Saints fans glad to see back of Burley

WHEN former Ipswich Town boss George Burley signs his contract in Scotland in the next 24 hours, he will have made the remarkable transition from under-fire club boss to manager of his own country.

WHEN former Ipswich Town boss George Burley signs his contract in Scotland in the next 24 hours, he will have made the remarkable transition from under-fire club boss to manager of his own country.

The Saints boss has come in for increasing criticism this season, with fans unhappy at constant team changes, tactics, use of substitutions and post-match comments.

Allowed a lengthy honeymoon period by the fans after replacing Harry Redknapp, Burley's popularity in the stands has undoubtedly fallen in recent months as Saints have failed to mount a serious bid for the Championship play-offs.

During his spell with Southampton, Burley has been forced to sell stars such as Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, Kenwyne Jones and Chris Baird in the past two years and the pull of the Scotland job will prove much too strong to resist.


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Nick Illingsworth, the Saints Trust chairman and Uglier Inside webzine editor, said: “For George to get the Scotland job is the best end to this situation for everyone concerned.

“He is not disliked as a person by the fans, and there hasn't been the open hostility you had when Rupert Lowe was here.

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“But, at the same time, you would struggle to find anyone who thinks George is doing a good job here.

“People know he has been working in difficult circumstances, but still people don't think he has been doing a good job.

“Talking about Saints, you get views which can be crystallised into two camps - the Saints fans and George Burley.

“No Saints fan I know believes Jason Euell should be in the team, yet he plays every week. We have got talented players, but they are not being led well.

“We can beat the top teams, like West Bromwich Albion, yet were massacred by Preston and Sheffield Wednesday.”

There were isolated chants of “Burley for Scotland” from sections of the Saints support at the last home game against Scunthorpe, and Illingsworth added: “The people who sang them weren't exactly shouted down, but the songs weren't really taken up by many, either.”

Saints Independent Supporters Association chairman Mick O'Callaghan added: “I wanted George to come here but he's been a bit of a disappointment with all his tinkering since he arrived.

“I think around 75 per cent of the supporters would be happy for him to get the Scotland job.”

The Scottish Football Association asked Southampton for details of possible compensation - acting chief executive Lee Hoos fielded a call earlier this week - but the club were told that Motherwell and Celtic were being asked the same questions about McGhee and Burns.

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