Burnley - Laws Faces Split Board Over His Future
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Laws Faces Split Board Over His Future

A revealing article in the Lancashire Telegraph today suggests the Board are split over whether to retain the services of current manager, Brian Laws or not next season with the majority in favour of a change.

Back in January both Barry Kilby and Brendan Flood appeared confident that they had appointed the right replacement for Owen Coyle.

Coyle had stabbed the club in the back by accepting the offer to manage Bolton and not only that but he had taken the whole of the backroom staff with him.

Those defections appeared to take the heart and soul out of the Club and players alike and it would certainly be a difficult task for any manager to take over in those circumstances.

Brian Laws was eventually appointed and the decision justified based on an accountants report from Deloitte and Touche suggesting he had the best record for managing Championship clubs on low budgets. Clarets fans though treated his appointment with indifference with some openly criticising the Board for their lack of ambition pointing out we were playing in the Premier League now and that Laws had no experience in the top flight.

Although most Clarets fans were willing to give our former player and new manager a chance, as the second half of the season unfolded it was clear all was not well.

Rumours of unrest in the dressing room were compounded by a poor run of form where we just could not seem to win either at home or away. Crucially those performances in the main were lacklustre and a lot of the time lacked grit and passion culminating in the defeat at home to our deadly rivals Blackburn Rovers. In 18 Premier League games, the team could only muster three wins and one draw; poor form which ensured our relegation back down to the Championship after just one season in the top flight.

Laws was clearly struggling at Premier League level and looked out of his depth. Of course it didn`t help his image to also have been sacked previously by Championship side, Sheffield Wednesday, a club that ultimately too would face relegation. Not many managers have been involved with two clubs in one season both of which were ultimately relegated! The unrest amongst Clarets fans has recently spilled over onto the pitch with a few 'Laws out` banners spotted at our last game of the season against Spurs at Turf Moor on Sunday but perhaps more worryingly was also the booing of the manager both during the game and even during the post-match lap of honour. This of course too was despite the impressive 4-2 victory over the Champions League qualifiers.

The big question now being asked by Clarets fans is whether Brian Laws will still be our manager come August when we kick-off our campaign in the Championship with a view to returning immediately to the Premier League at our first attempt.

The answer to that based on an article in the Lancashire Telegraph today by Suzanne Geldard would appear to still be unclear.

The Board met on Monday night to discuss the managerial situation and could not decide an outcome despite four hours of discussion. They were clearly split on the issue with Barry Kilby and Brendan Flood in two separate camps.

It would appear Chairman, Barry Kilby and one other director pleaded the case for Laws defence whilst Operational Director, Brendan Flood and six other directors clearly wanted him to be found guilty and discharged of his duties. The majority vote may force the issue by the end of the week.

Even Barry Kilby though does not appear to be totally convinced with an indication that he would prefer to give Laws just ten games next season to prove his worth.

I have to say that could be the worst of both worlds. We now have to rebuild a squad in the close season for our promotion challenge in 2010/11 and surely we have to decide whether we can trust Brian Laws to deliver the goods depending on the amount of money he is given from the parachute payments and any player sales. What sort of message does Kilby's idea send out to new potential players coming in? Oh by the way if you sign for us, the gaffer could be sacked after ten games?

The more I think about this dilemma the more I think we need a quick decision which should be one of two options with no fuzzy half-way house. Either show total faith behind Laws and get on with it or bring in a new manager and quickly. I just can`t see the first option working with far too many on the Board already doubtful and the second option would certainly clear the air as far as a number Clarets fans are concerned.

If we stick with Laws, I will say what I have always said give him until Christmas but there is a risk with that if he fails in the first part of the season having spent some or all of the parachute money.

I would prefer a new manager because I think it would give the majority of fans a buzz and make them all look forward to next season without the 'Laws Out` baggage bubbling under the surface all the time.

The LT article also ends with the suggestion that both Phil Brown currently on managerial gardening leave at Hull City and Swansea City manager Paulo Sousa are bring tipped to potentially replace Laws.

Interesting times but for heaven`s sake let`s put this one to bed this week so we are clear where we are and can start preparing for next season.

