Burley slams Town board

GEORGE Burley has reopened old wounds on the eve of Derby County's FA Cup tie with Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.The Rams boss, who was sacked by Ipswich after a string of poor results in September 2002 and is still owed more than £3m in compensation, has accused the board of poor financial planning which led to the club going into administration.

GEORGE Burley has reopened old wounds on the eve of Derby County's FA Cup tie with Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.

The Rams boss, who was sacked by Ipswich after a string of poor results in September 2002 and is still owed more than £3m in compensation, has accused the board of poor financial planning which led to the club going into administration.

Speaking out for the first time since his dismissal, Burley blamed the board for dismantling the team which he had built and taken in to the Premiership and Europe.

He said: "It was upsetting that all the foundations that I laid were destroyed, particularly as administration could have been avoided."


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Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks said last night: "George Burley was a good manager of Ipswich Town for many years and rightly he continues to receive credit and our appreciation for his achievements.

"As is often the case when a manager and club part company there will be differences of opinion and divergent views. As has been stated many times before, the events leading up to administration resulted from a catalogue of extreme and unprecedented circumstances with which the board had to grapple, all of which stemmed from failures on the field, most notably relegation and a dismal start to life in Division One.

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"It is very disappointing that he has chosen to make these comments now which are unhelpful and lack foundation. As a board we don't intend to engage ourselves in a fruitless exchange of allegations but instead focus on our performance going forward, both that of the team, and, critically at this time, the success of our share issue."

Burley claimed: "The club had a lot of players which they could have sold. I know that Hermann Hreidarsson was going to go for £3.5m and Matt Holland for £4.5m. They had spoken to West Brom and they had spoken to Aston Villa and there is no doubt had the club wanted to sell them they would have gone. If either one of them had been sold Ipswich would not have gone into administration in February for £2m.

"When Darren Ambrose was virtually given away that was the biggest disappointment for me, but Hermann and Matt were also disappointments.

"I sold Marcus Stewart for £2m and Titus Bramble for £5m and then we had those offers for Hermann and Matt. But the club thought they could keep them. It was poor planning."

Although Holland and Hreidarsson spoke to Villa and West Brom respectively they made it clear they did not want to leave and it was their decision to stay at Town as they wanted to help the club make an instant return to the Premiership.

Jamie Clapham was sold the following January but the club did not receive a single offer for any other player when one more sale may have staved of administration.

Burley made it clear he holds no grudges towards his successor Joe Royle but would not be popping into the boardroom for a drink with the chairman. And he looked forward to another warm reception from the Blues crowd.

He said: "I will have a glass of red with Mr Royle afterwards. I have made my feelings clear.

"This will be the third time in eight weeks and the club will always have a special place in my heart. When we played there recently I got an absolutely tremendous reception. It was very emotional.

"I was brought up not only as a player but as a person at Ipswich and there will be no mixed feelings when I go back."

With two defeats and a draw as Derby manager against Ipswich, Burley is hoping for a change in fortune today.

He said: "Nobody is expecting us to go there and get a result but if we do it would give everyone a great lift. I want Ipswich to win every other game but when they play Derby I have to block everything out.

"Derby have been tremendous towards me. The fans have been brilliant. Despite having had it really hard for a few years they have stayed behind the club with great loyalty and I totally respect that."

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