New job for ‘best non-league manager’ Steve Burr

IN CHARGE AT CHESTER -- former Hucknall Town manager Steve Burr.
IN CHARGE AT CHESTER -- former Hucknall Town manager Steve Burr.

Hucknall Town legend Steve Burr has quickly found himself a new job after his controversial sacking at Kidderminster Harriers.

What’s more, he has been labelled “the best manager outside the Football League” by one of his new bosses.

Burr (54), who led Town to their biggest honour in the 2003/04 season, has been appointed manager of Chester in the Skrill Conference Premier.

He beat off opposition from 52 other applicants to land the post. And the club’s vice-chairman, Steve Ashton, said:

“Steve’s record speaks for itself. He is a perfect fit for our club values, and is held in very high regard throughout football.”

Chester were formed in 2010 after the winding-up of bankrupt former Football League Club, Chester City.

Starting in Division One North of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, they have won promotion in each of the last three seasons.

But they have found life tough in the top division of the Conference and currently sit fifth from bottom of the table after only six wins and 24 goals in 28 matches.

When previous manager Neil Young left the club by mutual consent, Chester swooped for Burr, who had just been sacked by divisional rivals Kidderminster, despite leading them to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup.

A defiant Ashton said: “We are completely confident that Steve is the best man to ensure our survival in the Conference Premier. We look forward to working with him in the coming years.”

Burr, a former player with Macclesfield Town, has enjoyed success at virtually every non-league post he has held.

But he entered Hucknall footballing folklore when transforming The Yellows into Unibond Northern Premier League champions in his one and only season at Watnall Road.

It should have won Town promotion to the Conference’s top flight. But their ground was deemed inadequate, and Burr departed to Northwich Victoria, while his Town team went on to reach the 2005 FA Trophy final at Villa Park under Dean Barrick.

He joined Kidderminster in 2010 and led them to the brink of the Conference title last season before they were pipped on the very last day of the season by Mansfield Town and then lost in the promotion play-offs.

This term, they sat just outside the play-off places but just after Burr had been dismissed, they knocked League One Peterborough United out of the FA Cup.

That earned a trip to Premier League Sunderland last Saturday when they put up an heroic fight under new boss Andy Thorn before going down 1-0.

One of Burr’s star signings while at Hucknall was former Northern Ireland international Jon McCarthy. And this week, he called up ‘Macca’ again to work under him as player/coach at Chester.

The classy winger (now 43) hung up his boots seven years ago to move into coaching -- after a 20-year professional career with the likes of Birmingham City, who bought him for £1.5 million in 1997, York City and Port Vale. He won 18 international caps.

He signed for Town midway through their title-winning campaign and was a huge hit with fans, making 34 appearances. He then followed Burr to Northwich the following season.

On his appointment at Chester, McCarthy said: “My ideas on the game are very much the same as Steve’s. We want attacking football.”