Is Brian Laws the correct appointment for Burnley?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010 ·

Burnley have confirmed the appointment of Brian Laws as their new manager after the departure of Owen Coyle to rivals Bolton. The news comes as a shock to many in the game, coming so soon after he was sacked as manager of Sheffield Wednesday following a poor run of form in December. The big question on everyone's lips today though is, “Is he the right man for the job?”
Under Coyle, Burnley have played some attractive football evident
especially in their FA Cup tie during the 2007-08 season against Arsenal; attractive, attacking and exciting football that had Arsenal on the ropes for much of the game. They ultimately lost that game 2-0 but this was a sign that Burnley could stand up to their Premier League rivals and compete.

It is this attacking and exciting football that the club and it's supporters have become used to with Coyle at the helm, and the board felt that this level of entertainment was important for the fans enough for them to appoint a former player in Brian Laws as Coyle's replacement. The Premier League is the pinnacle of English football in ways infinitely greater than just footballing terms but the board have decided against survival as being a top priority, releasing a statement that effectively admitted that their priority is to play attractive football instead of mere survival, “[W]e believe Brian will deliver a continuity of the culture to which Burnley fans and staff have become accustomed. As a former Burnley defender, he is especially familiar with the club, the traditions we have and the passion we all share.”
Laws' managerial record does not suggest he will bring success or, indeed, keep Burnley in the Premier League as he has never been tested at this level, his successes coming in Division 3 in 1998-99 and Division 2 in 2004-05, where his record in 131 matches was 55 wins, 37 draws and 39 losses, a win percentage of just under 42%. At Hillsborough, Laws was in charge for 154 matches, winning 52, drawing 42 and losing 60, a win percentage of just over 33%. Hardly stats worthy of taking over a Premier League club but it is Laws' status as a former player familiar with the club and its style and the fact that the club hired Deloitte and Touche to study managers in the top-flight, allegedly confirming laws as the best manager in 2008-2009 “delivering the best results relative to financial budgets.
For the two years Alan Irvine spent at Preston North End his record in 111 matches, winning 45, drawing 26 and losing 40 – a win percentage of just over 40% in the Championship. Sean O'Driscoll has a similar record with Doncaster in League One, having a win percentage of just over 40% from 177 games. Peter Reid was also mentioned but with the Burnley board prioritising style over substance the likelihood of Reid taking over would be very slim indeed. Comparing statistics is easy but it is ultimately the Burnley board's decision to go with a former player with experience of over 700 games as a manager under his belt that they felt would be of more benefit to their club. Only time will tell whether they will rue that decision and pragmatism becomes an-all important word on the terraces and in the boardroom.


NFL Draft said...
14 January 2010 at 00:32  


Anonymous said...
14 January 2010 at 10:55  

With pragmatism dominating the minds of most Prem teams, it is rfreshing to see a club decide against such an approach but I agree that only time will tell if Laws is a decent appointment. Plus it is good to see lower league managers getting a shot at the big time.

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