Brian Laws the football equivalent to marmite! you either love him or hate him, what ever your opinion he is here to stay! 2009/10 after the shock departure of the man we all named 'God' Owen Coyle, the man who came into the firing line was our former trainee Brian Laws.
As the dust settled on Burnley's relegation from the top flight after just one season, fingers started pointing, and the first stop was Laws, the man who was given the unenviable task of filling 'Gods' shoes. Very few men could have come in and done better, Coyle was building the future with players with potential like 'Big' Kev McDonald. Kevin Long, David Edgar, Eckersley, Easton and Diego Penny. The trouble Laws had was the established players seemed to take a kick in the balls when Coyle left, thier performances seemed to suffer as a result and with that the results on the field could not replicate those at the start of the season, where 'Gods' team beat the likes of Manchester United and Everton!
Rumours were rife with stories hitting Internet message board dressing room unrest, player unrest, a tactically inept manager, players going above the management and straight to the chairman ! well, Laws stuck at it, and with it started to build a team, his team !
Out went Joey who basically ended his own time at Turf Moor with comments about Laws in the press, Caldwell who played the last two games of a injury plagued season but did not do enough to warrant a contract renewal, Blake who told anyone who would listen he didn't want to leave Turf Moor, left, the contract of one year with a pay to play second was not what the ageing striker wanted, he joined Owen Coyle at Bolton. Remco van der Shaaf has been given an 18 month loan deal basically ending his time at the Turf, Recent acquisition from north of the border Nicky Weaver left, after inept performances in the reserves. Steven Jordan who never won over the Claret faithful fully left on a free agent, last seen being hit by a truck before a trial at Crystal Palace then turning up the next day for a trial with relegated Portsmouth, before ending up with our play-off opponents Sheffield United.
Burnley and Laws raked in almost seven million pounds for top scorer Steven Fletcher as Mick McCarthy took Steven south to Wolverhampton Wanderers. With the loanees Namini, Cork and Nugent all returning to AC Monaco, Chelsea and Portsmouth. Jack Cork later returning on a season long loan.
So with the squad culled Laws payed out for Marney from Hull City an energetic tigerish midfielder, Chris Iwelumo the much travelled Scottish forward was next in, a hard working forward who unfortunately will be remembered in his international career for his miss against Denmark.
Ross Wallace was next in following in the footsteps of Graham Alexander, by traveling down the M65 from Preston North End, a left winger with attitude, more importantly a player witch has reinvigorated the Claret faithful, and a player who will give the Clarets natural balance.
Bury, Oldham, Accrington Stanley and Stoke City give Laws' Burnley a pre season test and a round the world trip to Singapore, where Craig Mawson was given a place in the squad covering for injured Diego Penny, and Alex-Ray Harvey given his chance in the sun, the young classy midfielder who ran the show in the midfield for the reserves on so many occasions will I'm sure give the manager a selection conundrum.
The season started well a victory over one of the promotion favorites Nottingham Forest (1-0), beating Leicester City (3-0) a fantastic 4-3 victory over Neighbors Preston North End with a hat-trick from Chris Iwelumo, defeat away at Swansea (0-1) but creditable draws against Ipswich and Crystal Palace (1-1 and 0-0) gave the Clarets a fantastic platform for what should be a successful season under Laws.
Closure, on 21st September 2010 fate brought Owen Coyle back to Turf Moor, and with it brought over seventeen and a half thousand supporters through the turnstiles, Home made signs calling our former manager 'Judas' and 'liar' were constantly being confiscated by stewards. Owen himself had a security ring around him and his assistants of no fewer than eight burly security guards who shadowed Coyle from his arrival till his departure.
The game itself was a victory for Brian Laws, as he had his Burnley side play the best football of he short time in charge, a 1-0 win courtesy of a Wade Elliott volley before half time was enough, and the beginning of a new dawn. Exit Coyle and enter Brain Laws, the season is about to begin.
As the season progressed under Brian Laws, it was clear for all to see that no matter what Laws did he would never have 100% support from the Clarets faithful.
Burnley as a squad continued what they did so well in the premiership and only managed the one victory on the road, a 2-1 victory over Barnsley on Boxing day. The same bunch of players could not manage back to back victories in a pretty average Championship (although Brian Laws argues that Burnley never suffered back to back defeats! ).
The final straw came after the home match against struggling Scunthorpe United, a game where Burnley expected to run riot. Burnley were humiliated 0-2! and with that the writing was pretty much on the wall, as the papers reported the following day 'Barry Kilby rang Laws to ask him to stand down' . He did with immediate affect.
Terry Pashley once again was on hand to step into the void behind Stuart Gray, the first team coach Laws brought to Burnley, with a third man Graham Alexander on the pitch. Gray, Pash and Grezza all pitted thier wits against Play off opponents Sheffield United, and whatever was said before hand the players certainly reacted winning 4-2 and looking like the team we all expected back in August.
