And the New Man must be?

Last updated : 16 November 2007 By Richard Oldroyd
Just in case they haven't done so, Clarets Mad has listed the combination of attributes which we believe would make the perfect Burnley boss.

Of course, all ten will not be satisfied in their entirety. The man who did would be superhuman, not to say contradictory. Some will have to be prioritised above others, and it is not an exhaustive list. But these must all be considered by the powers that be.


1. Must have Experience

Brendan Flood said earlier this week that he "did not want someone learning on the job", and to some extent at least, he is right. Appointing any manager is a gamble - one club's success story can be another's disaster - but the less of a track record there is to act as a guide, the greater the uncertainty.

That doesn't mean that Burnley should only consider candidates who have previously been an assistant or a coach. Nor does it mean managers with only limited experience should be ruled out. What it does mean is that Burnley should not be contemplating appointing a player who has yet to experience life on the other side of the ropes. For reasons why, see Tony Adams, or closer to home, Chris Waddle and Martin Buchan.

2. Must be a good coach
There is a saying, which although simplistic retains a grain of truth: there are managers who coach, and there are coaches who manage. In the first bracket are those who are loosely categorised as 'old school' - examples being Souness, Reid and Stan Ternent - whilst Steve Cotterill, along with the likes of David Moyes, fit in the second bracket.

It isn't an absolute rule (Cotterill was a fine man manager, whilst Ternent had previously demonstrated that he was a capable coach), but the distinction remains valid. A club seeking a man to manage high profile players and expectations which exceed those at Burnley might be advised to go for a member of the former category. But Burnley don't have players of that ilk, and nor are they likely to be able to sign any. And so, instead, they need someone who can coach, improve and forge a collective unit which exceeds the sum of its talents. In short, a good coach.

3. Must be scientific and progressive
This isn't just another way of dismissing the 'old school' managers - Sam Allardyce is roughly the same age as Reid, yet he is one of the most open minded managers out there. Burnley must be prepared to invest an a manager who is prepared to invest in technology, to be cutting edge in using statistics, medicine and dietetics along with every other branch of science to keep Burnley ahead of the game. This, I know, is one Steve Cotterill's great obsessions - and it must be for the new man too.

4. Must be a leader
Obvious, perhaps, but it's worth dwelling on briefly. Leaders might be outspoken, flamboyant extroverts who drip charisma, but they are just as likely to be steely, determined individuals who keep their thoughts to themselves but whose comments are worth all the more for it. Leaders can be bullies or disciplinarians, but they can also be men who earn the respect of their charges for the unity that they forge.

Burnley need a leader who can encourage players and inspire them. He can be loud or quiet for all I care, but he must have the power to make players believe they are better than they previously dreamt they could be, and push them on to greater deeds for it. This is easier when during good times, but the greatest gift of all is to do it during the harsher times.

5. Must be capable of formulating and applying a transfer policy
One thing Burnley Football Club - and any manager it has - must understand, is this: leaving aside the identity of the manager and any pulling power he may have, we do not have a club which is in itself capable of competing with the headliner acts in this division for players of established quality.

Any manager must sell himself as either able of bridging the gulf and reaching out to those proven Championship performers, or find an alternative market in order to circumvent the problem. This is perhaps the most fundamental of all criteria - it should be just about the first question asked in any interview. Any candidate who cannot outline his strategy, complete with concrete examples of the players he would bring to Burnley, for what fee and what wages, should be shown the door rapidly.

That does not mean that any manager who does not have a lower tier grounding must have a high media profile. What it does mean is that he must come armed with a contacts list of managers, players and agents roughly the length of the Phone Book. Contacts, and a reputation within the insular and clubbable world of football, are absolutely essential.

6. Must be prepared to Understand and Embrace Burnley Culture
There used to be an idea that Burnley had to appoint old-boys to stand any chance of success. Mercifully, what success Steve Cotterill has had seems to have finally exploded that myth for good. The fact John Bond, Martin Buchan had struggled was never exactly a sound basis for dismissing a given candidate.

But Burnley is different. It is a small, self-contained town; one which the football club still dominates. The club itself is steeped in its past more than perhaps any other club I've ever been to, apart from perhaps Tottenham. Supporters are a curious and illiberal mix of those who saw Burnley trade punches at a much higher level, and those were grew familiar with a club who were a big fish in the bottom two divisions.

Even if the new man hasn't experienced that for himself before, he must be prepared to embrace it. He must play the game, take on board the history and the former players and work with the fans. To his credit, Steve Cotterill did that. His successor must do the same - because what John Bond and Chris Waddle did teach us is that anyone who intends to confront that culture head on is doomed before they start.

7. Must be wedded to playing good football
In part, this relates to the last point. There are some clubs that have a culture of up-and-at-em football and relish the direct and physical approach to the game. Burnley is not one. More importantly, it would require a complete overhaul of the current playing staff, since Steve Cotterill has brought together a group of players at their best playing the ball on the deck. Coaching, and indeed future transfers, must reflect this ambition.

8. Must be prepared to build Burnley's Image
In other words, he must avoid the temptation to use crowds/a lower wage bill/the weather/ anything else as an excuse in public on a regular basis. He must be capable of projecting a consistently optimistic and positive media image. That will, in time, filter into a better perception of Burnley in the media.

9. Must be a good negotiator
Now, I shall be honest: I had assumed that this no longer came within the remit of the modern manager. But I've heard several times recently that Steve Cotterill in fact dealt with most of our transfer negotiations directly - and a good job he did too. Brendan Flood alluded to this the other day, which suggests that the new man will retain this role. Given the sums of money in issue, he will need to be rather a smooth operator. If not, it might be about time Burnley considered changing the model subtly and employing a director along the lines of David Dein at Arsenal to handle this side of the business.

10. Must be a long-term appointment
The fashion in football might be for instant fixes, but hasn't been the fashion in Burnley and it shouldn't become so now. A couple of players brought in quickly could make all the difference to Burnley, but nevertheless we need a manager who sees Burnley as somewhere he can build a dynasty, rather than as a last outing before retirement or a stepping stone on the way up the greasy pole. Ambitious then, but not too ambitious.

The conclusion? I reckon that the perfect Burnley manager would be something like this: somewhere between 40 and fifty, with at least three to five years coaching experience, ideally with some experience as a number one. In a perfect world, he'd have played to a sufficiently high level to gain a reputation, and he'd have cut his coaching teeth further down the leagues before moving up. He might now be managing in League One, or in the Championship, or he might be unemployed and looking for work. He'd have good contacts in the Premier League, but he'd know our league and those below us like the back of his hand. He'd be used to making the best of limited resources too.

Good luck finding him Barry and Brendan. I think 70% of that would probably do.