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Pompey Mourn Frank Burrows

Promotion-winning boss passes away

24 November 2021

Frank Burrows

Pompey are mourning the death of Frank Burrows, who has passed away at the age of 77.

The former Blues boss masterminded the club’s rise out of the basement at the end of the 1979/80 campaign.

And the Scotsman then returned to Fratton Park for a second spell as manager at the start of the 1990s.

A former centre-back with Raith, Scunthorpe and Swindon, he helped the latter side stun Arsenal to win the 1969 League Cup final at Wembley.

Burrows moved to the south coast to work as assistant to the great Jimmy Dickinson, replacing him in the dug-out in May 1979.

Astute signings like Joe Laidlaw – who passed away just last week – Terry Brisley and Steve Aizelwood came as a result of the sale of Steve Foster to Brighton.

And Burrows immediately guided the club to Division Four promotion – their first for 18 years – courtesy of a dramatic final day victory at Northampton.

Pompey needed to win and hope that Bradford lost to Peterborough to end their two-year stay in the bottom tier.

They did their job by winning 2-0 and then there was a nervous wait until the 10,000 fans who travelled to the County Ground could celebrate with Frank and his team.

"Without those early days of him mentoring me, I don’t think I’d have lasted long at the club. "

Alan Knight

But Burrows was unable to replicate that success in the third division and made way for Bobby Campbell in 1982.

After a stint with Cardiff, he returned eight years later as John Gregory’s assistant, once again making the step up when the beleaguered boss was dismissed.

Burrows departed just 14 months later, however, and managed Swansea before going back to the Bluebirds.

He later worked under Gary Megson at both West Brom and Leicester, having caretaker spells in charge of both.

Club ambassador Alan Knight said: “Jimmy was manager when I made my debut at the age of 16, but Frank was definitely the instigator of that.

“He was instrumental in my development at the club. He knew when to take me out of firing line and that was testament to his man-management skills.

“Frank came to the club when we were struggling and a bit of a shambles. He made it a lot more professional, getting the discipline right on and off the pitch.

“I got dropped after breaking a curfew and learnt a harsh lesson. Without those early days of him mentoring me, I don’t think I’d have lasted long at the club. It meant a lot to me.

“I got to know him a bit more after he left Pompey and he was such a lovely guy – a gentle giant. He will be sadly missed.”

The thoughts of everyone at Portsmouth Football Club are with Frank’s family and friends at this sad time.


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