Brian Laws
Laws in 2006
Personal information
Full name Brian Laws[1]
Date of birth (1961-10-14) 14 October 1961 (age 60)[1]
Place of birth Wallsend, England
Position(s) Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1979–1983 Burnley 125 (12)
1983–1985 Huddersfield Town 56 (1)
1985–1988 Middlesbrough 108 (12)
1988–1994 Nottingham Forest 147 (4)
1994–1996 Grimsby Town 46 (2)
1996–1997 Darlington 10 (0)
1997–1998 Scunthorpe United 18 (0)
Total 510 (31)
Teams managed
1994–1996 Grimsby Town
1997–2006 Scunthorpe United
2006–2009 Sheffield Wednesday
2010 Burnley
2012 Shamrock Rovers
2012–2013 Scunthorpe United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Brian Laws (born 14 October 1961) is an English former footballer who was most recently the manager of Scunthorpe United.

Playing as a defender, Laws made over 100 appearances for each of Burnley, Middlesbrough, and Nottingham Forest. In 1994, Laws became player-manager of Grimsby Town before taking a similar position with Scunthorpe United in 1997. For the next nine years, Laws served as manager of Scunthorpe, guiding them to promotion twice. In 2006, he accepted the managerial role at Sheffield Wednesday, lasting three years in the job during which time Burnley approached him for their managers job when Steve Cotterill left, but were put off by the compensation demanded by Wednesday. Wednesday later struggled with financial problems and he was dismissed in December 2009 after a poor run of results.

After only a brief spell out of the game, Burnley appointed Laws as their manager, giving him his first chance to manage in the Premier League after Owen Coyle left the club for Bolton in January 2010 and took the entire management team with him. He was dismissed by the club in December that year. Laws returned to manage Scunthorpe United in 2012 only to be dismissed in November 2013.

Playing career

Born in Wallsend, Northumberland,[1] Laws began playing football at the famous Wallsend Boys Club.[2] Aged 17 he signed his first professional contract with Burnley, joining the club as an apprentice. Over the following four seasons he made 181 appearances for the club and, despite his defensive role, scored fifteen goals. However, during this period the club's fortunes were in decline and, following relegation back to the old Third Division, Burnley sold Laws across the Pennines to Huddersfield Town for only £10,000 in 1983.[3] Two years later Laws was sold again, moving to Middlesbrough for £30,000. After a short period Laws became first choice in Middlesbrough's starting eleven, in his three seasons at the club he twice helped the team to promotion, firstly to the Second Division and then, just a year later, up to the old First Division. However, the club's finances were not strong, and when Nottingham Forest offered £120,000 for his contract in 1988 Middlesbrough sold him to the Trentside club.[4]

On 14 July 1986, he famously applied to the Football League to have his contract cancelled and enable himself to leave Middlesbrough on a free transfer, as they were in liquidation and on the verge of losing their Football League status and going out of business at this stage. However, they were saved from closure the following month and Laws remained part of the team who won promotion in the next two seasons to take them from the Third Division to the First.[5]

Laws was part of Brian Clough's successful Nottingham Forest team for six seasons, playing mainly as right full-back. He is sometimes credited as Forest's second-best right-back of all time[6] behind regular England international Viv Anderson. During this time he won the League Cup twice and was runner up in the League Cup and FA Cup. Clough's first words to his new signing were "I've never seen you play, son, I'm going on the recommendation of Ronnie Fenton. So if you're crap, Ronnie signed you. If you're good, I signed you."[7]

Laws was at Forest at the time of the Hillsborough disaster in the 1988–89 FA Cup semi final. The originally scheduled fixture had to be abandoned early in the game due to fans being fatally crushed in the Leppings Lane terracing. In the rescheduled fixture, Laws scored an own goal; the game ended 3–1 to Liverpool.

Forest were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 1992–93 season and Clough retired, a year and a half later and with reduced first team opportunities, Laws left on a free transfer to become player-manager at Grimsby Town.

Managerial career

Laws started his management career at Grimsby Town in 1994, replacing Alan Buckley who had moved to West Bromwich Albion.[8] Laws' management of Town was initially successful, but deteriorated after he clashed with Grimsby player Ivano Bonetti. Laws reportedly threw a plate of chicken wings at the Italian following a 3–2 defeat at Luton Town in February 1996.[9] Laws was dismissed by Grimsby after a poor start to the 96–97 season. He then had a short spell as a player with Darlington before taking charge of Scunthorpe United.

At Scunthorpe Laws achieved promotion twice, in 1999 and 2005 respectively. He was dismissed by the club in March 2004 but was reinstated three weeks later, leading them to promotion the following season.

