation zone. How does failure (relative) at championship level equate into potential to succeed at premiership level?

    I hope he does well, but on paper it would suggest otherwise. Hey, Burnley are good at proving people wrong so what do I know, eh.

  • Comment number 34.

    I admired Brian Laws as a manager at the Owls and was disappointed to see him leave.He was always encouraging and positive with his squad. Laws had an exemplary touchline manner. Wednesday also had a good disciplinary record.I flew over from Sweden to see the Owls beat Burnley in the first match of the 2008-09 campaign. Excellent football and Burnley had good support regardless of the result at Hillsborough. Nice to see a British manager in the top flight so give the man a chance.I sincerly wish Brian Laws and the Clarets the best of luck.

  • Comment number 35.

    This does seem an extremely strange appointment. I wish Burnley luck, because I think they're going to need it.

  • Comment number 36.

    Brian Laws spent over 3 years at Hillsborough and I always thought he did a good job under difficult circumstances. However there was no doubt that this season his time was up. No more excuses of it not being his team etc. This was his team but he made some poor signings (Jeffers, Purse) Purse in partucular has been an awful signinig. He was brought in to lead the back 4 but at times the defence has been completely inept. Schoolboy mistakes, stuff you learn as an 8 year old. Not picking runners up, letting the ball bounce in the box, failing to clear their lines. He had also lost the dressing room about that there was no doubt.
    Its not as though we didnt give him time either, season before last we lost the first 6 games on the bounce but stuck by him.
    That said, I wish him lots of luck because boy is he going to need it.
    I dont think he is upto it and can only see Burnley going down. I just hope we are still in the Championship next season to play them!

  • Comment number 37.

    "If this is true then it hints at a club limited in its scope and ambition; that has failed to grasp the bigger picture of the rich rewards of Premier League survival."
    I am a little baffled myself by these so called rich rewards of Premier League survival.
    Just what are they?
    If what we are hearing in the press lately is true then these rewards seem to be huge debts several clubs have incurred whilst trying to either, maintain Premier League status, or chasing a spot in the Champions League!
    Whether Burnley appointed O'Driscoll or Brian Laws, the guarantees remain the same. Spending another million pounds in securing the services of another Championship manager is not good business sense for Burnley, when that money could be used for player transfers.

  • Comment number 38.

    "limited in its scope and ambition... failed to grasp the bigger picture of the rich rewards of Premier League survival."

    Change a few words and you've got the kind of thing Noel Edmonds says on Deal or No Deal to incite players into risks they can't afford to take.

    Burnley have picked a manager available cheaply, who knows the club, and who has a record of managing on a tight budget. Given the number of clubs who have fallen into near-collapse through overspending in failed survival bids (post 29, and that's not even a complete list), and the state of Premier League finances now if David Sullivan's recent remarks are remotely grounded in reality, going for a low-cost budget-focused option is the only choice. Good call, Burnley!

  • Comment number 39.

    Laws had to leave Wednesday, no doubt about it, things had just gone stale and he'd run out of ideas. However, the two and a half seasons he'd had before that went relatively well. He's got experience at fighting relegation, he's able generally to get an average team to punch above their weight, and he's got an affinity with Burnley - whilst he may not have Premier League experience, the same can be said for most of the managers in the Premier League before they went on to become successful (Sir Alex, Arsene, Jose, Owen Coyle). I see this as being a very interesting appointment and one which in the short term could work. If Laws can keep Burnley up this season and maintain their Premier League status next season, that will be his success. Any further than that and I think Burnley will be looking for a new man to take them to the next step but perhaps by then their security will make it a lot easier to attract bigger profile managers.

  • Comment number 40.

    What a shocking appointment, and one I fear could lead to Burnley's relegation, which would be a shame, as they are a comparatively small club, who play some good football.

    I thought Laws was fortunate to get the Wednesday job in the 1st place, considering Scunthorpe were a bit of a yo-yo team under his charge, and while he didn't do a bad job at the Owls, this is hardly the crudentials for keeping a club in the Premiership.

    I don't understand why clubs don't put a higher compensation clause in managers contracts. I would say the reason Burnley are in the Premiership is mainly down to Coyle, and experts argue that being in the top Division is worth an extra £50 million to a club.

    I'm not saying Burnley should've put a £50 million clause in Coyle's contract, but the success of a club is often down to a managers ability, and figures should be reflected as such.

    If I was a chairman I would be looking to set a figure of at least £10 million, which even then is probably nowhere near enough.

  • Comment number 41.

    Ironically, Brian Laws did the double last season over Burnley including an impressive win at Turf Moor.

    But I think Burnley missed a trick in not giving Sean O'Driscoll the post, in the way Swansea astutely offered the job to Sousa after the dispiriting loss of Martinez. O'Driscoll would have been a 'like-for-like' appointment (Another to do the double over Coyle last season).

    A Blades fan suggested that O'Driscoll did not make a favourable impression with Burnley during his interview, criticising the training facilities. What will be interesting to see is the role played by Graham Alexander as a coach and possible future manager.

    Though I support another club (Derby), living in the NW of England, I have watched Coyle's arrival since Nov 07 with interest. Burnley have struggled of late but are still in with a fighting chance of PL survival, so that I wonder if his decision to decamp to Bolton was motivated by a lack of support from the Burnley board over funds in the January transfer window.

