George Burley
GEORGE
BURLEY

George Burley was most recently the manager of Apollon Limassol.

Burley has enjoyed a fantastic career in football to date – first as a vital element of Sir Bobby Robson's Ipswich Town during the late 70s and early 80s, before moving on to management and winning the LMA Manager of the Year, whilst in charge of Ipswich Town.

George has managed over 600 games in professional football, which has included spells at Premier League and National Team level. He also has over 15 years of managerial experience both north and south of the border.

Born in Cummock, Ayrshire in 1956, George joined Ipswich as an apprentice in 1972 and made his senior debut the following year against Manchester United at Old Trafford, when he was responsible for marking George Best. He was an integral part of the Ipswich Town side that became a European force in the game in the late 1970s and early 80s, tasting FA Cup glory in 1978 when the Blues beat Arsenal 1-0. Unfortunately, injury robbed him of a place in Town's other major success of that period, a UEFA Cup Final triumph over AZ67 Alkmaar in 1981.

In total, this polished attacking left-back made more than 500 appearances for the club as well as picking up 11 senior caps for Scotland, and in 1985, he headed North to Sunderland, a move that started a mini-tour of Britain. George came South again to join Gillingham, then packed his bags and set off for Scotland and Motherwell in 1989. In 1990 he was appointed player/manager of Ayr United but three years later he moved on to Falkirk as a player before returning to Motherwell as player/coach. 12 months on he was made his way back across the border again - this time to Colchester, to become player/manager in June 1994.

A fine start at Layer Road soon brought George to the attention of Ipswich Town once more and just six months later he resigned at Colchester and was appointed manager at his former club, Ipswich Town (with Dale Roberts as his assistant) four days later.

As a former product of the famous Ipswich youth set-up, George became it's keenest promoter and built an entertaining young team at Portman Road that topped the divisional goal charts in the 1995/96 season, just missing out on the play-offs. They went one better the following season, narrowly missing out on a place in the play-off final after losing out on away goals to Sheffield United at the semi-final stage.

In 1997/98 George guided his side to a top six finish again but saw them lose in the play-off semi-finals once again, this time to Charlton in the semi-finals, while the next season it was Bolton who ruined Town's promotion hopes, again at the semi-final stage of the play-offs.

Burley finally took his team into the Premiership in May 2000 after beating Barnsley at Wembley in the Division One play-off final. Although they were favourites to make an immediate return to the Nationwide League, The Blues were the surprise package of the 2000/2001 season, more than holding their own in the top flight. The team finished the season in fifth position, qualifying for the UEFA Cup, thereby returning European football to Portman Road for the first time in 20 years. Burley was suitably rewarded with the LMA Manager of the Year and Carling Premiership Manager of the Year awards.

Unfortunately, their success was not to be repeated the following season and, after a brief run in Europe, Burley's side found themselves bottom of the Barclaycard Premiership at Christmas. Despite rallying at the turn of the year, they could not make up the ground on the teams above the relegation zone, and a defeat at Anfield on the last day of the season condemned the Suffolk side to a return to Division One.

During his eight-year reign at the club he had won promotion to the FA Premier League, guided them to a fifth place finish and qualification for the UEFA Cup two years running. His stock was high and he looked set for a rapid return to management with Stoke City, less than three weeks after his departure from Portman Road, but he decided he could not commit himself to The Potteries club for three years and declined their offer to succeed Steve Cotterill. Eventually, after almost six months out of the game, he made his comeback at Pride Park as Derby County's manager.

As one would expect of a manager of his calibre Burley steered The Rams to safety with three wins from those seven games and signed a two-year contract in June 2003.

After Derby, he became manager SPL side Hearts. Burley started very well, beginning the 2005/06 season undefeated with Hearts top of the SPL with results which included a 4–0 victory over Hibernian. Then came the shock, with mutual effect it was decided that he would walk away from Tynecastle. Once again in the footballing wilderness, it didn't take long before a top flight job came to him, and that was the case when he decided to take over at Southampton on 23rd December 2005.

At Southampton he led the club to the 2006–07 play-offs just missing out on a return to the Premier League on penalties in the second-leg of the semi-final against his former club Derby County, who went on to win the final.

On 24 January 2008, Burley was confirmed as the new manager of Scotland. He became the third former Ipswich manager to manage his country, as Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson had before him. In his first match in charge, Scotland drew 1–1 with Croatia.

After narrowly missing out on qualification for the 2010 World Cup, Burley continued as manager for a short period before the SFA and Burley parted company in November 2009.

Burley was then appointed as the new manager of Crystal Palace on June 17, 2010. He remained with the Eagles until January 2011.

Honours (4)
  • personal-awards
    • Ipswich Town:
      • Manager of the Year, Premier League, (2001-05-30)
      • Manager of the Month, Premier League, (2000-11-01)
      • LMA Manager of the Year, (2000-05-30)
  • promotions
    • Ipswich Town:
      • Promotion to FA Premiership, (2000-05-29)
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