HAVING started his football career at Sheffield Wednesday in 1964, Burnley's assistant manager Sam Ellis has never been out of the game for than a matter of weeks. After hanging up his boots he worked at Watford, Blackpool, Manchester City, Lincoln City and Bury. He recently signed a new contract at Turf Moor and admits it doesn't get better than this as his partnership with boss Stan Ternent continues to flourish after a low-key start at Gigg Lane back in 1995. So how does the partnership function?

"I STARTED working with Stan when he had got the manager's job at Bury and I was out of work after leaving Lincoln City. I had known Stan socially for a number of years and I was at a reserve game at Preston sitting alongside him when he just dropped it in.

"Bury had just won two away games to go from 23rd to 15th in the Third Division but we managed to finish in the season in third place and get promoted.

"I don't think there's any secret to any success we have had. It's down to hard work and I like to think experience counts for a lot in football and between us we are as experienced a partnership as you can get.

"It was gratifying at Bury where we had three excellent years and if we maintain our status this three years will match them.

"I had five years at Watford when we went from the Fourth Division to the First but I haven't had six years as good as this. "I can't tell you what a good job it is and how much I enjoy it, which is important. It's a great thing when you get up every morning and want to go to work and I have never felt that I have missed out when I finished playing.

"I am quite proud of my record and Stan has been in the game for two years longer. I signed on in 1964 and I think he did in 1962.

"I have been lucky to work for two good people in Graham Taylor and Peter Reid and I find Stan's organisation and ways as good if not better than those two.

"It's also his knowledge. You can't have much more at knowing how to organise a club, not just a team but the knowledge that what he's doing is right and how to do it.

"We would hope that as each season goes we improve. The target at the end of each year is to surpass what we did last year and any club would regard that as success."