    Laws' appointment does send conflicting signals and comes across as 'underwhelming'. Laws is a personable man and there is a feeling O'Driscoll does not come across well in the media, but he has done a fantastic job at Doncaster. Eight points off relegation? He has lost players, but loaned others like Shackell & Sharp and kept Doncaster going. He is a manager of real substance.

  • Comment number 42.

    As a Scunthorpe fan I have only praise for Brian Laws. I am actually quite surprised at the shock that seems to have greeted this appointment. Brian has always done well in difficult circumstances and with a tight budget. At Scunthorpe he constantly got over our star strikers leaving for bigger clubs by bring someone else in who did the job just as well. Both Scunthorpe United and Sheffield Wednesday were left in a much better state when he left them compared to what he inherited.

    Sure, Burnley are taking a risk with a manager without Premiership credentials, but they have to be applauded as I think they have seen what Brian Laws is and what he has done and are willing to give it a go.

    It is also good to see a British manager being given a shot at the Premiership. I think that Brian Laws is destined for bigger and better things in the future and Burnley are lucky to have him now.

    Good luck Burnley and Good Luck BL.

  • Comment number 43.

    One of the most bizarre managerial appointments of all time.

    Sacked from a club floundering in a lower league and taken on by a club who are in a relegation dogfight. When he has no experience at this level.

    I'm just waiting for my appointment to as of the CBI.

  • Comment number 44.

    Can someone explain why Owen Coyle is held in such high regards, alongside Brian Clough and Jose, A Ferguson & Wenger. For me he has very little to represent himself as a premiership manager other than to say he got a championship club promoted and didn't get the sack. There is nothing to say he won't take Bolton down with a bit of coin in his pocket.

    Also the Permier league is wide open at the bottom and the top this season with 5 points between 11th and 19th and 11 points seperating 4th and 9th, I don't see anything can be decided at this stage.

    How about Burnley fans think for a top 10 finish, they have plenty going forward if they can get there defending sorted out.

  • Comment number 45.

    I bet I'm not the first to see the similarity between Laws' appointment and that of Gary Megson 2 years ago at Bolton. Both underwhelming. Both make you scratch your head and say why? And then truth hits home. The chairman has appointed a manager to get you promoted from the championship next year. Grim eh? Well, thats what all bolton fans thought when we got meggers. On the other hand Laws is clearly a better manager so you clarets could well stay up. And looking on the bright side burnley didn't have to pay compensation, like we foolishly did for megson.

  • Comment number 46.

    I forgot to say in my previous post that what really annoys me about some of the comments surrounding BL makes it sound like Burnley have appointed a nobody from the Northern Counties league or something like that. The tone of both Paul's article and comments from Steve Claridge seem grossly unfair and disrespectful. Given that I generally respect what both Paul and Steve say in these blogs and elswhere, this attitude surprises me.

    Going to pop another valium now...

  • Comment number 47.

    How does a manager get his foot in the door in the Premier League if not at a club like Burnley? The roster is filled with players who were Championship stalwarts and now they will be guided by an experienced Championship manager. He's certainly not a sure thing but I don't think he looks bad on paper--so many factors determine a club's performance, but media and fan narratives would have you believe in a given moment that a manager is solely responsible for a club's successes and failures.

  • Comment number 48.

    Comparisons to Megson appointment are understandable to an extent, but actually I find this one more perplexing.

    Ok, Laws has had to operate in difficult circumstances in S6 (heavy debt, ongoing "we'll get investment soon", falling attendances) so some fellow Wednesdayites believe he has "done well/ok". But look at if from Burnley's perspective and you really cant see any sense in the appointment.

    Manager failing to get the best out of his squad over last few months: Tick

    Manager having made one or two key signings that have failed: Tick (with smiley faces and gold stars in the case of Jeffers)

    Manager seemingly having lost the will to fight to turn things around: Tick (body language and press conference statements of late)

    Manager who is highly unlikely to attract marquee signings in spite of Premiership status: Tick

    Manager with no track record at top level: Tick

    With so much other choice around (Warnock from debt ridden Palace or someone like Kinnear in a short term capacity surely better options) you have to wonder what's going on at Turf Moor to make them so unattractive to the likes of Lambert & co.

    The fans can't and wont blame the board for Coyle going and have him labelled as a Judas already, however I'm sure they aren't exactly bouncing around with joy at the appointment of Laws either.

    Good luck to Laws and to Burnley, as I have nothing against either, but agree with so many other posts that the Prem relegation picture has, I fear, just got a little bit clearer.

  • Comment number 49.

    As a Leeds fan, im delighted that Burnley haven't approached Simon Grayson. I doubt Laws is the right man for the job, but he can prove his place. Good luck to him

  • Comment number 50.

    Thought this blog is pretty spot on Paul.

    Laws only signed one decent player at wednesday (grant) so will be interesting to see how he manages on that front at turf moor.

    Really hope he does well but it is a hilarious appointment.

    As for the comment regarding Paul Hart, that didnt exactly pay off did it - these 2 and steve mclaren are probably the most unjustified appointments ever, bet they couldnt believe their luck when they got the jobs!

  • Comment number 51.