Laws did leave Burnley with some great memories, the defeat of Owen Coyles Bolton in the League Cup and the 4-3 victory at home to Preston, not to mention beating Barnsley on thier own soil for the first time in over 70 years.
Under Stuart Gray, Pash and Grezza Burnley won 2, drew 1 and lost 1, the wins against Sheffield United and Port Vale (in the FA Cup) both by 4-2 scorelines. A creditable draw against league leaders Queens Park Rangers (0-0), Lee Grants first clean sheet of the season. Burnley under the Caretakers lost away to Reading 1-2 as the only blemish.
Forum's, Papers, Message Boards and local news reports and rumours were changing almost by the hour as Burnley's search for a new manager started. Once again Preston North End parted with thier manager around the same time, with Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic all joining us in the manager hunt.
Burnley released a press statement, declaring that there was six in the running, we all guessed to whom these six were Sam Allardyce recently sacked (for strange reasons) at Blackburn was one in the running, Paul Lambert from Norwich (whom Burnley had permission to speak turned down). Malky MacKay from Watford another name constantly mentioned, Derek McInnes from St Johnstone was linked also.
All the names that have been mentioned apart from Lambert were just rumours according to the official site, Phil Brown took the job at Preston, so that ruled him out early doors.
So the only name, which was constantly reported, was Bournemouth's young enterprising manager Eddie Howe, But even that took more turns than an expensive scalextric! the week he signed for Burnley, the Monday he was offered both the Palace and Charlton positions (reportedly), he declared he was going to stay on a Bournemouth on Tuesday. By Thursday, Burnley spoke with him, and the Claret post was one he said was far too good an opportunity to turn down.
Eddie Howe said his goodbyes live on Sky when Bournemouth travelled to Colchester on Friday night (14 Jan) and he was in the stands at Burnley on Saturday the 15th with Barry Kilby, signing shortly after the game.
Burnley had played the game and got their man, the only one on the reported list which would unify the Claret faithfull, something Brian Laws was never likely to do, as for some Laws' appointment was wrong to start with.
Scunthorpe United the team what saw Laws last game in charge, were also the team what saw Eddie Howe took his baptism as Burnley chief. It ended with another clean sheet for Lee Grant but we failed to score ourselves 0-0 was the result for his fist game in charge.
With Burnley's dire away form still hanging over our heads Eddie Howe took the Clarets south to face former manager Steve Cotterill's Portsmouth, a game which saw Dean Marney score with an overhead kick! yeah an overhead kick, maybe thats how he should shoot in the future with his back to goal? who knows, but it was just the second away win of the season, It took Brian Laws nine attempts to do, Eddie took just two games to chalk up an away win.
Burnley were looking good value for at least a play-off place with the new man at the helm, Eddie took 10 points out of a possible 16 in February including wins against promotion chasing Norwich and Watford, a creditable draw in Cardiff and the battle of the M65 coridoor ending in a 2-1 Victory over PNE.
March started well enough 1-0 wins over Palace and Hull (away), but Burnleys promotion chase hit a bad patch, a humiliating 3-0 reverse at home to Millwall and a 2-0 tonking at Bristol City. Burnley had to thank Jay Rodriguez for rescuing a point at home to struggling Coventry Burnley scraping a 2-2 draw.
Burnley's all but dropped out of the promotion frame when three defeats in three games, Ipswich, Leicester and Forest being the victorious sides winning 2-1,4-0 and 2-0.
It wasnt till one of the form teams in the division came to Turf Moor a game where it had everythng, pace, skill, guile of the Swans, Burnley resiliance and a 1000th competative game for Alexander who with the last kick of the game almost got Burnley a third, but with and Eagles penalty and an own goal from Williams 2-1 would be suffice to get the Claret faithful looking at the run in with an air of optimisum.
Chris Eagles scored twice as Burnley came from behind to defeat Derby on thier own patch and it was all in Eddie Howes and Burnley own hands for a play-off place, but Cotterill and Nugent who came to Turf Moor on bank holiday monday and stole a point, Burnley played some great football but the end came with a goal form last seasons claret hero Nugent with a goal against the run of play, and Cotterills resolve as to not to get beat at any cost, another Eagles goal equalised but a 1-1 draw made we had to rely on Foerst slipping up(they didnt).
A defeat at Elland Road (1-0) live on Sky, and a 1-1 draw against a Craig Bellamy inspired Cardiff City on the last day of the season saw Burnley looking to the heavens thinking what might have been, or even what should have been!
Charlie Austin was bought from Swindon for an undislosed fee, said to be in the reigion of £1.5mil, Marvin Bartley came in from Howes former club Bornemouth for around £300.000 both young and energetic players who due to injuries havent had the chance to show what they can offer.
Special mention to Burnleys player of the season and players player of the season Jay Rodriguez who picked up International honours when selected to play in Italy for the England U21 squad, he impressed so much he has also been selected for the U21 tournament (initial 40 man squad). Ands with 15 gaols Jay also shared the coveted Golden boot with Chris Eagles, quite a season the the Burnley born front man.
A season of if's and maybes.
2010 - 2011 Championship