Laws brushes aside Burnley job doubts

New manager says he has the experience to retain the club's Premier League status
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The Independent Football

Brian Laws has moved quickly to reassure worried Burnley fans that he will be able to keep the club in the Premier League despite never having managed in the top flight before.

Laws, who was sacked by Sheffield Wednesday last month, was yesterday confirmed as the surprise choice to succeed Owen Coyle at Turf Moor. He has agreed a two-and-a-half year contract with Burnley, where he started his playing career, and will bring in his former assistant at Wednesday, Russ Wilcox, as his No 2. Captain Graham Alexander steps up to become player-coach.

"I am sure there are a lot of Burnley fans asking, 'Why Brian Laws?' Laws said. "Well let me tell you, I have followed Burnley since I was 16 years old, when I joined the club.

"I have had an affinity with this club for a long time and I am really honoured to have the privilege of managing Burnley Football Club in the Premier League. This is a fantastic opportunity. Owen Coyle has done a fantastic job at this club. Nobody can ever take that away and I wouldn't want to even try.

"But at this moment in time he has dropped the baton," Laws added, "and we want to pick it up with the supporters and drive on over the finishing line, which means we will have stayed in the Premier League."

Laws beat off strong competition from Doncaster's Sean O'Driscoll to land the Burnley job and the club, who are back in the top flight after a 33-year absence, stressed they were attracted by his record of getting results on a tight budget at Wednesday. They are believed to have the lowest expenditure in this season's Premier League and are not prepared to gamble their long-term financial security on attempting to stay up.

A club statement read: "The Burnley board have been particularly impressed by the way Brian consistently achieved relative success in his former post at Sheffield Wednesday, while operating with one of the lowest wage and transfer budgets in the Championship.

"The results of a Deloitte and Touche study, delivered at the club's request, confirm that he was top of the list of Championship managers over the period 2006-2009, in terms of delivering the best results relative to financial budgets."

Laws' first game in charge will be Saturday's trip to Old Trafford when Burnley seek to complete an unlikely double over Manchester United. After spells in charge of Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Wednesday, it is a daunting place for Laws to begin his Premier League career but he has few doubts that he deserves to be there.

"I am a workaholic and I have plied my trade in all the divisions," he said. "Even though I am only 48, I feel I have a lot of game under my belt. The only area I have to get experience as a manager is in the top flight. However, you have to start somewhere."

Drop of claret: Brian Laws' CV

Born 14 October, 1961, Wallsend

Playing career Represented seven clubs during 19 years. Signed for Burnley as a 17-year-old in 1979 and featured for Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest among others.

Managerial career Sacked after two years at Grimsby in 1996 before successful spell at Scunthorpe, winning two promotions. Took over at Sheffield Wednesday in 2006 until his departure 'by mutual consent' last month.