    I have seen that Coyle has been compared to Sir Alex, Jose and Ol Big Head in this, dont quite see what he has done to achieve this! People seem to forget that he was one of the few Championship managers to have money to spend, not quite as much as Billy Davies has had but still more than most Championship teams. As for Laws in the Championship he had the 3rd lowest wage budget and had punched above his weight for the previous seasons, although there was talk of this being Chris Turner and Paul Sturrocks team he changed the style of football, much as I love Sturrock he had had his time, you could say the same with Laws this season but I think given time he would have steered Wednesday well clear of relegation, his problem had been that with such a small squad there are only so many changes you can make. Fingers crossed Burnley stay up and Laws goes onto bigger and better things.

  • Comment number 52.

    its not being disrespectful - i'm all for english managers getting the top jobs, but surely youve got to earn that right?!

    laws lost a lot more games than he won at wednesday so how does that make him a good manager? sure he had limited budget, him and a dozen plus other clubs in the championship.

  • Comment number 53.

    As a Wednesday fan I think while in the short term this looks like a strange one long term this is a good appointment. I'd start by saying that I don't think for one minute Laws will keep the Clarets up, but then again I doubt there's anyone within Burnley's budget who could. Brian has been brought in to use the cash they've gained this season to build a stronger side than the one which came up for the championship campaign next season. Laws likes to play passing, attacking football so his style of play will suit the players already at the club. He has his flaws, notably a poor record in the transfer market but at the end of the day he didn't cost Burnley anything so why not give him a shot? Good luck to Brian and the Clarets for the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 54.

    Good luck to Brian Laws and Burnley! I respect that Burnley have appointed what they think is a good appointment for them and not opted for a 'big name'. A few years ago the names Souness, Ron Atkinson and Venables were touted as big names and look what they achieved for various clubs. The 'big name' manager has failed so many times.
    Burnley have made an appointment which they lose little from. If they go down it was expected anyway at the beginning of the season. At least they aren't stuck with a 'big name' that is leaching money out of the club. For me, any of other candidates were just as big risks. At the end of the day it is what the Burnley players do on the pitch.

  • Comment number 55.

    I was disappointed that we didn't show a little more ambition or bought some insurance by appointing a proven prem manager ala Coppell/Curbishley. Having listened to a couple of interviews, Laws seems really keen to prove himself at this level and that enthusiasm may get us through. He has a connection to the club and the appointment of Graham Alexander as player-coach will provide an important link to the players as well as recognising Grezza's leadership qualities.
    I think we must put aside our personal preferences for manager, and get behind Brian for our club's sake. As a small club in this league we have become acquainted with the ugly side of the premiership to our cost over the last fortnight. We have learned that loyalty is in short supply and as a club without an unlimited credit, loyalty was all we had and continue to have. If we are relegated, I hope we manage to beat Bolton and Blackburn before we do.

  • Comment number 56.

    Good luck Burnley you are certainly going to need it. Law's is clearly a lower league manager and never really cut it at Wednesday. Hopefully he'll take with him some of his dreadful signings for the Owls - Jeffers, Purse, Buxton, Miller, Clarke..

  • Comment number 57.

    This is quite similar to when we (Bolton) appointed Gary Megson ('He who shall not be named')... The only difference being that Brian Laws is even slightly appreciated by his former clubs' fans. Megson wasn't. I fear he may be out of his depth, but I'll reserve judgement. Who knows he could be the next Big Sam and prove himself worthy of a job at a bigger, more established club (Just like Coyle, now I mention it ;-) )

    When all's said and done, nobody knows how he'll do, I for one, hope he does well, so that the BBC and the like can seethe and boil at the fact that somebody unfashionable and north of Watford is giving it a good go in the (apparantly) only League in the world, apart from the one Beckhams playing in.

    What did Gartside say about 'He who shall not be named'? "Those who know Football, know why Gary is here"

  • Comment number 58.

    I was a little disappointed with this blog, it seems to show a lack of understanding of the position that Burnley Football Club is currently in, both in a financial and playing sense, and the subsequent appointment of Brian Laws.

    On the face of it, appointing a supposedly failed Championship Manager to a Premier League role may seem a little strange but there are clearly other factors at work.

    Owen Coyle chose to abandon the club to further his career without any thought to the disruption he has caused. Although he achieved great things during his tenure at Turf Moor, his reputation will be fatally tarnished due to the manner of his departure. As a result, the board has been left in a position where they need to appoint someone they can trust, is honest and reliable and will not put his own future before that of the club.

    To be honest, the club was going nowhere but downwards with Coyle at the helm and he could clearly see this, as could the fans and no doubt the board. Coyle wanted to throw money at the situation in the time-honoured and usually unsuccessful way but the board held firm.

    Under Brian Laws, we have an opportunity to avert the inevitable descent back into the Championship (no win since 31st October, 1 point in 30 away from home)and get a fresh perspective. In particular, we clearly need to strengthen our defence and be less tactically naive away from home.

    Welcome back to Turf Moor, Brian.

    Together We Are Burnley

  • Comment number 59.

    Claret 66... "To be honest, the club was going nowhere but downwards with Coyle at the helm and he could clearly see this, as could the fans and no doubt the board"

    So then why all the baby tears from fans and board?

  • Comment number 60.