The Club have since issued a statement on the Official Site claiming that the local and national media reports are inaccurate whilst clarifying that Brian Laws position as manager is not under threat.

Please note the Editorial comments and opinions on this site are the personal views of the Editor and should not be construed in anyway to be representative of those of other Clarets organisations of which he belongs eg Clarets Trust. This applies to both the front page articles and posts in any of the forums

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday May 12 2010

Time: 12:01PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Interesting split, you would have thought based on Flood's book it would have been him championing Laws cause rather than Kilby. Kilby though is showing his characteristic trait I think to be cautious giving everyone a fair chance. I am though sadly not convinced Kilby has this one right and if the numbers against are 7:2,it looks like Laws days may be numbered
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12/05/2010 12:06:00

Where does the LT have this information from thought TMP - how reliable can we say it to be? I also am surprised to hear it is Kilby wanting him to stay and Flood to go - I thought the views were the other way round? The main point I agree with in your article is their being 'no fuzzy half way'. He either stays, or he goes. Keeping him and 'seeing how he does for ten games' would be the worst all round in my opinion.
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12/05/2010 12:10:00

Could have been leaked Dale by the anti vote! That would kind of force the issue dont you think?
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12/05/2010 12:13:00

Now on officual site that the media speculation was nonsense and that the club won't make a further statement and that Laws position is not under threat. Doesn't sound like the LT journo Suzanne Geldard will be getting an invite to Barry's World Cup barbies this time around!
Couch Potato
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12/05/2010 12:39:00

You couldn't make it up. The club have now issued a statement saying Laws job is safe and the local media reports are wrong. The LT must have had a vivid imagination to make all that up.Stil at least we appear to have a decision but not one that is likely to keep a lot of Clarets fans happy. Wonder what happens if we play ten games next season and we haven't done well?
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12/05/2010 12:42:00

Just seen on Sky Sports News that Laws has the backing of the board and its on the Clubs official site that he is stopping, this is my own view its a disgrace leaving Law in charge to try and get the Club back in the Prem. Do the board and Laws not see that most of the fans don't want him the mans a complete joke they need to look at the position of Sheffield Wed at this point in time. When it goes T**s up Kilby needs to look at himself because this is not in the best interest for BFC.
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12/05/2010 12:45:00

You couldn't make it up...? Let's invite Suzanne to the Vital Burnley World Cup barbie and ask her how she made it up. We could offer her a choice of sauces for her next big stories!!!
Couch Potato
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12/05/2010 12:45:00

The decision to keep Laws (just confirmed by the club website) is a shrewd one indeed. He will be given 10 games to show his (lack of) worth, will be sacked by mid December and we can then recruit someone in a similar boat on the cheap, who has experience of managing teams in Div 1 and wonderul stats on Flood's lastest report. Favourites, if they too have poor starts: Alan Pardew or Alan Irvine? Cant help think the board have bottled it or perhaps Flood and Kilby have agreed a "progressive alliance" despite their differences?
Eyresy's Left Peg
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12/05/2010 12:46:00

I think they have bottled it and that the decision will prove to be the wrong one, not so much because Laws might not be able to turn it round,he might, although his record does not give you much confidence that he will, but because there is and always will be a significant number of Clarets fans waiting to pounce should anything go tits-up. It's a risky strategy and a compromise that is probably doomed to failure just like the Lib Dem/Tory pact
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12/05/2010 13:05:00

I hope the fans show there appreciation for the spineless decision by the board to keep Laws as manager with a lot of anger.
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12/05/2010 13:08:00

That will be a big help !
bernie lee
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12/05/2010 13:11:00

What will be,will be! Fans are not happy and you wont be able to stop the discord on the pitch even if you dont condone it like me! Megson suffered at the hands of the Bolton fans and the club ultimately saw fit to replace him. I just hope this is not another 'Megson' waiting to happen but if it is then I hope we get someone in that this time is appointed for all the right reasons not cheapness and lack of ambition. They are storing up potential trouble I think everybody can see that whether you want to give Laws a chance or not. Laws wil only be able to answer his critics if we start looking like promotion candidates before Christmas and I am not sure the pressure he will be under is even fair. I wish him well though
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12/05/2010 13:23:00

