George Burley: Ipswich fans' dreams would have been shattered by a European Super League

George Burley, who faced Diego Maradona on the international scene both as a player and as a manager

Former Town boss George Burley - says Town fans would have had their dreams shattered. - Credit: Archant

Former Ipswich Town boss George Burley, like many in football, is glad to see the back of the European Super League.

The 64-year-old who guided Town into the Premiership in 2000 and then to the edge of Champions League football 12 months later, winning manager of the year into the bargain, says fans' dreams would have been shattered had the ESL have gone ahead.

George Burley with the trophy for Carling Premiership Manager Of The Year 2000/01 Photo: PA

George Burley with the trophy for Carling Premiership Manager Of The Year 2000/01 Photo: PA - Credit: PA

"When I was manager of Ipswich, being in Europe and trying to get into the Champions League was the dream to strive for," he said.

"Ipswich had the dream. We were third for a lot of 2000/01 season, we ended up fifth, just missed out on the Champions League, but we had European football.

"That 2001 season, we played in Milan, Moscow and, as a player, I played for 10/12 years all over Europe with Ipswich.

The TXU shirt is out at the San Siro as Town lost 4-1 to Inter Milan in December 2001

The TXU shirt is out at the San Siro as Town lost 4-1 to Inter Milan in December 2001. But what a European adventure Burley helped take Town fans on. - Credit: Archant

"It was for the fans. I walk about Ipswich today and fans still talk about their trips abroad all those years ago.

" You can't take away memories, but this Super League would have meant there would have been no memories for so many fans. That would all disappear. There would be no dreams, no European game."

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Like so many, Burley was furious at the idea of the breakaway ESL. For him - and so many - it made no sense.

Town players, left to right, George Burley, Paul Cooper, Kevin Beattie, Clive Woods and Mick Mills i

Town players, left to right, George Burley, Paul Cooper, Kevin Beattie, Clive Woods and Mick Mills in the Nou Camp in 1979. No big finish required here from Barcelona. They won 1-0 and went through on the away goals rule. - Credit: Archant

"You've got a pyramid of teams from the Premier League, Championship, Leagues One and Two, non-league, and it's everybody's dream to get promoted and make your way up," he said.

"For the fans you have the excitement of one day getting right up to the Premier League and when you are in the Premier League the dream is trying to get into Europe and the Champions League.

"And that's what football has always been about.

George Burley pictured during the early 1980s. He was part of the Town defence that stood firm away

George Burley came through the Town ranks and played for the Blues in many European games. - Credit: Archant

"Youngsters coming through, playing for their club, then country and all this could have destroyed  the whole lot. And it's all down to greed - all down to money.

"There would have been no positives at all. The only thing you would see is the bigger clubs getting richer."

Burley, who played 500 times for the Blues and then came back as manager nine years after he left to begin the build to guide them back into the Premiership, says he is shocked the ESL didn't go through the right procedures.

"The smaller clubs were having to just bow down and get out of the way of big clubs," he said.

Ipswich Town striker Paul Mariner watches his header go in as he equalises against St Etienne in the

Ipswich Town striker Paul Mariner watches his header go in as he equalises against St Etienne in the UEFA Cup quarter-final in 1981 - Credit: Archant

"It's completely ridiculous and shameful really. But they are taking it on their own, it's not as if they went through the procedures, talking to the various Leagues.

"It staggers me that they haven't spoken to any of the federations.

"I know my organisation that I'm still involved in, the LMA (League Managers' Association) are extremely annoyed. Basically, there would have been no no plusses whatsoever.

"It's just very selfish and with no justification."

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