    I've been a Burnley fan since 1962.
    I've seen some amazing events at the club but not much to compare with the goings-on of the past couple of weeks.
    Coyle - over-hyped luvvie of the press - stabs us in the back and leaves us in the lurch at the worst possible time ; good riddance. One away point all season set the alarm bells ringing with me some time ago. Coyle kept wittering on ad infinitum that his budget was smaller than anyone else's, conveniently drawing fire away from his totally naive away tactics and his failure to address major defensive weaknesses.
    Laws - a journeyman who underwhelms wherever he goes - but presumably cheap and no compo to pay for him. He MIGHT make a fist out of it.
    Kilby - a true Claret - runs a tight ship financially and in all probability is resigned to us being relegated despite all the usual positive soundites at press conferences. Laws' appointment will make total sense to him.
    The wonderful Claret followers are non-plussed by all this: some are angry, some want to give him a chance, some will back him out of sheer Claret loyalty and nothing more.
    Personally I'll be amazed and very pleasantly surprised if we survive this season ; if that happens, everyone will say it was a fantastic appointment. If we are relegated we'll have a second-rate manager in a second-rate league, so no great shock ythere either.
    You see, I don't think Kilby and the board (and even me) are all that fussed about being in the Premiership.

  • Comment number 61.

    We always moan when an English manager gets overlooked but when one gets the chance the media still moan.

    Burnley would have probably gone down with Coyle in charge and Laws will make them challenge if they go down, and this is from a Blade.

    Good Luck to Brian

  • Comment number 62.

    I cant believe that someone compared Coyle to Ferguson, Mourinho and Wenger!! He hasn't won anything of note so far as in to merit that sort of statement-however he seems to be a talented manager who gets the best out of his players-my only hope is this doesn't go against himin someways-look at Paul Jewell at Wigan-brilliant manager-then sells some of his best players keeps them up by the skin of his teeth then leaves-gets the Derby job a massive failure.

    That sais I think personally Coyle has more in his locker in terms of man-management and sigings than Jewell and some others managers have. He's got to prove himself but he's got a chance to do that at Bolton-who knows he may be brilliant, he may not but his record so far does speak for itself. Compare him to the likes of Dave Jones at Cardiff-spend,spend,spend and he still hasn't got them to the 'promised' land-surely he's got to be over-rated as a manager?

    As for Laws again I think he may be out of his depth- if proved wrong however as previoulsy stated I am willing to eat humble pie. I think for that to happen though he's going to have to get a result rather quickly otherwise the doom and gloom merchants will have the club written off and the negativity could then spill onto the pitch if the fans start to worry.

  • Comment number 63.

    As a Burnley supporter of nigh on 40 years, I think Brian Laws is the right appointment for Burnley at this time and not a huge gamble at all.
    I'll explain why.

    We currently have 20 points from 20 games - we need at least another 20 points to avoid relegation. Our form home & away has to improve if we're going to achieve that. Brian will understand that too and with him in charge, we'll scrap for every point and make a fight of it.

    Premiership survival is by no means a certainty, whoever is in charge. The chairman knows that and is looking beyond this season. If we stay
    up, then everyone will congratulate Brian on a job well done. If we
    go down, then we're well positioned for next season in the Championship.

    Brian Laws is an ex-Burnley player, he knows and understands the club
    and how we want to play the game. He's an experienced manager, he knows
    the setup at the club and will settle in quickly and that's what we need right now. If anyone can keep us up, he can, and if Brian Kilby says
    Brian Laws is the right man for the job, that's good enough for me.

    The appointment of Grezza as player coach is also an inspired move and
    I'm sure this will be a big help to Brian as he will have the support
    of the dressing room.

    In any case, who were the alternatives. Sean O'Driscoll?
    Mark Hughes?? Gary Megson??
    No, Brian Laws is the right choice.

    So, all Clarets fans, keep the faith and get behind the new manager and
    the team. TOGETHER we are BURNLEY.

  • Comment number 64.

    Re: 14 and 19.

    Thanks Paul.
    I totally admit Brian Laws was nowhere on my list of potential managers. That's probably why Barry Kilby is the chairman and I'm not. Would I have liked a bigger name? At the time of Coyle's departure, yes. But, on reflection, Brian Laws is probably a better fit given our players, our league position, our balance sheet and our prudent approach to the long term future of Burnley Football Club.

  • Comment number 65.

    Oh and will the real Paul Fletcher please stand up - SUPERFLETCH!

  • Comment number 66.

    It gets better - who's the right man for an away tie at Reading in the Cup?

  • Comment number 67.

    I think BL's appointment is a bit leftfield to say the least. But he is a manager with broad ideas and will need a budget to back them up. We couldn't give him that at Hillsborough - sadly. He could just save Burnley from the drop though. If he does he will face that critical 'acid test' of negotiating the summer market in the Premier. If Brian gets through that with some shrewd buys then I can see Burnley staying in the top flight for a few years at least.

    I was a big fan of BL and was sorry to see him go.

    Good luck Burnley. Best of luck BL


    P.s. I think anything less than £3.5 milion for Tudders is rude.

  • Comment number 68.

    Disappointing because there were some interesting options, and pretty sure it was a financial decision, and the worrying thing is the message it sends out to the fans, current players, and potential new signings as to our ambitions.
    That said I am sure everyone will be 100% behind him, and there will be a great support at Utd on Saturday and if he brings us our first league away win there, then that chap that went to Bolton will be soon forgotten (well for 10 days anyway) !!
    What was he called Owen "Boyleton" !

