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The Laws of Diminishing Returns

The Laws of Diminishing Returns

Media reports yesterday both locally and nationally suggested that Board Members were split over whether to keep Brian Laws as Burnley manager.

The Board met on Monday night to discuss the managerial situation but could not decide an outcome despite four hours of discussion according to an article by Suzanne Geldard in the Lancashire Telegraph yesterday. The paper also alleged that Kilby and one other director were in the pro-Laws camp with Flood and six other directors feeling it was time for a managerial change

The Club were quick to react to the media speculation and reports and issued the following statement on the Official Website:

'Contrary to inaccurate local and national media speculation, the Burnley Football Club board of directors wish to make it clear that Brian Laws' position as first team manager is not under threat.

'Laws met with club chairman Barry Kilby and operational director Brendan Flood to plan next season's player recruitment and budget, with a view to giving the club the best chance of returning to the Premier League.

'Brian Laws has two years remaining on the contract he signed in January 2010.'

The full story behind the speculation will probably never be known but on the principle that there is 'no smoke without fire` the media have continued to chip away coming up with their own take on the situation as everybody tries to fit the bits of the jigsaw puzzle together.

In an article in the Mirror published online late last night it was stated that Chief Executive, Paul Fletcher had joined forces with Operational Director, Brendan Flood to try and get a new manager in place by the start of next season. It would appear though that Barry Kilby had his way in the end despite having a minority of support from the Directors. In what the Mirror describes as a 'stay of execution` Laws has survived and will be given the first ten games of next season to prove he is the right man for the Clarets. I should also add at this point that the article was NOT written by Alan Nixon who seems to have some sort of mole working for him at Turf Moor if his recent accurate articles are anything to go by.

The Daily Telegraph today generally backs up the statements made in the Mirror and also adds that it has been made clear to Laws that the team must make a strong start to the 2010-11 campaign in order for his position to be secure beyond the opening weeks of the season. It would also appear that this compromise was reached after Kilby met with Flood on Wednesday morning.

The paper also suggest that former Hull City manager Phil Brown, Leicester`s Nigel Pearson and the Swansea manager Paulo Sousa all have support among those directors calling for Laws to be sacked and then they sensationally state Mark Hughes, sacked by Manchester City last December, has also been touted as an unlikely successor for Laws.

Suzanne Geldard in another article in the Lancashire Telegraph today does not appear to have backed down on the earlier statements of hers that led to the Club having to issue an official response. She does seem to have toned down some of the speculation though and now says:

"Barry Kilby has stuck to his guns and given his backing to boss Brian Laws, despite facing initial opposition from board members. Clarets chiefs met at Turf Moor on Monday night to discuss the next step following relegation after just one season in the Premier League, with the majority understood to be in favour of starting the search for a new manager straight away. "

In an interesting aside she also let slip that Kilby & Flood looked at 20 candidates to replace Owen Coyle in January before opting for Brian Laws as their preferred choice. That number struck a chord with me, in view of the timescales involved I thought they might only have been looking at a handful of options. Sean O`Driscoll obviously appeared to be in the frame but that was the only other name we seemed to be strongly linked with in the media at the time. Wouldn`t you just like to know who those other candidates were and what might have been?

However getting back to the issue at hand it seems clear now that Laws job is pretty secure at least for the pre-season and the first ten games or so of the new 2010-11 Season in the Championship but I think it is one of the daftest compromises possible and sends out all the wrong messages. The pressure for Laws to win will now be intolerable and the discontent of a vast number of fans will still be bubbling under the surface waiting to break out if the games do not go our way. Also as I said previously what are our new targets going to be thinking with all this uncertainty about the future of the manager? How many players would be happy coming to a club knowing that ten games down the line the manager could be out with a new one coming in?

I just think Barry Kilby has got this wrong and if the speculation is true he should have accepted the democratic vote on the Board and gone with the majority of the Board`s wishes. It is a weak decision in my opinion that serves no purpose other than to prop up a lame duck manager, a manager that now knows most of the Board do not back him and even worse that a sizeable number of fans also do not support him. He will now be under increased pressure to succeed. This really is a Megson waiting to happen and I just hope Brian Laws has the strength of character and technical expertise to prove his critics wrong but it really is both a big ask and a big risk. This wishy-washy compromise could significantly diminish our chances of getting promotion if it all goes tits-up.

