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Burnley X-Files: Laws of the Irish!

Premier Division of the League of Ireland, Shamrock Rovers have announced that former Burnley gaffer, Brian Laws is to become their new Director of Football until the end of the season following Stephen Kenny`s dismissal last week.

Chairman Jonathan Roche said Laws will work with assistant manager Stephen Glass and the rest of the current managerial team while Rovers continue their hunt for Kenny`s replacement.

"We have six important league games and the EA Sports Cup final coming up over the next month and a half, and Brian is coming in to help the existing back room staff to do as well as possible in those games," Roche said.

"Bringing Brian in also gives the club some breathing space to take our time to pick the next manager. Brian`s experience in the game will help us very much in the short term, and he has recruited many players from Ireland so he is not a stranger to the league."

Brian Laws was appointed as the new manager of Burnley in January 2010 following the high-profile departure of Owen Coyle to Bolton. He was not going to endear himself to the Burnley fanbase despite having previously played for the club as a popular player.

He left Turf Moor after being sacked in December 2010 having failed to keep the club in the Premier League and then struggling to keep the fans happy in the Championship.

Laws has also recently been critical about the sacking in his autobiography 'Laws of the Jungle`. He described his Turf Moor sacking as the "most hurtful parting" of his career after accusing the Burnley board of not being strong enough during his troubled tenure.

He also admitted the reaction towards him by the fans was "heartbreaking" and revealed he was asked to step down by then chairman Barry Kilby during a phone conversation from America that lasted 'a minute`. In the book, he wrote: "It still rankles as the most hurtful period of my career. It was the shortest phone conversation you can imagine.

"If I said it only lasted a minute that would not be overstating the case.

"We never spoke again. About an hour later, Burnley put an announcement that I was leaving. I was disappointed both with the decision and manner of it.

"I thought I had a better working relationship and understanding with the club than that. For all my love for the club over many years, this wasn`t a pleasant experience. The supporters upset me and I was dismayed at the way it ended from the club`s point of view.

"Brendan`s (Flood) reasoning was that if we lost again, the supporters would turn on the board. I thought they would have been stronger than that. We were on target for the play offs.

"Change doesn`t necessarily equal progress and what was so galling for me was that the board could have had been more supportive, especially as I was on target for our objective."

Speaking about his new appointment, Laws said:

"I am delighted to be joining Shamrock Rovers and look forward to working with the chairman, board of directors, players, staff and supporters to move the club forward into a new era.

"I have significant football managerial experience having taken charge of over 800 league games in all four divisions in England. I aim to bring that experience with me to advise, guide and lead the club`s short-term strategy.

'My strengths include getting to know clubs from top to bottom and leading change where necessary, at all times identifying and building on the club`s strengths, culture and brand. I am delighted to be accepting the challenge and can`t wait to get going."

If you say so Brian!

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The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 17 2012

Time: 4:43PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Just wonder if anybody thinks we were too harsh on Laws in hindsight?
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17/09/2012 16:52:00

We were too harsh on Laws. Most fans did not want him from the start and some did not let go of that making his position more difficult than it needed to be. I am not saying he would have been a success at Turf, but he could have been helped by the fans more than he was.
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17/09/2012 17:07:00

We shall never know but the bigger question is why Laws was never accepted and that is for one simple reason..he was not Owen Coyle ie did not have the charisma! If you stretch me to two reasons, the other was a blatant lack of ambition by the Board. Did we really choose Brian over AVB?
Report Abuse
17/09/2012 17:28:00

Brian Laws was an accountant's appointment. The cheapest manager we could get. I feel sorry for him but do not think he was helped by the Board and was not really up to it. Good luck in his new job.
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17/09/2012 17:43:00

Were the fans to harsh no, Laws was paid a very good salary and a three year contract by the gutless Board to take the heat of Kilby and the Board, according to Fletcher AVB was too much of a risk so let’s throw money at Laws, Jesus wept.
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17/09/2012 18:30:00

I have not read any of the books mentioned but I do know how much we would have had to pay for AVB to release him from his contract and Porto paid less that summer to take him to Porto and that was a 7 figure sum!!! He was never a realistic replacement or a candidate. Laws was treated poorly and I agree with his words quoted above, perhaps the fact he had pleaded with Kilby to sign Jack Cork before we couldn't afford him, will always be overlooked too. Laws was doomed from the moment it was written he was an accountants choice, imo.
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17/09/2012 18:56:00