  • Comment number 69.

    Paul good blog, it has provoked lots of interaction which is the objective i would assume?

    A few comments from me
    1. Can't see why Coyle left as he only played for Bolton for a short time so that is just a smokescreen from him. Not good.

    2. I like the chairman, seems a good honest chap, good luck to him, i am sure Portsmouth, Newcastle and Crystal Palace would kill for that type of character.

    3. However, if money is tight at Burnley why not appoint an interim manager on a 6 month contract - this could be Laws, he wasnt likley to say no. Then take a view at the end of the season?
    Sunderland did this last season, stayed up and then got the manager they really wanted.

    4. If money is tight surely a requirement is a manager who can develop young players on a limited budget, the way, for example that young Ferguson at Posh did?

    5. If prem survival is key a requirement, would a manager who can bring players with him to improve the situation be a good idea? Coyle will do this i fear, Big Sam, Brucie, McLeash, Happy Harry and Martinez etc do this all the time, who can Laws bring with him?

    I see nothing in Laws that couldn't be gained with less risk in terms of length of contract and/or premiership experience and/or ability to recruit good players.

    It strikes me the chairman has accepted a passionate, loyal, ex player, as i said he seems like a good chap but only time will tell if that is the criteria required to manage in the best league in the world in 2010?

  • Comment number 70.

  • Comment number 71.

    Very strange appointment. Nothing against Laws, did a very solid job at Wednesday, but there are quite a few managers currently out of the game who have premier league experience. Paul Jewell, Alan Curbishly and David O'Leary come to mind. Compensation would not have been an issue with any of them.

    Also think Bryan Robson or Peter Reid would have been ideal candidates as they've got experience of keeping sides up in that league. I hope I'm proved wrong, I really do as my dad supported Burnley so have an affection for them, but I think they'll probably go down now. Real shame.

  • Comment number 72.

    if they had delayed a couple of days they could have got a big name manager from liverpool!
    Brian laws is first rate at getting teams to do better than their resources would suggest possible.SW was a poisoned chalice.
    Burnley are way out of their depth and they neeed an astute manager such as Laws to try to keep them up.
    Pompey Burnley Wigan/Wolves .If Bullard fit from Feb onwards Hull should be ok-and Englands midfield could have a super sub in south africa-Bullard was prem player of the month in his short comeback-voted ahead of lampard and Gerrard-this couldn"t be roy of the rovers could it?

  • Comment number 73.

    This doesn't make any sense to me at all. The only explanation seems to be that Burnley are preparing for a return to the Championship, but then Laws wasn't even that successful there!

    It is a shame because I have enjoyed watching Burnley this year.

    And on the comment above, I would have Laws over O'Leary any day of the week.

  • Comment number 74.

    I cant believe that Paul Fletcher touted names of Managers who are still under contract.
    Take Nigel Pearson, he doesnt want to leave Leicester, he has said time and time again that he will not leave Leicester.

    Laws on the other hand has experience and just come out of Management and would be ideally suited to anyone else.
    (If anyone says Curbishley, they are living in a dreamland, Curbs has said he will only manage a team in the South)

  • Comment number 75.

    As a Scunthorpe Utd fan of long standing, I commiserate with all Burnley fans. Laws is a complete no-hoper. In ten years with SUFC, his achievements were one promotion followed by one relegation, then one promotion while falling out with all the best players in the process.

    He joined us after having an altercation with one of his players (fisticuffs) in the Grimsby dressing room.

    He left us (in Lge 1 and ten years later) to join Sheff Wed and left them when two places below us in the CCC.

    He achieved absolutely nothing at Sheff Wed.

    Burnley will now go down. Of course the benefit for Laws will be the two years pay-off when he gets sacked. But you also get his utterly useless sidekick Russ Wilcox. Russ took over for about three months, three years before he and Laws left for Sheff W, after Laws was sacked by a temporary board. During this period, you could see Wilcox phoning Laws for advice !! Unbelievable but true !!

    What are your directors thinking of ?

    He is cheap though !! Because he is useless.

  • Comment number 76.

    I was disappointed to hear of Laws being named manager but having read/watched what he has to say I think he should be judged after the team has played a few games. He doesn't have the best record but I'd rather Bly were a yo-yo team between the CCC and EPL than one-hit wonders - and Laws proved he can do the yo-yo with Scunthorpe!

    Just goes to show that we Clarets are believing the hype about our profile going up just because we're playing Prem footy this season. I didn't hear about Guus Hiddink applying for the post! And there's me thinking Hiddink had agreed his deal with the Russian FA so he could take the job ;)

    Now there's talk about the Brian Clough link, correct me if I'm wrong but didn't a certain Gary Megson play under him? Couldn't trap a bag of sand from what I remember...

  • Comment number 77.

    I am happy with the appointment of Brain Laws. Twice promoted with scunny is a good achievement and his sheffield wed side embarrassed us last year. Unfortunately for me I wasnt in Burnley much last year and one of the few matches I saw was that sheff wed spanking we recieved at turf moor.

  • Comment number 78.

    Well Burnley fans at least be glad that you're chairman didn't take advice from the helpful commentators here suggesting Joe Kinnear, Bryan Robson or David O'Leary...

