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Page last updated at 16:23 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Burnley appoint Brian Laws as new manager


Laws targets away-form improvement

Burnley have appointed Brian Laws as manager on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

The 48-year-old former Clarets player, sacked by Championship side Sheffield Wednesday in December, succeeds Owen Coyle, who joined Bolton last week.

Laws, whose first game in charge is at Manchester United on Saturday, beat Doncaster's Sean O'Driscoll to the job.

"I have had an affinity with this club for a long time and I am honoured to have the privilege of managing them in the Premier League," said Laws.

He added on the club's website: "I am sure there are a lot of Burnley fans asking, 'Why Brian Laws?'

"Well let me tell you, I have followed Burnley since I was 16 years old, when I joined the club. This is a fantastic opportunity. Owen Coyle has done a fantastic job at this club. Nobody can ever take that away and I wouldn't want to even try.

"But at this moment in time he has dropped the baton and we want to pick it up with the supporters and drive on over the finishing line, which means we will have stayed in the Premier League.

"That is our drive and ambition and I will do everything in my power to achieve that because this great club is where it should be."

The first mission for Laws will be to ensure the Clarets do not get dragged into a relegation battle, with Burnley - in the top flight for the first time since 1976 and currently only two points above the drop zone - on 20 points after 20 games.

O'Driscoll was also approached as a potential successor to Coyle, having enjoyed success at Doncaster since 2006.


Laws was left as the front-runner when the Championship side revealed that enquiries had been made by a Premier League club for O'Driscoll's services but these were "now at an end".

But Burnley chairman Barry Kilby insisted that the former Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Owls boss was always his first choice as Coyle's replacement.

"We had several excellent candidates but Brian came out in front of the pack. We were impressed by his demeanour and his passion for Burnley as well as his record at Wednesday with success on a limited budget. Burnley being the size we are means we also have to keep to a budget so he was the exact fit for the job," stated Kilby.

"He also has a history of bringing young players through which is important to the ethos of Burnley Football Club."

BBC Sport's Football League pundit Steve Claridge said: "I think it is a surprise, when you look at what Laws did at Sheffield Wednesday, that he has had a disappointing year and got a Premier League job off the back of it.

"It doesn't show any lack of ambition by Burnley, it's just a very bizarre decision. I don't think with the way he left Wednesday that he would have been in many people's top 10 to get this job and I don't think we really know whether he will be able to step up to the top flight.

I've had experience in all the divisions but the one I was striving to get to is the Premier League. Just because managing there is not on my CV doesn't mean I cannot do the job

Brian Laws

"Finances have been tight during his time there but you would still have expected Wednesday to have done better than they did and he will have to prove himself quickly at Burnley."

Laws will be joined by his former Scunthorpe and Wednesday assistant Russ Wilcox while 38-year-old captain Graham Alexander will take up a new role as player-coach.

Laws will have youth director Martin Dobson and youth coach Terry Pashley alongside him on the bench against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Dobson and Pashley worked in tandem with Coyle before he left for Bolton and were named caretakers before Laws arrived.

Laws explained: "I have asked Martin and Terry to join the coaching team and work with us in the short term.

"They are both Burnley through-and-through and I know they have the utmost respect of the lads."

Laws was in charge for 154 matches at Hillsborough, winning 52, drawing 42 and losing 60, before a poor run of form cost him his job in December.

He started his playing career at Burnley after joining as a trainee in 1979 and went on to play for Huddersfield, Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest, Grimsby, Darlington and Scunthorpe in a 19-year career.

His managerial career kicked off with a two-year stint at Grimsby in 1994 before he took charge of Scunthorpe in 1997 and then the Owls in 2006.

Burnley's Brian Laws news conference in full

"I've been in the game in a long time and managed in over 700 games," added Laws. "I've had experience in all the divisions but the one I was striving to get to is the Premier League.

"Very few opportunities come along and, because of the ethos of Burnley and the way they want to play football, we are a perfect match.

"I want to be challenged and just because managing in the Premier League is not on my CV doesn't mean I cannot do the job."

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see also
Sheff Wed part company with Laws
13 Dec 09 |  Sheff Wed
Coyle 'emotional' at Burnley exit
11 Jan 10 |  Bolton
Coyle - Why I turned down Celtic
11 Jan 10 |  Celtic
Coyle takes over as Bolton boss
08 Jan 10 |  Bolton
Lowly Bolton sack manager Megson
30 Dec 09 |  Bolton
O'Driscoll named Doncaster boss
08 Sep 06 |  Doncaster

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