Terry Pierce - Sensible Burnley show others how it's done
Published: 14 Sep 2010 - 09:05:18
Last season, when Hull were looking down the back of the sofa to try and pay Jimmy Bullard for another day or bring in someone - anyone - who might be able to help them stave off relegation, their fellow strugglers Burnley almost seemed to just accept the inevitable.
But six weeks into the new campaign, it's clear as day that the patient and thoughtful decision-making of the Lancashire club has stood them in far better stead for the current campaign.
The West Brom model of promotion and relegation on a budget, and taking large slices of the parachute payments to build a stand or development centre, while adding thoughtfully to the playing staff, is a massively under-rated ethos. But from the moment Owen Coyle led Burnley to their play-off final win 15 months ago, the Clarets embraced the idea.
I'm not for one minute suggesting they didn't try to stay up, and if they had managed to keep hold of Coyle and continue their excellent start they may well have. But at no stage did anyone at Turf Moor panic and reach for the cheque book, pen in hand. And at no stage was anyone tempted to offer silly money to ageing stars on long-term contracts.
Even the new manager was carefully chosen. Brian Laws isn't a big name and has yet to prove himself in the top two divisions, but the board identified him as a sound coach who could achieve without spending masses of cash.
Laws saw a couple of his top players leave following relegation, but the money has been reinvested superbly in proven top-end Championship players such as Ross Wallace and Chris Iwelumo. And it was Iwelumo who provided the spark for the Clarets' incredible derby-day comeback over Preston on Saturday evening, with the 4-3 win ensuring their spot among the pacemakers.
Thanks to a season in the top flight, Burnley are now blessed with a big second-tier budget as their parachute payments can be used in the right way, to improve the club on and off the field, not to service ridiculous levels of debt racked up in their fight against relegation.
Under Brian Laws and the board at Turf Moor, the future looks bright for Burnley and they are set to be right in the mix for promotion again this season. Their success should serve as a lesson to every other club battling for a spot in the Premier League, and is a victory for patient and sensible ownership.
Brave Buckle has Gulls soaring
Torquay boss Paul Buckle caused quite a stir down in Devon last January. His side sat just above the relegation zone when he shipped out a whole host of experienced pros and looked to replace them with young, hungry players.
And the turnaround in fortune has been exceptional. The Gulls finished last season superbly and now proudly sit top of League Two.
Buckle's brave move nine months ago certainly looks to have paid off.
READ TERRY PIERCE'S FOOTBALL LEAGUE BLOG EVERY TUESDAY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:terry pierce
- Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.
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