Laws named as new Burnley boss

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The Independent Football

Burnley have named former Sheffield Wednesday boss Brian Laws as their new manager.

The 48-year-old ex-Clarets defender, who has signed a two-and-a-half year deal, is a surprise choice to succeed Owen Coyle, who left Turf Moor for Barclays Premier League rivals Bolton last week.

The appointment represents a remarkable transformation of fortunes for the 48-year-old, who was sacked by Coca-Cola Championship strugglers Wednesday just last month.

Laws, who began his playing career at Burnley 1979, is thought to have beaten off competition from Doncaster's Sean O'Driscoll for the post.

O'Driscoll appeared to be the front-runner yesterday but agreeing compensation with Doncaster could have been a stumbling block.

A Burnley statement read: "We believe Brian will deliver a continuity of the culture to which Burnley fans and staff have become accustomed. As a former Burnley defender, he is especially familiar with the club, the traditions we have and the passion we all share."

Burnley have acted quickly following the departure of Coyle and most of his backroom staff.

Laws, who has previously managed Grimsby and Scunthorpe, will be joined at Turf Moor by his former Iron and Wednesday assistant Russ Wilcox. Veteran captain Graham Alexander, 38, has also been handed a new role as a player-coach.

The new coaching team is set to be unveiled at a press conference at the ground this afternoon.

The statement added: "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."

Those remarks might raise eyebrows at Hillsborough, where Laws was sacked before Christmas after a poor run of form that had seen Wednesday slip into the relegation zone.

Laws took over the cash-strapped Owls in 2006 and kept the club in the Championship, earning a respectable mid-table finish last season, but patience ran out after a poor start to the current campaign.

Laws, whose best playing years were at Nottingham Forest, began his managerial career at Grimsby but his tenure is best remembered for when he threw a plate of chicken wings at player Ivano Bonetti.

He went on to guide Scunthorpe to promotion twice over the course of almost 10 years, but his time there was not without controversy either. He was sacked amid a power struggle in 2004 only to be reinstated three weeks later.

Laws' appointment was confirmed after Doncaster issued a statement insisting O'Driscoll would not be leaving South Yorkshire.

His first task will be to make sure the Clarets' first Premier League campaign does not end in relegation. They are currently just two points above the bottom three.