Tommy Burns (footballer)

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Tommy Burns
Personal information
Full name Thomas Burns
Date of birth (1956-12-16)16 December 1956
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Date of death 15 May 2008(2008-05-15) (aged 51)
Place of death Glasgow, Scotland
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
Maryhill
1973–1975 Celtic
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1975–1989 Celtic 352 (52)
1989–1994 Kilmarnock 151 (16)
Total 503 (68)
National team
1976–1982 Scotland U21[1] 5 (0)
1978 Scottish League XI[2] 1 (0)
1981–1988 Scotland 8 (0)
Teams managed
1992–1994 Kilmarnock
1994–1997 Celtic
1998–1999 Reading
2004 Scotland (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Thomas "Tommy" Burns (16 December 1956 – 15 May 2008) was a Scottish professional football player and manager. He was also a Scotland international, winning eight caps between 1981 and 1988, while a Celtic player. He died of skin cancer on 15 May 2008, aged 51.

Career[edit]

Playing career[edit]

Tommy Burns was a midfielder, signed by Celtic in 1973 from his second club Maryhill, a junior team from Glasgow. He made his debut against Dundee United on 19 April 1975, and he was a vital part of the side which won the league and cup double in the club's centenary season, 1988. In total, he made 352 league appearances and scored 52 goals.

Management and coaching[edit]

The following year, Burns moved to Kilmarnock, where he became player-manager in 1992, winning the club promotion to the Scottish Premier Division in season 1992/93.

Burns moved to become manager at Celtic at the start of season 1994/95, in acrimonious circumstances as he was still under contract to Kilmarnock as both player and manager. Kilmarnock refused to release him from his contract and the Scottish Football Association subsequently fined Celtic £100,000 for 'tapping', or speaking to Burns without obtaining Kilmarnock's permission. Kilmarnock were also permitted to retain his playing registration, effectively ending his professional career as a player.

At Celtic, his team grew a reputation for playing attractive and attacking football and they won the Scottish Cup in 1995;[3] but Celtic proved unable to break the domination of Old Firm rivals Rangers. Burns signed players like Pierre Van Hooijdonk, Paolo Di Canio and Jorge Cadete, and while the Celtic team lost just one game in the league during the 1995-1996 season, they were unable to beat the Rangers team. Burns commented that "Andy Goram [the Rangers goalkeeper] broke my heart" would be on his tombstone.[4] After losing a Scottish Cup semi-final to Falkirk, Burns was sacked from Celtic in 1997 and went on to work under Kenny Dalglish at Newcastle United. as a coach.

On 25 March 1998, he was appointed manager of Reading, who were struggling in Division One in what was their final season at Elm Park before the relocation to Madejski Stadium. He had been approached about the Reading manager's job the previous summer, but rejected it in favour of a coaching role under his former Celtic colleague Dalglish.[5]

He remained in this position until 16 September 1999, when he was dismissed following Reading's failure to win promotion from Division Two.[6] The following year, Burns returned to Celtic as assistant manager during Kenny Dalglish's short-lived tenure as manager. That summer, Martin O'Neill took over as the club's manager and brought in his own coaching staff, but retained Burns and placed him in charge of youth development. Upon the arrival of Gordon Strachan as manager in 2005, Burns was appointed First Team Coach, a role he combined with his Youth Development post.

He became assistant manager of the Scottish national team under Berti Vogts in 2002 and retained the position under Walter Smith. In between, he managed Scotland for one match, a 4–1 friendly defeat to Sweden.[7]

On 18 January 2007, Burns announced through the Celtic website that he was severing all ties with the Scottish national team to concentrate on his role at the club. It was reported by The Scotsman newspaper that Burns had found out that he was not a potential candidate for the job of national team coach, which had become available after Walter Smith moved to Rangers.[8]

Illness and death[edit]

On 29 March 2006, Celtic confirmed Burns had begun treatment for melanoma skin cancer.[9] On 10 March 2008, Celtic announced that Burns was facing another skin cancer scare, and would be undergoing further treatment for the disease.[10] On 15 May 2008, Burns died at home.[11]

His funeral mass was celebrated at St Mary's, Abercromby Street (the church in whose hall was held the inaugural meeting of what was to become Celtic FC) in his native Calton on 20 May 2008 followed by interment at Linn Cemetery, Castlemilk.

