George will do a fine job - Sheepshanks
BLUES chairman David Sheepshanks has tipped former Ipswich Town and Colchester United boss George Burley to be a success at the Scotland manager.Burley is expected to be officially unveiled as the Scotland boss at a Hampden Park press conference tomorrow after the SFA agreed compensation with Southampton.
BLUES chairman David Sheepshanks has tipped former Ipswich Town and Colchester United boss George Burley to be a success at the Scotland manager.
Burley is expected to be officially unveiled as the Scotland boss at a Hampden Park press conference tomorrow after the SFA agreed compensation with Southampton.
Sheepshanks said: “It is a marvellous honour for George and it is a job I have no doubt he will be proud to do and will do very well.
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“George is a great patriot of Scotland and having started his club management career in Scotland I'm sure he will be welcomed back by everyone north of the border.”
Sheepshanks, who sacked Burly in September 2002, is confident Burley is ready to step up to international level,
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He said: “If you contrast when he was a young manager here at Ipswich he is now experienced at the highest level, both in the Premier League and the Championship, along with Scottish Premier League level.
“He has all the attributes needed to make a success of the job in Scotland.
“I'm sure I speak for everyone in Suffolk when I wish him the very best of good fortune with the job.
“It is a big jump and there are no guarantees. The cry we often hear from international managers is that they miss the day-to-day involvement of club football and not having their players all the time.
“I'm sure it will be no different for George to begin with but he has been a club manager for nearly 20 years now and when you have had that experience the very different regime of international football may be rather appealing.”
Burley was chosen above fellow shortlisted candidates Tommy Burns, Mark McGhee and Graeme Souness. His rivals for the job had been strongly touted for the job, with Burley the dark horse until this week's developments when Burley, 51, emerged as the preferred candidate of the SFA's interview panel.
The panel, which included chief executive Gordon Smith and president George Peat, had their choice ratified by the SFA board yesterday morning.
The post became vacant when Alex McLeish resigned on November 27 to take charge of Barclays Premier League side Birmingham, 10 days after Scottish dreams of Euro 2008 qualification were shattered by Italy.
The SFA - who have faced criticism from some quarters for taking almost two months to find a new boss - are confident Burley has the qualities required of a Scotland manager.
Peat insisted: “We think we've got the right man.'
“Personally, I would have been comfortable with all four of the candidates. They all had the assets we were looking for and that was a big factor.
“George came out on top because of certain aspects. I'm sure that the Tartan Army will be behind him and see that we get off to a good start and continue the success we have had.”
Negotiations with Southampton were swiftly completed and, in Burley, the SFA are confident they have chosen a man of stature who can be a figurehead for the Scottish game.
McLeish impressed with the manner of his management during his 10-month spell in charge of the national team, as did Walter Smith before him, prior to walking out to join Rangers last January.
The SFA will want to ensure that Burley is not tempted away from the Scotland job while still under contract, if results make him a target for club sides.
Burley has spent most of his career, both as player and manager, in English football.
At Ipswich he is a club legend after making 500 appearances for the Blues and later taking charge as manager from 1994 to 2002, a spell during which Ipswich clinched a fifth-place finish in the Premier League and qualified for the UEFA Cup. In Europe they memorably beat Inter Milan at Portman Road before their adventure ended in defeat in the San Siro.
He had a short stint with Hearts in 2005 which ended less than four months after his appointment, even though the Jambos were top of the table at the time of his departure after starting the league season with eight straight wins.
A disagreement with new majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov saw Burley leave Tynecastle suddenly.
However he was soon back in management at Southampton.