Burr returns to Celtic following Phillips and Halford sacking
Wednesday 8th February 2017 @ 11:12 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Paul Phillips and Steve Halford have been sacked as the managers of Stalybridge Celtic Football Club.

The announcement was made on Wednesday morning by club chairman, Rob Gorski.

Phillips and Halford, who took the role in September following Liam Watson’s departure, have been replaced by former boss Steve Burr, who returns to the club for a second spell following his dismissal from Southport in January.

Detailing the reasons behind the decision, Gorski said: “I can confirm that Stalybridge Celtic have terminated the contracts of Paul Phillips and Steve Halford with immediate effect.

“I would like to put on record my thanks to both Steve and Paul.

“They had the toughest of times in that a lot of the previous squad went on to play 2 leagues below, yet they did a brilliant job of upgrading the quality of the squad.

“They also had the worst list of injuries in many a year and still managed to increase the attractiveness of the football and the commitment of the players.

“They go with our very best wishes and the board them every success in their future careers.”

Phillips and Halford took charge of 28 games in all competitions during a five month spell at Bower Fold.

But despite their best efforts under difficult circumstances – the duo inherited a side which had lost seven of their eight opening league fixtures – they were unable to stop the rot and managed just three victories in 19 league outings.

However, they did guide the club to the Manchester Premier Cup Semi-Final – which takes place next Tuesday against Salford City at Bower Fold – after beating FA Cup heroes Curzon Ashton 1-0 at Bower Fold in December.

Following the announcement, Phillips took to Twitter and said the following:

Phillips and Halford took their last game in charge of Celtic during last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at playoff chasing Stockport County.

Prior to that defeat, Celtic had shared the spoils in a 0-0 draw with a resurgent Curzon Ashton which suggested the club were moving in the right direction.

However, Gorski has seen things differently and opted to bring back the popular Burr, who became a fans favourite after helping the club to some of the best times in its history between 2007-2010.

Due to an absence in league fixture this weekend,  Burr will take charge of his first game during next Tuesday’s Manchester Premier Cup tie against an in-from Salford City.

Upon announcing his appointment on Wednesday, Gorski said: “Stalybridge Celtic are delighted to confirm that Steve Burr has signed an agreement to be the new manager until the end of the 2018 season.

“Everyone will remember the exciting football that we played under Steve and his reputation of playing that style of football has not changed.

“He took over Southport earlier this season when they were bottom of the Conference Premier and their fans claim that they were playing their best football in more than a decade. Steve also lifted them out of the relegation places.

“I cannot comment on internal affairs elsewhere, but we are very fortunate to have him back at Stalybridge Celtic.”

Gorski continued: “I’m absolutely thrilled that we have secured Steve’s services.

“He is a Conference Premier manager and it’s only his love of Celtic that brought him back here.

“Our objective short term is to very much stay in this league.

“We have some very winnable games in the next 6 to 8 matches.

“If we do go down, then we will be giving Steve the budget to get us back up at the first time of asking. We are not prepared to go backwards.

“We have some fabulous longer term plans that we are working on, but in the short term, we need to either remain in this league, or return immediately next season.”

Meanwhile, Burr, 57, commented: “I can’t wait to get started and try to keep us up. Long term, the aim is to start winning matches and get back to pushing for honours.

” Hard work, determination and everyone pushing in the same direction will bring us success.

“I very much look forward to working back at a club that I have very fond memories of”.