TROUBLED Jimmy Mullen ended his reign as Burnley manager on Monday after young thugs tried to set fire to his wife's clothes.

Mr Mullen, his wife, Sharon, and seven-year-old son, Danny, stopped at a take-away on Burnley Road, Harle Syke, on Sunday (February 11) night.

In what police described as "schoolboy pranks", a gang of children used bad language and waved a cigarette lighter near Mrs Mullen's coat.

Police say the Mullens were astounded by coverage of the incident, which has attracted enormous interest in the national press.

Acting Inspector Graham Barlow said: "They want the youths to be aware they have done wrong, but they are not after reprisals."

The incident was the final straw for Mr Mullen, who was already under enormous pressure following defeats in four consecutive matches.

Saturday's match saw the 3.33 protest, in which thousands of fans turned their backs on the pitch and called for the resignation of chairman Frank Teasdale.

Campaigners are now calling on Clarets fans to give their full support to the team at Saturday's home match. They hope such a show of support will make potential managers more willing to apply for the manager's job at Turf Moor.

Supporters' groups hope that at least 10,000 will turn out for the match. Disgruntled fans have been boycotting matches, and in recent weeks there have been some of the lowest gates for years.

Mullen's assistant, Clive Middlemass, has taken over as caretaker manager, and the club is advertising to fill the post.

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