After nearly 10 years at Scunthorpe Laws left the club in November 2006 to take over the manager's job at Sheffield Wednesday. Ex-Wednesday chairman Dave Allen, in an interview made before hiring Laws, admitted that he liked him because of his Brian Clough management style. He said "I like him, he comes from the Clough camp, I'm a great admirer of the Clough camp".[10]

On 7 February 2009, Laws became the first Sheffield Wednesday Manager for 95 years to do the league double over their neighbours Sheffield United, therefore making sure his name goes down in Wednesday history. Laws however came under increasing pressure from Wednesday fans to depart at the start of December, after a poor run of results which saw the Owls drop to 20th along with four straight home defeats.[11] Laws left Sheffield Wednesday on 13 December 2009 by mutual consent after a run of bad results.[12] Sheffield Wednesday were relegated in 2010 after failing to win in their last game against Crystal Palace.[13]

In January 2010, Laws was linked with a surprise return to his first club Burnley as manager, this following the departure of Owen Coyle to Bolton Wanderers.[14] On 13 January, Laws was appointed as the new manager of Burnley.[15] They lost 15 of their remaining 18 Premier League games, plummeting from mid table in January to the relegation zone; their relegation being confirmed with two matches remaining. Despite this setback, the Burnley board of directors agreed that Laws would be in charge of the team for the quest to regain top flight status in 2010–11.[16]

In summer 2010 he let a number of older players go and sold Steven Fletcher to Wolves. In pre-season he has had a successful start winning all games, bar one draw. Laws made a number of signings during the summer transfer window, including Chris Iwelumo from Wolves and Ross Wallace from local rivals Preston North End. Laws managed his 700th league game in a 4–0 win over Hull City. However, after a poor run of results that left Burnley 9th in the Championship, after the 2–0 loss to Scunthorpe United which saw Burnley fans calling for his dismissal, on 29 December 2010 it was announced that Laws had been dismissed from the club.[17]

On 17 September 2012, Laws was appointed Director of Football at Shamrock Rovers until the end of the 2012 League of Ireland season.[18][19][20]

On 29 October 2012, Laws returned as manager of League One Scunthorpe United, following the dismissal of Alan Knill.[21] In November 2013 he was dismissed by Scunthorpe following the side's FA Cup defeat by local rivals Grimsby Town.[22]

He currently provides analysis and co-commentary on Nottingham Forest matches for BBC Radio Nottingham and Sheffield Wednesday matches on BBC Radio Sheffield.


Laws has two children from his late first wife and a son with his second wife, Jane.[23]

in November 2016, Laws revealed to Sheffield Live TV that he underwent double heart bypass surgery.[24]

Managerial statistics

As of 20 November 2013
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
P W D L Win %
Grimsby Town 29 November 1994 1 November 1996 99 30 28 41 030.3
Scunthorpe United 24 February 1997 6 November 2006 520 202 138 180 038.8
Sheffield Wednesday 6 November 2006 13 December 2009 154 52 42 60 033.8
Shamrock Rovers 17 September 2012 26 October 2012 6 4 0 2 066.7
Burnley 13 January 2010 29 December 2010 44 13 9 22 029.5
Scunthorpe United 29 October 2012 20 November 2013 52 17 14 21 032.7
Total 875 318 231 326 036.3


As a player

Nottingham Forest

As a manager

Scunthorpe United



  1. ^ a b c "Brian Laws". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Brian Laws: In profile". BBC South Yorkshire. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  3. ^ Brian Laws at Soccerbase
  4. ^ "Brian Laws profile: page 2". BBC South Yorkshire. 28 March 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  5. ^ "Boro Crisis at Ayresome". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  6. ^ "Brian Laws summary". Archived from the original on 29 May 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  7. ^ Turnbull, Simon (28 January 2001). "Football: Folk lore man Laws picks up pieces and repays faith". The Independent. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  8. ^ "Brian Laws". League Managers Association. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Celina Hinchcliffe on Brian Laws". BBC Sport. 8 November 2006. Retrieved 4 December 2008.
  10. ^ "Wednesday confirm Laws interest". BBC Sport. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 4 December 2008.
  11. ^ "Championship – Wednesday complete United double". EuroSportYahoo!. 8 February 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2009.[dead link]
  12. ^ "Sheff Wed part company with Laws". BBC News. 13 December 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  13. ^ Fletcher, Paul (2 May 2010). "Sheff Wed 2–2 Crystal Palace". BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  14. ^ "Burnley appoint Brian Laws as new manager". BBC News. London. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Burnley appoint Brian Laws as new manager". BBC Sport. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  16. ^ "Laws to remain as Burnley manager". BBC News. 12 May 2010.
  17. ^ "Boss Brian Laws shown door by Burnley". BBC Sport. 29 December 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  18. ^ "Brian Laws". Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  19. ^ "Shamrock Rovers appoint Laws". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 17 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  20. ^ "Brian Laws wants to bring calmness to Shamrock Rovers as director of football". RTÉ News. RTÉ. 17 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  21. ^ "Scunthorpe United: Brian Laws replaces Alan Knill as manager". BBC Sport. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  22. ^ "Brian Laws: Scunthorpe United sack boss after FA Cup exit". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  23. ^ Chadband, Ian (30 April 2010). "Burnley manager Brian Laws makes powerful pitch to revive fortunes of his beloved club. ". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 4 May 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  24. ^ "Laws: I owe my life to GP after heart bypass". The London Owls - Sheffield Wednesday supporters club for Wednesdayites living in London and the south east. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2018.