Portsmouth pays tribute to Frank Burrows after ex-Blues, Cardiff City, Swansea City, Leicester City and West Brom manager's death at 77

Tributes have been paid to Frank Burrows, following the former Pompey manager’s death at the age of 77.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 2:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 2:44 pm
Tributes are being paid to Frank Burrows after his death last night.

Burrows has been credited for turning the fortunes of the Blues around on the pitch, after they plummeted down the Football League in the 70s.

The Scot guided his team to promotion in the 1979-80 season, amid two spells as boss at Fratton Park.

After arriving as Jimmy Dickinson’s assistant, Burrows became full-time manager in the summer of 1979 after the legendary Pompey figure retired due to poor health.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Frank Burrows after being introduced to Pompey fans at Fratton Park in 2018.

The goals and wins were soon flowing as fans returned to Fratton Park in their droves, and promotion was eventually sealed on a dramatic afternoon at Northampton as Burrows’ side were roared on by 8,000 travelling fans.

The former defender was in charge for the memorable League Cup trip to Liverpool in 1980, before leaving in 1982.

Burrows later spent a second spell as Pompey manager in 1990, guiding the side to second division safety after replacing John Gregory before leaving the following year.

He later spent time in caretaker charge of both West Brom and Leicester, after managerial spells at Cardiff and Swansea in the 1980s and 90s.

Blues legend Alan Knight credited Burrows with having a seminal impact on his football career, and reviving Pompey’s fortunes after they tumbled down the divisions.

He said: ‘Frank was instrumental in me getting my debut and played a big part in the start of my career. He was very much the force behind it.

‘I have the highest regard for Frank, he was a top football person and a top bloke to boot.

‘He used to come with me and the other keepers up at Eastney when it was blowing a gale, and he’d be diving around in the mud and puddles in his shorts showing us how it was done - even though he was a centre-half in his playing days!

‘He was as hard as nails, a lovely guy and he turned the club around.’

Former Blues midfielder Terry Brisley was a central part of the 79-80 promotion side and lauded Burrows’ man-management skills.

He added: ‘Frank was the best man-manager I’ve ever played for. As a worker and man-manager he didn’t mess about.

‘If you weren’t playing well enough, he wouldn’t pussyfoot - he’d tell you the truth.

‘Everyone when I was at Pompey accepted that because they knew he was right. He called a spade a spade.

‘Football was his life, but he could have been successful in any industry - because he’d tell you how it was.’

Burrows stayed firmly in touch with Pompey in later life, attending events and visiting the area regularly.

Pompey Former Players’ Association secretary, Jake Payne, said: ‘Frank had an appreciation for the city and its people.

‘I remember after winning promotion there was an event at the Guildhall, where he said it was the supporters who did their bit with the players in getting the team over the line.

‘Frank attended dinners in recent years, where you could see how he was appreciated. He took the club from the depths, and after guiding them to promotion it was onwards and upwards.’

Pompey stalwart Barry Harris felt the far-reaching appreciation shown towards Burrows was a mark of his character.

He said: ‘Frank was a nice man, but a straight-talking man who didn’t miss anything. There was no pulling the wool over his eyes.

‘The team he took up was an excellent side which would go on winning runs - and always jump straight back when they lost.

‘Frank was always very good to me. In fact you won’t find anyone who had a bad word to say about him, such was the manner in which he was respected.’