Date: 10th November 2007 at 1:04pm
Written by:

Steve Cotterill was a good manager and I hope he proves that by being successful at his next club and silencing some of his gloating critics today. This was clearly a difficult decision by the Board and how often do you see a departing manager sharing a platform at a Press Conference listening about his own departure? That confirms to me the uniqueness of this situation. There was something special about the gaffer, he appears to have had the respect of many at the Club and I genuinely believe he did leave by ‘mutual consent’ and was not pushed. He also had respect from a lot of the fans, many of which are still shell-shocked and surprised.

I always said I would give him until Xmas 2007 to see what he could do under the better financial situation, but recent results have made it impossible to argue against a change and I always said I would support the Board in whatever decision they made and I do. That doesn`t mean to say I am not disappointed though and it doesn`t mean to say I haven`t been disgusted by some of our own fans disrespectful comments about our ex-gaffer, not to mention childish gloating and ‘I told You So’ attitude by some.

I have been pilloried and accused of being many hurtful things myself on message boards just because I dared stand up and give the alternative view. An alternative view I hasten to add which still had/has a lot of support. Witness our current Poll on this site!

It is still a crying shame though he has left and I just hope that we don`t live to regret this decision. How many managerial changes, in all honesty in the Championship the last few seasons have really proved successful? It`s a difficult division to get out of and until recently this club has been the poor man of the division, with one of the smallest squads, selling its key players at crucial times. Steve should take some credit for even keeping us in this division let alone for three seasons running keeping us in the Top 6 before post-Xmas slumps.

Nobody will ever convince me that losing Blake/Chaplow in Steve`s first season, Ade in his second and then cruelly Gray to injury in his third did not have any effect on our chances in the second half of the season when you are faced with having one of the smallest squads in the Championship and until recently little finance.

I watched and listened to Steve`s moving leaving speech on the Official Site and that says it all about the character of the man.

It was refreshing to read that even some of his sternest critics were moved by the comments he made and hopefully it gave them some further food for thought.

He has done a lot for this club behind the scenes and will be missed by many. The critics I hope in time will feel some remorse and will eventually regret some of the hurtful things they have said against the guy; a guy who has been Burnley through and through for three and a half years. (I suspect a lot won`t though). There must have been a special relationship between the Board and manager over the last few seasons. What other manager would still have found himself in the job after his team didn`t win a match in 19 games? What can you say about losing a manager that was the longest serving by far in the Championship (three and a half years)? Do his critics hold the Board responsible for taking so long to try a change? I hope not and I hope that shows the unique situation we have had at this club.

It is a curious fact that in a different era, we would not be letting managers go after having a few bad runs. If this had been the 1970s and Adamson had been in charge, having proclaimed the ‘Team of the 70s` and relegated in the first full season of the decade (1970/71), would he still have been left in charge today to return triumphant a few seasons later winning the Second Division title (1972/73) and the following season finishing 6th and reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1974? He was still there two seasons later.

In today`s footy world it`s all about results and stuff the circumstances. You can`t blame Kilby and Flood for wanting a change, the result against Hull was a defining moment that would probably had lead to an increase in the vocal chants for ‘Cotterill Out` by some of the fans and more importantly maybe a slump in gates and revenue.

It would have been difficult for the gaffer with the increased stress to maybe turn this round despite in reality still only being five points off 6th place with a game in hand.

I don`t know somehow I feel sick to the stomach and yet at the same time trying to look forward to a new manager coming to the club. I look at the Championship table though and I look at the sides below us and just above us. One of these teams, Leicester we face today and they have had so many managerial changes over the last few years I have lost count. They still remain though in exactly the same place as we do with a host of other clubs in a group you could define as ‘mid-table mediocrity`.

There is probably only one team in this division with a similar size small squad to us and that`s Colchester.

After one season of dizzy football, reality there is now setting in! We have somehow though survived three seasons under Cotterill and many clubs with better finances than ourselves with much bigger squads have struggled and been unable to change their fortunes by changing managers.

The list is endless, Nottingham Forest, Leeds, Luton, Norwich (Crikey, come back Nigel all is forgiven!)Palace, QPR, Cardiff, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and lets all laugh at Preston too! Stoke and Coventry have also yet to prove a point!

I really want to believe we are embarking on a new era and I really want to believe a change in manager will change our fortunes backed by an ambitious board. I really want to be proven totally wrong in my support for Steve Cotterill these last two difficult seasons but when I look at the managerial merry go-round and look at the decent managers on the scrap heap and the return of managers who were on it, now being successful at other clubs, it does make you wonder if not worry.

Steve Cotterill referred to his recent dinner date with Flood as his ‘Last Supper`. I hope like Jesus Christ himself, we will see a resurrection after death. I believe like Barry Kilby said, he is capable of leading a Premiership club. It is such a shame that he couldn`t do it for us.