Just another lie to sell newspapers. unless you can prove there was a split.???
Grimsby Claret
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12/05/2010 13:27:00

This seems far too detailed to have made it up but the LT and Club do have an uneasy relationship at times. We will probably never know the source. Was it just made up in such fine detail or was it leaked by someone at the club with a vested interest in trying to remove Laws?
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12/05/2010 13:33:00

I do hope you are not suggesting i'm wanting to give Laws a chance ??
bernie lee
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12/05/2010 13:47:00

CORRECTION... I said earlier "Let's invite (LT journalist) Suzanne to the Vital Burnley World Cup barbie and ask her how she made it up. We could offer her a choice of sauces for her next big stories!!!" What I meant to say was 'we could offer her a choice of sauces for her next Whopper.'
Couch Potato
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12/05/2010 14:03:00

I find it hard to believe that 9 Drectors all with opinions don't all share the one opinion.....In all my years of 9 men committees I can't recall the last time we were not all of the same opinion.....not rocket science and I bet some did not agree that 700,000 is an investment in the pitch worth making.....how we laughed
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12/05/2010 15:46:00

I don't understand this 10 game nonsense , or is that a part of the rumour/fantasy island stuff from Suzanne Geldard, who Couch is inviting to a barbie? It's got to be one thing or the other, and if they have confirmed his appointment on the official site then I hope that's an end to all this. It's down to laws then to show that the team are behind him, and to bring in the quality reinforcements that will put us in the top 4 at the very least before people get a chance to get on his back.
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12/05/2010 15:46:00

I cannot wait to see what amount of money Kilby and Flood are giving Laws to bring the players in for next season to push for promotion ?. I would like someone off Vital to explain the comments made by Laws we are trimming the squad because its to big for the championship, so we have released four first team players and four loan players back to there Clubs. So if we are trimming the squad how many players are we planning to bring in?.
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12/05/2010 16:37:00

There seems to be some confusion over our current squad size. before the announced changes there were 31 names mentioned on the back of the Spurs Claret&You but a lot of the first year pros are not mentioned. I think the intention will be to have a squad of say 23-25 (not counting 1st year pros) and that may include some loans. Out of that 31, three loans have gone back to parent clubs (Cork,Nugent & Nimani), four have been released (Caldwell, Jordan, Weaver & Kay) and one is van der Schaaf. That leaves 23. Eagles will probably go so if the rest stay we have 22. That list though includes Penny & Alex McDonald. Ireckon we are going to need to bring in 5-6 new faces and perhaps more if we finishi up selling more of our players
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12/05/2010 16:56:00

So if Blake and the rest who have been offered new contracts decide to jump ship it could be that we need at least 10 and thats without the arsewipe from Bolton coming with 30 pieces of gold. So what do we think the nine wise men of Brunley FC are going to give Laws at least 5 mill to spend because I think it was the comment Laws said its the quality not the quantity.
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12/05/2010 17:24:00

I guess it depends also on how much we receive for the likes of Eagles plus any of the others if we are keen to do 'good business' again. Just hope this time any 'good business' isn't to the detriment of the squad. Parachute payments are going to be what 12-16 m? If this typically tight-fisted Board surprise everybody and let Laws have the full whack we should have a decent chance of building a good strong squad but too much is up in the air at the moment to comment with any confidence
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12/05/2010 17:37:00

Well the amount of transfer money given to laws will determine how confident the board with the backing of Laws.
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12/05/2010 18:07:00

It will be an interesting summer
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12/05/2010 18:50:00

It will be an interesting summer. I think what Laws was on about with the squad is that we had a lot of dead weight and we did. Out of the squad how many have played? I think what he was getting at is that we need to get rid of those that don't play, keep those that do and add to that with quality. I think a squad of 24 to 26 will be fine, cover for every position and some extra's.
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12/05/2010 19:06:00

Looks like the money men at the Turf are truly ambitious. could be playing Stanley on level terms before long (assuming Stanley don't get promoted).
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13/05/2010 02:36:00

