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On Owen Coyle and Brian Laws

Posted on 13 January 2010 | 6:01pm

Welcome back to Brian Laws as Burnley’s new manager. I say welcome back because Brian is a former player.

Fair to say Owen Coyle’s departure to Bolton was like a kick in the guts of a lot of Burnley fans but chairman Barry Kilby and fellow board member Brendan Flood have moved quickly to fill the gap. I made a video reflecting on Coyle’s leaving, but didn’t get a chance to put it up because I was preparing for the Iraq inquiry. So this blog continues after these messages:

I welcome the Laws appointment and am glad it has been made in time for the little matter of the visit to Manchester United on Saturday as we seek to do the double on them! I am also thrilled Graham Alexander is stepping up to be coach as well as player. The departure of first team coach Steve Davis, a real Burnley legend, was for many an even bigger gut-kicker than Owen Coyle going. ‘Grezza’, the oldest outfield player in the Premier League, and one of the fittest, is rapidly developing legend status too and this will add to it.

There was an embarrassing moment yesterday when a text pinged in on my phone as I sat down to give evidence in one of my sessions at the Iraq inquiry. It was a voicemail message from one of the managers whose brains I had been picking for Barry and Brendan on the various names that had moved in and out of the frame in recent days.
It is no secret Shaun O’Driscoll was really fancied and clearly the top names in football management see him as someone who will be a Premier League manager one day. But I know Barry and Brendan felt Brian Laws, in addition to knowing the club and the area as well as he does, edges it on experience. They are also hard-headed users of stats and I know they did a pretty rigorous assessment of Brian Laws’ results set alongside the relative budgets his clubs had. Yes he has known relegation but he has known it from the perspective of being starved of funds.

Lots of people have been asking why they didn’t go for an Alan Curbishley or a Steve Coppell. They were not options, for different reasons. It is also worth remembering that the management team that decided on Laws is the one which did the same kind of tough assessment on all available talent before taking the risk of going for Owen Coyle. So I am happy to trust their judgement and urge all Burnley fans to welcome Brian Laws and give him real support.
We will troop to Old Trafford knowing it will be a tough contest, followed by Liverpool in the Cup, Coyle’s Bolton away, then Chelsea. That is one hell of a tough start. But it reminds me of the tough start we had to the season. This is our season starting all over again.

  • Jim

    You look AWFUL in the photos of your Chilcot enquiry appearance. Is SOMETHING weighing heavily on your mind, perhaps?
    Another thing: why – when you are repeatedly branded a liar by the press and others – do you not take legal action against your accusers?

  • colin.harrow

    Dear Alistair you probably don’t need moral support but for what it’s worth you have 100% of mine. You gave a great performance yesterday and the newspapers today are only saying what you knew they would anyway. Nothing (unfortunately) is going to change that. Regards to Fiona.

    Yours ever – Colin

  • Charlie Hooper

    Come on AC, who was the football manager who called you at the inquiry? If it wasn’t Fergie, who else is trying to get Laws in? Never mind Iraq, this is a question that must be answered

  • Patsy Hollis

    AC, you are loyal beyond belief. Ignore all the sniping and carping from the pillocks of the press, the public saw what was blindingly obvious yesterday – that while some of the upperclass civil servants might run for cover and cover their own arses when the going gets tough for Blair, you will stand by him and stand by what you did. I agree Iraq is a better country and unlike most of the pillocks I go there regularly for the charity I work for. As a Cambridge United fan I also admire the steadfast loyalty you have shown to Burnley FC. Hope you stay up.

  • Johnny Trent

    I do not care if we lose at OT so long as we stuff Bolton Bastard Wanderers and take the smile off the OC’s face. Brian Laws may not be Fergie Or Wenger but he has been round the block and in any event now he is ours we get behind him

  • Sara Tidy

    Thank you for demonstrating to both the British public and press yesterday what it means to be a man of integrity. It is shameful that so many elected politicians fail to stand up for what they know to be right in the face of popular and media pressure. I believe that Tony Blair took an incredibly brave and difficult decision, based on the evidence with which he was presented, and a commitment to ridding the world of a dangerous threat. He should be applauded not criticised for that. I admire your loyalty in defending him and in particular, your impassioned plea yesterday, that we should remember the horrific atrocities of the Hussain regime. It seems the British public either have very short memories or a limited understanding of the history of the 20th century. Well done Alastair! Hats off to you!! Sara Tidy

  • Alan Quinn

    Ally, you go to Old Trafford in the week the club announced that it wished to do it’s third refinancing since the Glazer takeover in 2005.
    According to some united fans groups the club have shelved out over £370M in interest payments and only just touched the massive £700m club debt.
    At least the Clarets don’t have this millstone hanging around their neck.
    btw I noticed yesterday you have a more than passing resemblance to KK Downing, the guitarist with Judas Priest! Any relation?

  • AM

    I agree with you that our season is starting all over again, it is kind of spooky that our first game under Brian Laws will be against United. He will have a tough start but all the fans will be behind him, especially when we play Bolton. I am looking forward to that match more than the Blackburn match now and think from here on in the rivalry will be more fierce between us and the trotters. Coyle got us to where we are today, we must believe and help Laws to stay in the Premier League. Come on Burnley!

  • gordon Henderson

    Hi Alastair,
    Bernard Ingham had a lot of clout in his day but you had more.If YOU had been against going for Saddam then the war would not have happened.

    I am not sure what I would have done in your position–the quality of advice you were receiving from the Civil Service was weak and indecisive and the chief legal officer was sitting on the fence.

    You had a Rambo sitting in the white house trying to get re-elected whose grasp of the world order was tenuous.

    I may have done the same thing-who knows and it is just history now.
    Is my firstpoint valid?

  • BarBar of Oz

    The Iraq Inquiry supposedly has access to everything ever documented so it was illuminating to see how much of the questioning was taken and rehashed from AC’s diaries. Couldn’t they do better? Obviously not.

    Have watched all the proceedings via web – it’s been a procession of witnesses testifying that Tony Blair/UK policy goals were entirely focussed on going the UN/diplomatic route; getting the US to agree to go to UN, and military action was only approved after diplomatic efforts had failed and after the HOC resolution.

    The fact that the panel appeared to have absolutely no “inside knowledge” contradicting this was evident yesterday from their questions to AC.

    The other thing that has struck me is the extraordinary quality of advisors, staffers and civil servants Tony Blair assembled around him during his prime ministership: David Manning etc.

    And as for that John Sawers.
    No wonder his wife stuck those pics up on Facebook. Daniel Craig? Forget it.

  • KEnny Hemphill

    Liverpool in the cup? If only. You of all people, as a Burnley fan, should know better than underestimating the supposed underdog and assuming the Premiership team will prevail. Congrats on Brian Laws’ appointment. As a Liverpool fan, I’m desperately hoping the new manager bounce effect is in full force at OT.

  • TrickyTree

    As a Forest fan I idolised Brian Laws when I was a kid, he’s the main reason I ended up thinking it was acceptable to play at right back and not always want to be a striker getting all the glory. Can’t understand why on earth Burnley have appointed him, though. When he joined Wednesday he said he was going to take them out of the Championship, but I’m not sure the fans approve of the direction he’s chosen to take them in…