Please note the Editorial comments and opinions on this site are the personal views of the Editor and should not be construed in any way to be representative of those of other Clarets organisations of which he belongs e.g. 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.

Date:Thursday May 13 2010
Time: 10:56AM


Stupid decision.Just had about enough of so called democracy after this and the cobbling together of the Con-Dem-Nation!
13/05/2010 11:01:00
I think that some of the board need to stand up and be counted, so what is kilby saying the board can discuss the running of the club but the final decision is Kilby's (my way or no way) like i said in a previous post laughing stock springs to mind. If Its true about the first ten games whether Laws stays or goes that just proves that Kilby has doubts about the manager.
13/05/2010 11:44:00
Curious as to what hard evidence there is that the Board has ever said anything about giving Laws 10 games to prove himself. If there is no hard evidence, then you would seem, TMP, to be judging the Board (in your usual perceptive and robust way) on a position that they haven't actually said they have reached, and which may therefore not be their position! Besides, where Laws finds himself is really no different from where other football managers find themselves: in command until they are no longer in command, and having thier every word picked over by the media's obsession with wheedling into cracks. Also... is Paul Fletcher a director? I thought not. And I suspect TMP that by now neither you nor Suzanne Geldart will be getting invites to Barry's World Cup Barbie!!! Suggestion for a new poll... Whcih will last longer: our Bri as BFC gaffer? Or Nick and David's swoonfest?
Couch Potato
13/05/2010 11:46:00
Personally, if Kilby runs the club like it would seem and ignores the wishes of the majority of his own directors I would have my own BBQ and invite everybody but Kilby along. Nobody has any hard evidence about anything, we can but try and piece together a very large jigsaw from what we read in the media and what the club issues. Whether Kilby has said ten games or not is pretty irrelevant because if we are struggling after 10 games next season,the fans will be baying for blood and the manager's position would be untenable. Why even risk it, when its clear Laws does not have the support of a number of the Directors?
13/05/2010 12:03:00
Fedup - I am not saying I agree with this ( because I dont) but if this '10 games' is true, could that not be seen as something of a compromise from Barry?
13/05/2010 12:03:00
CP do you think everything is rosey at board level because where I was sat they did not seem very united, and whether newspapers are telling the true story or not this is why a true statement from the Club would go a long way to stop all the crap whats being written if thats the case. I'm not a fan of Laws but I really feel sorry for the guy because come the start of the season if we go 1 or 2 goals down what will be the reaction of the fans.
13/05/2010 12:09:00
Does it matter who made the compromise? It still is one and as is generally the case with compromises they tend to produce the same effect ie inaction, weakness and ineffectiveness plus unhealthy deep-seated splits that will only build-up in intensity ? We surely need strong leadership here based on democracy not as Fed Up puts it 'my way or no way'
13/05/2010 12:14:00
Dale I agree that it could be a compromise for Bazzer but if Kilby is only going to give Laws 10 games he really has no confidence in his manager. Like I say lets have a true statement fron the Club reguarding the manager alot of the fans would understand the position of the board whether they are united or if there is a split.
13/05/2010 12:20:00
Whatever your view is on Laws,he clearly is damaged goods so wouldn't it be fairer for all concerned, majority of Board, fans and even Brian himself if he just left by mutual consent and took whatever compensation he was entitled to? Please don't tell me though they are holding onto him so they wont have to fork out the money until he fails? I bloody hope not
13/05/2010 12:29:00
Fed up I disagree with that. If Kilby wants him to stay and the rest want him to - Maybe Kilby has said give him 10 games and I am confident he will prove his worth - If he hasnt we will then replace him. As I say, I dont think that is the right thing to do ( and it may not be what has happened) but I think it could be argued that he is confident in Laws ability. He may be confident that within 10 games, Laws will have won round the rest of the board. Bottom Line is that we just dont know - and thats the way it should be. What happens in the board room - should stay there!
13/05/2010 12:32:00
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