Date: 30th December 2010 at 9:25am
Written by:

Brian Laws, who was yesterday sacked as the manager of Burnley FC has issued a statement via the League Managers Association (LMA) which reads as follows:

“Naturally I am very saddened to receive the news and disappointed that I will no longer have the opportunity to achieve my ambition of reaching the Championship play offs this season and, ultimately, promotion back to the Barclays Premier League. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the club, the management, the players and the supporters all the very best for the future. I am taking advice from the LMA who will be working to reach an amicable agreement with the football club on my behalf. Accordingly, I will not make any further comment at this stage.”

It must be very hard for Brian Laws but at the end of the day that is football. It is a results-orientated business and although some clubs seem to take that concept to the limit and sack managers on a whim sometimes nobody can say we did not give Laws a chance at Turf Moor.

Yes, he inherited a poison chalice after Coyle’s departure and it would have been difficult for any manager to manufacture a recovery and keep the club in the Premier League. He failed in that attempt but even then many Clarets fans, including myself were still willing to give him a chance in the Championship. ‘Let’s give him until Christmas’ was the popular cry so how prophetic that turned out to be!

Laws must be wondering when he will have a good Christmas. He left Sheffield Wednesday last year a couple of weeks before Christmas by mutual consent after a run of bad results. At least though he got a late Christmas present when Burnley offered him the job at Turf Moor in January this year. But in just under twelve months, he is on the move again looking for a new club with the festive season still not over.

Richard Bevan, chief executive of the LMA said,

“The LMA shares Brian`s disappointment at his leaving the football club and we find the timing of his dismissal very strange in all the circumstances. The club is only two points off a play off place with a game in hand. Burnley have the third best home record in what is a really competitive Championship, they have only lost six games this season and have not suffered back to back losses. In the Carling Cup, the club enjoyed a memorable win over Barclays Premier League outfit Bolton Wanderers and were only just edged out in extra time at Villa Park in the next round. Boxing Day`s win at Oakwell was the first time Burnley had beaten Barnsley away for 79 years. Further, Burnley are currently highest placed in the Championship of the three clubs relegated last season. Brian is an experienced and successful manager, with over 800 games at every level of the professional game, and I would expect him to be back managing in the game at a high level very soon.”

Put like that you almost feel guilty for wanting a change in manager but let’s be clear why so many wanted to see Brian Laws go and why the club eventually agreed with the fans.

A year in the Premier League raised expectations and for the first time in many a season the club appeared flush with money. Even relegation was softened by the parachute payments kicking in. It was therefore the raised expectations that proved to be the death knell for Laws. On paper, 9th in the league just two points off the play-offs with a game or two advantage looks very reasonable with the second-half of the season still to play. In the days of Burnley midtable mediocity before our promotion in 2008-9, we would have taken that!

Not anymore though! We were looking to automatic promotion this season. Although the current and second placed clubs have played a game more than the Clarets, 15 points behind QPR and 8 points behind Cardiff does not make happy reading for the Clarets with automatic promotion looking like a distant dream now.

Barry Kilby recently said that not reaching the play-offs would be seen as failure and although we are still in the mix to achieve that, we are just one of about 15 clubs fighting for one of the top six spots. Just five points separate 17th placed Leicester and 6th placed Reading. It looks like a lottery and Burnley just seem to be one of many clubs unable to stand out from the crowd when we should be by now after a year in the top flight.

We simply just could not have gone on like this. A win rate of just under 30% and with no back-to-back league wins under Laws is not a statistic you would have trusted to take us forward and gain promotion.

I think also Brian Laws never really looked the part following the high-energy,animated highly motivational performances from Coyle in the dug-out. He looked out-of-his depth, even if he might not have been. He just seemed to be unable to inspire the fans and his body language made it worse.

It is always sorry to see a manager being sacked but this was totally the right decision. We all wish Brian well in his search for a new job. Maybe he wont have to look far and Preston might come to his rescue. Thanks for trying though Brian and sorry it never really worked out for you here.

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