    But still the Laws appt is hardly remotely inspiring, Nigel Adkins has taken Scunny to greater heights than Laws ever managed, whilst several Championship managers play the game 'the right way' and have stars far more on the rise. Anyone who saw Forest demolish WBA last wk will appreciate the job Davies has done there, and at Derby... andat Preston...

    Just a thought - another compensation free candidate, one with Premier League experience, who played under one of the late managerial greats, and played 'the right way' was available... step forward George Burley

    It really wasn't his fault a nation was relying on Chris Iwelumo and Kenny Miller for goals was it?

    Seriously.. he'd have been a much better, and equally cheap fit

  • Comment number 79.

    As a Sheffield Wednesday supporter I wish Laws the best of luck. Burnley have just appointed the most honest, decent seeming manager I have ever experienced. I really believe that he should have been given more time at Wednesday, and I am personally sure he will keep Burnley up this season. I really hope he does.

  • Comment number 80.

    I managed to get about three-quarters of the way through the comments so may be repeating somebody here. However, why do people keep suggesting Coppell/Curbishley as better bets/proven Premier League managers? Haven't both of those taken clubs down? And what's all this nonsense about Brian Laws having no Premier League experience compared to Owen Coyle? As far as I can tell, Owen Coyle had no Premier League experience prior to August 2009 (i.e. when Burnley played their first game this season) and, 23 Premier League games later, seems to be being compared to Jose Mourinho. Get a grip!

    By the way... Martin O'Neill had no Premier League experience when he got Leicester City promoted. He's not done too bad.

  • Comment number 81.

    I want all Burnley fans to listen.
    At the start of the season, Wednesday were a free scoring, free footballing side, I watced it every week.

    Then as January drew closer, and Richard Wood was sold due to lack of the funds, players were having their heads turned. Lee Strafford had a knee jerk reaction and sacked Laws, because what else can you do when the players have stopped playing for the manager.

    Give Laws a fair shot, he deserves it.

  • Comment number 82.

    @75 - I am not sure where you are coming from mate. I am also a Scunny fan of long standing and before Brian Laws joined us we were a 4th division side always destined to stay there.

    Brian Laws was instrumental in creating what is the most exciting period at Scunthorpe ever - he laid the groundwork that Nigel Adkins is continuing.

  • Comment number 83.

    As a donny fan, now that the panic caused by the prospect of losing O'Driscoll has subsided in Donny, I've been able to look at this a bit more rationally.

    First and foremost, I'm glad that Burnley decided to appoint a manager from the lower leagues. Every time a Premiership club appoints a foreign manager, the media fills up with tales of woe about how no upcoming managers from the lower leagues ever get their chance in the premier league and how it's all unfair. Yet now that a Premiership club has appointed someone from the lower leagues, it's now all talk about a lack of ambition, throwing in the towel, and how you need experience to survive.

    I've no doubt at all that O'Driscoll would have excelled at the top level, if he'd been given the chance to work his magic - sadly, time to do this is a bit of a luxury in the Premiership, and I fear that patience may not have been so forthcoming. Just over 12 months ago, Donny earned 1 point over the space of 2 months, barely scoring a goal, while we adjusted to Championship level. But we stuck with him and were rewarded with a 19 match unbeaten run that saw us to safety in the second half of the season.

    When Laws was sacked I felt really sorry for him as a week or two before we beat Wednesday completely against the run of play and didn't deserve to win. But from what I can tell he's always done a good job with the resources he's had and his teams have always played decent football - his Wednesday and Scunny sides were both revelations compared to some of their sides of old.

    All in all I think he'll surprise a few people in the Premiership. I get the impression he thrives on the pressure and given his baptism of fire so far I reckon it'll only inspire him. It's a lot more open up there this season and Burnley have a great chance of staying up I think. I'm resigned to losing O'Driscoll eventually (he's a boyhood Wolves fan, and if they ever get sick of McCarthy I'm sure he'll jump at the chance) as he's too good a manager not to get his chance in the Premiership one day. I'd just love to see more clubs taking the Wigan philosophy of appointing a good upcoming manager and giving them at least three years to do their thing, regardless of results.

  • Comment number 84.

    ...."An FA Cup tie against Liverpool is likely to follow"....


  • Comment number 85.

    Yes, the Burnley board are prone to gambling. Remember Steve Cotterill. He had no experience of managing a championship team. Owen Coyle was a gamble too. I don't remember him being on anyone's lists at the time of his appointment.
    Some gambles pay off, such as Owen Coyle, but in the long run you lose when gambling.
    Unless the directors act and think in terms of the premier league, the club will not remain there.
    And please do not compare Owen Coyle with the great managers of all time. He did very well in his short time at the club but it will be some considerable time before he earns the right to be mentioned in the same breath as Brian Clough and Sir Alex. For a start, he has to learn to accept and work within budgets instead of constantly moaning. And who is he trying to kid when he says that he would only move from Burnley to join Celtic or Bolton? If the Liverpool job were offered to him now, how long would it take him to consider?

  • Comment number 86.

    People always seem to voice their opinions after the fact. Curbs and the like who have "the experience", would have bought Premiership has-beens, on potential silly wages, which the Board wouldn't have allowed.

    So S'OD, would have been the better choice? He to, has "no, so-called experience" in the Prem? Which also applies to the majority of the "bookies favourite's".

    How are people promoted to higher positions in everyday life? They to have no experience?

