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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 15:15 GMT
Burley set for his biggest test
By Paul Fletcher

Ipswich finished fifth in the Premier League in 2001 and Burley was named Manager of the Year
Burley was the 2001 Manager of the Year in England
"It is a great honour that I have been asked to take over as Scotland manager," said George Burley upon his unveiling as the new national boss.

In doing so, he began a new chapter in a footballing career that started when he joined English side Ipswich Town as an apprentice in 1972.

Burley became an accomplished attacking right-back and remained at Portman Road until 1985, making more than 500 appearances for the Suffolk club.

He won an FA Cup winners medal in 1978 and was a member of the Ipswich team that finished runners-up in the English top flight in 1981 and 1982.

Sadly for Burley he missed the 1981 Uefa Cup final, which Ipswich won, though injury.

Burley went on to play for Sunderland, Gillingham and Motherwell before making his first foray into the world of management with Ayr United in 1991.

606: DEBATE

He spent three years as player-manager on the west coast of Scotland before brief spells at Falkirk and Motherwell.

Burley was tempted back south of the border with Colchester in 1994 but he had been at Layer Road for a matter of months before he moved back to the club where he had forged his reputation as a player.

The likeable Scot walked out of Colchester on 24 December 1994 and was in charge at Portman Road three days later, with Dale Roberts as his assistant.

Burley spent eight years as manager of Ipswich and developed a reputation as a successful manager who crafted attractive, attacking teams.

George Burley had a spell at Mothwell during his career
Burley enjoyed a successful playing career as a right-back

But life as a manager at Portman Road did not get off to an easy start and in his first few months he was unable to keep Ipswich in the Premier League - suffering a humiliating 9-0 defeat at Manchester United on their way to relegation.

It was a difficult period for Burley but the experience did not deflect him from his principles and, after narrowly missing out on top-six finish in the 1995-96 season, he guided the team to four successive play-off campaigns.

Town were eliminated at the semi-final stage in the first three before eventually winning promotion back to the top flight with a 4-2 win over Barnsley at Wembley in 2000.

The following season ranks as the current high-water mark of Burley's managerial career.

In April 2001 Burley was crowned manager of the year after guiding Ipswich to fifth place in the Premiership and back into the Uefa Cup in their first season back in the Premier League after promotion.

Burley beat title winner Sir Alex Ferguson to the crown - and even came ahead of Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier, who won the Worthington Cup, Uefa Cup and FA Cup.

He was then handed a lengthy new contract and spoke of his ambitious plans to take Ipswich even further.

GEORGE BURLEY FACTFILE
1956: Born in Cumnock, Ayrshire, on 3 June
1973: Makes debut for Ipswich, going on to play for Sunderland, Gillingham, Motherwell, Ayr, Falkirk and Colchester
1979: A defender, he wins the first of 11 Scotland caps
1991: Becomes player-manager at Ayr Utd, eventually leaving in 1994 to take over at Colchester
1994: Becomes manager at Ipswich, winning promotion to Premiership and leading the club into Uefa Cup in 2001
2003: Takes over as interim manager of Derby when John Gregory is suspended, eventually becoming boss in his own right
2005: Appointed manager of Hearts by new owner Vladimir Romanov, Burley leaves after just four months
2005: Named Southampton boss

However, Ipswich lost England goalkeeper Richard Wright to Arsenal in a 6m deal, and Burley's spending did not pay off as they slumped into a long season of struggle towards inevitable relegation.

Matteo Sereni was not a successful successor to Wright, while a 3m deal for Nigeria's Finidi George did not prove a sound investment.

Ipswich beat Inter Milan at home in the Uefa Cup, but once the adrenalin of their European campaign evaporated, Burley's team was doomed.

A poor start to the 2002 season sealed Burley's fate at Portman Road but he turned up at Derby the following year and kept the Rams in the Championship.

In the 2004-05 season the team reached the Championship play-offs, a remarkable achievement for a side that had struggled the previous campaign, but Burley resigned in June after his relationship with the club's board had broken down.

Hearts came next for Burley, the Scot taking up a new challenge at Tynecastle less than a month after leaving Derby.

But Burley's tenure came to an abrupt end when he resigned in October amid rumours of an uneasy relationship with major shareholder Vladimir Romanov.

Hearts were top of the table when Burley walked out and had beaten Edinburgh rivals Hibernian 4-0 in the early stages of the season.

Burley's managerial stock remained relatively high and he accepted a coaching role at his current club Southampton in December 2005 following the departure of Harry Redknapp.

George Burley
Burley likes his teams to play attacking, attractive football

Initially head coach, Burley became manager in August 2006 after Sir Clive Woodward left the club but he has been unable to take Southampton back to the Premier League.

This failure is, in part, the result of more play-off heart ache for Burley, with his side losing a penalty shoot-out to his former club Derby in the 2006-07 Championship play-offs.

It would now seem that Burley will not be around at Saints to try to fulfil his brief of returning them to the Premier League.

Burley won 11 caps for Scotland and was a member of the 1982 World Cup squad in Spain.

The last time Scotland qualified for a major tournament was the 1998 World Cup finals in France.

Walter Smith and Alex McLeish have gone a long way to restoring the reputation of Scottish football after the wilderness years under Berti Vogts.

But if Burley was to end the Tartan Army's wait for a major finals it would rank as the greatest achievement of his career.



SEE ALSO
Burley appointed Scotland manager
24 Jan 08 |  Internationals
Managers hail Burley appointment
24 Jan 08 |  Internationals
Burley's career in photos
24 Jan 08 |  Football
Burley shoulders a nation's hopes
24 Jan 08 |  Internationals
Debate: Right man for Scotland?
22 Jan 08 |  Internationals
Saints unveil Burley as new coach
23 Dec 05 |  Southampton
Burley in shock exit from Hearts
22 Oct 05 |  Heart of Midlothian
Burley quits as manager of Derby
08 Jun 05 |  Derby County


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