Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog

Weighing up the pros and cons of Brian Laws
January 13, 2010, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog | Tags:

Brian Laws looking cool, yesterday

It’s been a bad old week for Alastair Campbell. It started with Owen Coyle leaving his beloved Burnley for rivals Bolton and ended with the bizarre decision that Brian Laws should inherit his dugout throne.

I’m sure various other things happened to him during the week too, but I won’t hold an inquiry into it.

Brian Laws is something of an anomaly. He has been a manager for 14 years and a lot of them have been hidden from the world.

Sure, we all know he once threw a chicken at Ivano Bonetti when managing Grimsby. And the odd person would know he got sacked by Scunthorpe United only to get reinstated just three weeks later.

However, anyone hoping to learn something about him from this blog is looking in the wrong place. Rather than doing some research and writing something to update you on the newest member of the Premiership management fraternity, I will instead write something that resembles a bi-polar rant. It will swift from supporting Laws’ appointment to criticising it on every passing paragraph.

To remind you that this is intended as a one man contretemp I will routinely post pictures of classic bi-polar celebrities. Otherwise you might think the blog was unstructured and contradictory and we don’t want that, do we! Also it continues to cement the stigma around mental illness in sport so I’m killing two birds with one stone.

Will this madcap adventure work? Either way it’s more creative than anything Jay Sean has ever done.

It’s great that Brian Laws has been appointed manager of a Premiership team. We’ve been saying for years that there are no longer enough opportunities for young British managers at the top flight.

But history shows that he has a snowball in hell’s chance. Anyone who remembers the shambolic Premiership tenures of Paul Ince or Tony Adams knows that just being relatively young and relatively English does not make you a relatively good manager.

That said, it’s delightful to add a manager who looks like a fat version of Simon Cowell to our ranks. We have just lost a fantastic lookalike of Toby the HR manager from the American Office after Gary Megson got sacked. Although it’s nice to have Baron Silas Greenback (Avram Grant) back the knowledge that I will be seeing another fine doppleganger will keep me patient when watching the latter games of MOTD.

It gets to something when the second positive point of this bi-polar rant is about his (admittedly scary) likeness to Simon Cowell after a jam doughnut frenzy. This just goes to show that the guy has nothing to add to the Premiership and will be taking Burnley back to where they belong – the Championship.

But on the other hand, there are plenty of managers in the Premiership who are proven to not be good enough. Perhaps it’s a case of “better the devil you don’t know” in this case: who is to say the unknown quantity of Laws won’t be able to outfox routinely proven inept morons such as Sam Allardyce and Phil Brown?

However, being not necessarily the worst of a bad bunch does not make him a good appointment. Why didn’t Burnley show some ambition and appoint someone with a bit of excitement or nous, rather than someone lacking in either. You may scoff, but although they have recently failed a Kevin Keegan (excitement) or a George Burley (nous) would be much better appointments.

But Laws has a good record at making smaller clubs get the most out of their limited resources. At Scunthorpe United he was revered as a God for getting a club promoted twice. When he finally left for good in 2006 they were on the brink of the Championship: two divisions higher than where he inherited them.

His tactics may be OK for lower league football but in the Premiership they will be found out. Throwing chickens at people won’t solve problems in the big time. Like he did at Sheffield Wednesday, Laws will find himself out of his depth very, very quickly.

Of course, this is a nonsense. Laws managed to improve on every team he has ever managed, and by this logic Burnley will go from being 14th to finishing at least 13th. Indeed, Laws should be confident enough to make similar claims to his former boss about never finishing lower than the place the team were in when he took over.

Saying that, Cloughy indeed did finish lower, drifting the morally corrupt Derby County down to 18th place rather than the comparatively lofty 17th spot he inherited. As Laws was managed by Clough he is destined to repeat this negative trend at Burnley.

But if Burnley finish one place lower they will be 15th at the end of the season, which would constitute a job well done. And continuing the Cloughy cycle he would then dominate the division the next season and win the title.

However, he would then be forced to turn Burnley into a bastion of filth (like Clough did to Derby). Is this really what the claret fans want for their future?

Saying that he might actually be quite good you know.

But because he looks like a fat badger I doubt it.

This argument could carry on all night.

Of course this all ties back in to Alastair Campbell, who reached the heights of government despite suffering depression. Anyone would think this is organised and not thrown together in a whim.


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