Brian Laws never stood a chance at Burnley. I was there to witness that shockingly inexcusable display by that Burnley team against Scunthorpe. It was clear Laws had lost the dressing room and the fans. Still feel sorry for the man as he had genuine affection for the club. I wish him well in his new job.
Grimsby Claret
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17/09/2012 19:47:00

Agree Grimsby. The fans never wanted him and some were vocally on his back before the end of February. Whether the board were wrong to appoint him is in my opinion irrelevant to the question of him being harshly treated.
Report Abuse
17/09/2012 20:17:00

When is this club going to realise cheap does not equal success? Well OK at least 9 times out of ten. Of course if they strike lucky one in ten seasons, they can say we told u so and the gullible 'positives' will lap it up before we start another ten year cycle of mediocrity!
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17/09/2012 22:18:00

Of course we never wanted him but he still had to be successful and he didnt have the motivational skills to do it after Coyle left to do the business! Isn't that a manager's job?
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17/09/2012 22:20:00

As is often the case I find myself nodding in agreement at VR's comments. Brian Laws, as TMP suggests, paid the price for not being Owen Coyle. I think he inherited a team too that had over-achieved and once results started suffering he never stood a chance. No managers do these days - three wins on the bounce and you are a genius, three defeats and you're a clown. I hope Laws succeeds in Ireland - he is a decent enough man and deserves a chance to restore his reputation.
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17/09/2012 22:35:00

Yes, agree totally with that RT!
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17/09/2012 22:58:00

Motivational skills and cheap does not equal success (as written above). EH has been unable to motivate Jay to stay, Eagles and Mears to stay, McCann and Pato to sign extensions? EH has been unable to convince good players to come to the club. Motivationally he has failed to get Treacy to buckle down to the job, Bikey to want to play for him and I am not sure how long it will be before Ben Mee realises the manager signed him on a false promise, I certainly don't believe Ben is our 4th choice centre back. Laws has every right to be bitter it was not his fault he was offered the job and then we go for an even cheaper option manager and every body is happy to give him years?? There does not appear to be a logic to some of the words written, e.g. Porto had probably pre signed AVB before he applied for the Burnley job, what happened in 4 months to warrant Porto putting a £13 million release clause in AVB's contract......oh yes he failed to get the Burnley job(tic) and perhaps £13 million would put Burnley off coming back for him but not Chelski!!
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18/09/2012 09:31:00

VR I agree with what you have put. It was not Laws fault he was offered the job. Most fans didnt want him and some fans made that clear ( therefore making his job harder in my opinion) from the start. I would imagine managing a football club is a difficult enough job as it is, without having to battle against your own fans as an extra!
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18/09/2012 12:11:00

Of course, just to throw a spanner in the works, there have been quite a few players and pundits in English football who have said that AVB doesn't have people-management skills. Before he got the Spurs job, Shearer said on telly that it would be madness to give it to him, given what Chelsea players had said about his management style. Before the Reading win, a few Spurs fans were beginning to agree. But, of course, VR won't agree... which to me just points up the fact that to say this manager has got people-management skills and that one hasn't rather over-simplifies things. I'm reading the BEAST book. Brian reckons Coyle had people-management skills. But is that just because he was the one manager to give Brian a regular first team jersey? I continue to argue that Coyle lacked SUSTAINABLE people-management skills. Too matey. Too soundbitey. Is that charisma? If so, you can keep it. His CV shows no evidence at all of it having worked for long. I think he learned his lesson after Burnley, and has a more restrained approach now. But that doesn't seem to be working for more than a couple of seasons either! So I remain of the view that Coyle was not as good as made out, and Laws was not as bad as made out. Could someone remind me where Coyle's Burnley team were in the table in mid-January? Eddie? I find the idea of JR leaving because of lack of motivation from his manager odd. Did Ronaldo leave MU because of Fergie's lack of motivation? Becks would probably say yes, and given that there have been stories of both Fergie and Laws throwing things, maybe the comparison is valid! But that would be ridiculous. Who knows?
Couch Potato
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19/09/2012 14:22:00

The BEAST book, that I mentioned in the above post, is very good, by the way. It gives a fascinating close-up on all sorts of things that can happen in a week in a professional footballer's life. It also has some good anecdotes about Brian Jensen before he arrived at BFC and since, and sheds light on his coming of age in working-class Copenhagen. It presents Brian and his family as the sort of people you would love to have as your neighbours.
Couch Potato
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20/09/2012 12:01:00


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