The number of extra games is a point to remember whe we talk about the squad size. There are 46 games (without the assorted cup games) in the championship. Not sure if 24 or 5 will cover it. Then again there is a transfer window?
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13/05/2010 08:06:00

If Laws does stay on, which seems to look likely at the moment (unless the Board's confidence in him is the dreaded 'kiss of death' )then one idea might be to give him half the money now, see how he gets on with that and if we are looking good by Xmas, give him the rest for Jan window! This is not my idea but was suggested to me over a pint or nine by Barnsey. It does have some merit but then the problem is will that first stash of money be enough to give us a decent squad to being pushing for promotion by Xmas in the first place? Tough call and some tough decisions to make. We won't really know until we know if the four offered contracts are staying or going plus who will be wanting a move (Eagles etc). Once we know the squad remaining, we might know how much money we need to rebuild
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13/05/2010 08:36:00

Ths is an interesting article in the Mirror suggesting Fletcher was on Flood's side to get shut (NB Article NOT by Nixon)-'Laws has survived an attempt by some figures at Turf Moor to sack him and will be given the first ten games of next season to prove he is the right man for the Clarets. He has hung on thanks to the support of chairman Barry Kilby, who backed him during a four-hour meeting on Monday night in the face of calls from the likes of money man Brendan Flood and chief executive Paul Fletcher to axe him. Flood and Fletcher were responding to calls from some fans for Laws' head in the wake of his dismal return of just three wins from his 19 games in charge as the club slipped back down to the Championship. However, the anti-Laws faction backed down when the board could not come to a unanimous decision' Looks like indecision and compromise has won the day which I cant see being healthy for the club. Someone really does need to have the balls to stop pfaffing about. You surely must know now whether you want the manager or not and if the majority of the directors say they dont where is the democracy in backing down? If you were a new player potentially interested in coming to Burnley FC in the close season, what would you be thinking about this uncertainty?
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13/05/2010 09:26:00

Any new players thinking of coming to the Turf maybe thinking.....Owen Coyle told these players loyalty, money must not be your reason for wanting to play for me, integrity etc.......and then he buggered off having sold them all a pack of lies to further his own career...so any new players must be thinking imo Do I want to play for Burnley on the terms they are offering?...full stop.
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13/05/2010 09:50:00

If Its true Phil reguarding the first 10 games surely thats telling me that even Kilby has doubts about the manager, and your last point about attracting new players regurading the managers future will be a big issue for incoming players.
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13/05/2010 09:59:00

Correct me if I'm wrong this why you have body of men or women who discuss matters and then take a vote and the majority wins thats it and not Kilby view (Its my way or I'm taking my bat and ball home) don't you think this sort of thing comes under laughing stock, thats if all the comments are true.
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13/05/2010 10:17:00

I don't think it does come under the heading of 'laughing stock', even if the comments are true. It sounds to me like the Board is doing its job of exchanging views, considering options and making decisions. In such groups those who have put in the most time and money do carry extra weight. It's more a democracy based on investment than on headcount. I reckon it's much better than having one all-powerful leader, but that can have advantages too. Changing subject, I agree with what TMP has reported as Barnsey's suggestoin... that we don't spend all the money now, but save some for Xmas, as (a) fans like to see some actoin then (b) it allows for change in the event of unexpected things happening, like serious injuries, major loss of form, etc. Finally... the 'ten game' concept... personally I think this is just something that's being said to appease the sizeable and very vocal group of fans who see things very differently from where the Board ended up, after debate, and after looking at a lot more info than is available to any of the fans. I really don't think it's a rigid plan. BUT, if the Board do decide they want to make change, I would expect it will happen between mid-Oct and early Nov, so they can bring in a new person with time for them to get acquanted before the Jan window opens. In reality, Laws finds himself in a position that's much the same as those of all football club managers.
Couch Potato
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13/05/2010 11:05:00

This is a guess, but I would have thought the Laws agenda item never went to a vote for one obvious reason, if BK was supporting BL then it would follow that BK no longer had the backing of his fellow Directors and he maybe then forced to stand down as Chairman. Now this would allow the Big Money backers waiting in the wings to take over the club, borrow and invest and make tmp happy.
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13/05/2010 14:01:00


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