Tributes[edit]

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan was among those who paid tribute to Burns. A visibly emotional Strachan said "being Tommy's mate was the best part of joining Celtic" and that "There weren't many better than him as a footballer. But, as a person, he was top of the league when it comes to being a man."[12] Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said "If you define a Celtic man, it would certainly be Tommy Burns. He was a wonderful human being."[12] Club captain Stephen McManus said "He was courageous and he was probably as brave a man as you'll ever meet."[12] Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist, who had worked with Burns in his role for the Scotland national team, said "I have met a lot of good people through football but Tam was the very best."[13] On 16 May, Rangers manager Walter Smith and McCoist arrived at Celtic Park to lay a wreath in memory of Burns, and then spent half an hour in the stadium, speaking with Celtic officials, then another half hour outside speaking to fans. Smith and McCoist also served as pallbearers at Burns' funeral.[14]

Tribute match[edit]

A tribute match was held on 31 May 2009, between the current Celtic squad and an Old Bhoys XI, which was captained by Burns' son Jonathan; the current squad won 11–4.

The band Charlie and the Bhoys raised just under £10,000 for the Tommy Burns Skin Cancer Trust, which had been set up in his memory, by playing a benefit concert at Glasgow Barrowlands in September 2008.

Career statistics[edit]

Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Total
App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals
Celtic 1974-75 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1975–76 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
1976–77 19 1 3 0 6 0 1 0 29 1
1977–78 25 3 3 1 6 1 3 1 37 6
1978–79 29 3 3 1 8 0 0 0 40 4
1979–80 14 0 2 0 0 0 3 1 19 1
1980-81 33 4 5 2 7 5 3 0 48 11
1981–82 33 9 2 0 6 0 2 0 43 9
1982–83 17 7 1 0 8 3 2 0 28 10
1983-84 33 9 5 3 11 0 6 1 55 13
1984-85 27 7 6 1 3 1 4 1 40 10
1985-86 34 5 3 0 3 1 2 0 42 6
1986-87 16 0 0 0 3 0 3 0 22 0
1987–88 27 2 5 1 3 1 2 0 37 4
1988–89 32 2 5 3 3 2 3 0 43 7
1989–90 8 0 0 0 3 1 1 0 12 1
Total 353 52 43 12 70 15 35 4 501 83
Career total 353 52 43 12 70 15 35 4 501 83

Playing honours[edit]

Celtic[edit]

Kilmarnock[edit]

Managerial honours[edit]

Kilmarnock[edit]

Celtic[edit]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 27 November 2013
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Kilmarnock Scotland August 1990 July 1994 191 78 57 56 40.84
Celtic Scotland July 1994 May 1997 146 80 43 23 54.79
Reading England March 1998 September 1999 68 20 18 30 29.41
Total 405 178 118 109 43.95

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tommy Burns". www.fitbastats.com. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Tommy Burns". Londonhearts.com (London Hearts Supporters' Club). Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Reid, Harry (2005), The Final Whistle", Birlinn, 182, ISBN 1-84158-362-6
  4. ^ "Andy Goram profile". When Saturday Comes. January 2004. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Nixon, Alan (13 June 1997). "Doubts over the future of Kinnear". The Independent (London). 
  6. ^ "Tommy Burns manager history". Soccerbase. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Scotland 1–4 Sweden". BBC Sport. 17 November 2004. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  8. ^ Burns quits national set-up, The Scotsman[dead link]
  9. ^ "Burns undergoes cancer treatment". BBC. 29 March 2006. 
  10. ^ "Burns facing fresh cancer battle". BBC. 10 March 2008. 
  11. ^ "Celtic's Burns succumbs to cancer". BBC Sport. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  12. ^ a b c "Strachan leads tributes to Burns". BBC Sport. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2008. 
  13. ^ "Ally McCoist: Celtic's Tommy Burns was the best person I've ever met.". 16 May 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2008. 
  14. ^ Thousands bid farewell to Burns, BBC News.

External links[edit]