    Brian Laws is now our new guy in charge, and yet we are all prejudging the outcome?

    There was no gaurantee that OC would have kept us up, yet he would have still have been seen as "the god" if relegated.

    We are debt free, which is unbelievable in today's game. We also know we are punching well above our weight, but enjoying the ride. If the ride stops in May, we have the squad to bounce back because of the player's brought in, and all bought for the future. Question's could have been raised, that we were not ambitious, by not bringing in so-called "Prem Stars", who had the "experience" to keep us in the Prem. The Board know the ins and outs of what is needed, and the finances of how to run our small Club, and amibitions etc, should not cloud the reality of the matter. We now have the financial foundations in place for years to come, and a squad to build on.

    Look Man U and Liverpool, that were taken over, solely for the purpose of lining the owners pockets. Both deeply in debt, which is going to take a while to sort out, which has also impacted on the pitch for the time being, both knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle, and if they don't finish in the "top 4" or win the title, that is disaster ! But they are both big enough to ride the wave, because of who they are.

    At a small Club like us, we have to be on the ball, looking at next Season and the Season after etc, because we don't have the financial muscle. Our expection level, is surviving in the Prem, but its not a diasaster, if that doesn't happen, as I have said, we will have enjoyed the ride and hope to bounce back.

    The point I am trying to make is, bringing a "big name" to the Club, could have put us at risk, financially, okay Brian Laws is a risk, but a risk, the Board are prepared to take.

    A point many are over looking, is the fact that, the player's are still the same, but feel they will be even more fired up to prove a point, only time will tell, but with everyone pulling in the same direction, we have a chance, and thats all we ask, and thats why the Clarets will give Brian Laws the chance. But one thing is for sure, the effort, commitment to the cause is total.

    "Come on you Clarets"

  • Comment number 87.

    OK, something that has been overlooked here is that Burnley have got where they are but developing their own strategies and not following the crowd. The media hacks expect everyone to follow the crowd and appoint someone with premiership experience. This would inevitably someone who has failed or they would have a job now.

    The Board at Burnley has dragged this club from the bottom of Division 4 to the premier league, and they have remained debt free. They have atrack record of getting it right more than almost anyone in the game, and there are no harbingers of doom the likes of which surround Man U, Liverpool, Portsmouth and no doubt others too. We are financially stable and even if relegated have invested in youth to see the Club come back.

    I agree this looks a strange decision but so did Coyle. Laws record does survive scrutiny. He has done more than OK and was keen to take the job on at a club that gave him a start to his career.

    The issue the media cannot fathom is that a club can flourish and be thrifty. Give the man and the club a chance

  • Comment number 88.

    I'm unsure as to why Laws has been given this opportunity. They were after (or so I was lead to beleive) a young hungry manager that shows promise.

    Managers like Robins, Grayson, Sousa and Pearson (Billy Davies simply wouldn't contemplate the move with his teams current position)surely deserve a chance above Laws and if the money wasn't a problem, then they should have been able to get any of them. No?

  • Comment number 89.

    Another half-baked round of managerial musical chairs:

    • Owen Coyle moves from Burnley to Bolton Wanderers
    • Brian Laws, previously of Sheffield Wednesday, takes over at Burnley
    • Alan Irvine, sacked by Preston North End, takes over at Sheffield Wednesday.
    • Darren Ferguson, previously with Peterborough United, appointed manager by Preston North End.

    In a different chronological order of course.

  • Comment number 90.

    football suicide

  • Comment number 91.

    Paul I don't understand why you think of this appointment as a huge gamble for Burnley.You also say Owen Coyle moving to Bolton was a huge gamble for him. Surely when every club appointment a manager it is a gamble? Owen "jumped ship" because he thought he could no longer keep Burnley up this season,or even if he did so he had calculated that the next season would be the same. He said that his primary reason was a lack of finance to bolster the team. He stated after the Play Off Final that coming 17th would be a bigger triumph than winning promotion.He knew what the score was.If OC was so good and was not able to do the job, who else with the same financial constraints was? Why throw big money on a manager when what you need is players? Brian Laws is a low key sensible choice in the circumstances.He has a good track record,connections with Burnley AND most importantly a clear goal to aim for.Lets face it as far as away results are concerned how can he do worse? I think there is too much over-hyped emotion here.Passionate Clarets fans(as they all are)feel upset and let down about OC's departure but staying in the Premiership was always going to be an uphill struggle.A new ambitious manager in the shape of Brian Laws may just be the ticket and if we fail to climb the mountain, as we may well have done under OC, we can mount another summit bid next season in good shape.

  • Comment number 92.

    birtieclaret (post 91) it almost sounds as though you have given up on staying in the Premier League. Pompey, Hull, West Ham, Blackburn - there are other clubs out there with serious problems.

    I said last season that Burnley reaching the Premier League was a great achievement - and one that should give hope to lots of clubs that harbour the dream of top-flight football. Having got there I would hate to see the Clarets give up on it with half the campaign remaining.

    Lots of people have posted to say they didn't want to see people like Alan Curbishley, who have top-flight experience but would be unlikely to stick around for the long term. I agree with their thinking.

    I'm sure that Barry Kilby is trying to think long-term in appointing Laws but don't lose sight of how important the next few months are. And although I don't see anything wrong with giving someone from the Football League a chance, I'm not sure I would have gone for a man who was sacked in December with his team struggling in the Championship.

  • Comment number 93.

    why not someone like curbishly,surely he would of taken the job.I'd love to know how many Burnley fans would prefer Brian Laws???

  • Comment number 94.

    As football fans we think that we know what the best thing for our club is and I'm sure that every Burnley fan had a preferred name in their mind for the job. I will admit that I was leaning towards giving Steve Davis the job and that Laws wasn't even in my top 10 but I find the way that people are writing Laws off and saying that he is the wrong appointment amazing.

    First, Campbell has said in his blog that Curbishley and Coppell were never an option for reasons that he doesn't go into and how many other managers whose names are being thrown around (Grayson, Sousa etc) did we approach and were either not given permission to speak to or who chose themselves not to speak to us?

    Secondly, none of us were present in any of the interviews. If rumours are to be believed, Barry and Brendan spoke to 20 plus candidates. We discovered in Brendan Flood's recently published book that when we were interviewing for the manager position after Cotterill left that Reid was interviewed and came across extremely badly. Rumours are now circulating that O'Driscoll was non plussed by our facilities when he came for his interview. We do not know exactly who else was interviewed and what happened in each of those interviews that led Barry and Brendan to decide that that person was not the man for the job but I can promise you that they did not take the decision lightly and were extremely thorough in their search, including requesting a report into league position relative to budget from Deloitte.

    I can promise you that out of the managers available Barry and Brendan will have picked the one that they felt could do the best job with the resources that we have, will maintain the type of football that we have become accustomed to, will be loyal to the team in a way that Coyle showed himself not to be, will understand the town and the importance of this football club to the community and who has the desire and drive to do everything in his power to keep us in the Premier League.

    I trust their decision and we all need to get behind the manager, the board and the players now. Coyle has done his best to tarnish this season for us but on Saturday we are going to watch the Burnley players walk out at Old Trafford to play Manchester United in the Premier League. There have been times over the years that it seemed like we'd never see occassions like that again but here we are so enjoy every second of it.

    I'd also like to add my congratulations to Grezza for his appointment as player/coach-fully deserved!

  • Comment number 95.

    If Burnley are going to be debt free at the end of the season, does that mean the directors loans have been repaid? If so, just how much have the directors taken out of the club this season? Does that explain the low budget for buying players and the current appointment? Maybe there is a conflict of interest between the directors and the club.

  • Comment number 96.

    #23 - Brilliant post, excellently summed up.

    As for Laws, he wasn't on my list as managerial candidates but now the dust has settled I can see the decision for what it is which is a no loss, sensible appointment.
    If we had appointed O'Driscoll for arguments sake and he had taken us down (all the bookies would be inclined to agree that we are going) then we've essentially spent £1 million to get a Championship manager managing us in the Championship, with Laws we are doing the same minus the financial outgoing which in this mad finance based league should be applauded not sneered at.
    I think people should reserve judgement for a few games before writing us and Laws off, it isn't fair on Laws who will need everyone behind him and the boys for us to stand any chance of staying up. I have a funny feeling he will silence the critics and Kilby's decision will be proved to be the correct one, he hasn't let us down before.


  • Comment number 97.

    To be fair when O'Driscoll took over at Donny he was following a very popular manager of 7 years who'd previously been the club captain. We all wanted someone who could build on that and when his name was first announced as successor, there was a lot of of "Who?" and "Well I guess we're doomed now" and "That's the dream over I guess."

    Moral of the story - sometimes chairmen do actually know what they're doing ;)

    If supporters undermine the manager before he's even been in charge of one game, it's the club itself that will suffer more than anyone else. Sometimes you just need to take it on faith that the chairman's made a decision in the best interests of the club.

  • Comment number 98.

    After the latest bout of managerial musical chairs, the number of managers who have been in their current job a year or more has fallen from 53 on 10 February 2009 to 45, while the number of managers who have been in their current job two years or more has fallen from 34 on 10 February 2009 to 27.

  • Comment number 99.

    There are times when even good managers get the sack, because there are short-term goals that must be met. I was sorry to see Laws go from Wednesday. He kept them up twice with nothing.

    Few managers now working in England have proven better able to make something of nothing than Laws, proven at both Scunthorpe and Wednesday, and I'm afraid Jose Mourinho was not available.

    Given that reality, given his loyalty to everyone he has worked for (including Burnley), and given the alternatives, he was a good choice.

    He can make something of nothing. His tactics work. He treats players like men. And since he's not going to be getting any money, what else can one ask for?

    Assuming he keeps Burnley up -- and there are a lot of clubs ready to drop other than them -- he'll have funds to build with. And he won't waste a dime.

    If he can't keep them up, no one does more with nothing than Brian Laws, and he will have an excellent chance of bouncing back.

    I'm sorry many Burnley fans were expecting Mark Hughes or Alan Curbishley, but I don't think either was in the frame. Not unless Burnley was willing to give them, say, 10% ownership interest.

  • Comment number 100.

    As a Claret I was surprised by the appointment.

    but the bottom line is our board won't go in to debt again to try and keep Burnley in the Premiership and to be honest I would not blame them.

    How many Premiership clubs are technically insolvent ? I would suggest at least 2/3 run on a loss every year. Its just not sustainable as Portsmouth etc will find out.

    We got to back Brian and you never know we might just make it...


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