AS someone once remarked, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’.

It would take a particularly cockeyed view of the season to argue that most of the best stuff was before Christmas, while most of the worst stuff came after the advent of the New Year.

If it seems like another era when Robbie Blake scored his sumptuous volley against Manchester United, that’s because it is.

Back in August, Burnley had momentum, self-belief and a manager able to inspire his modest squad to play to their maximum and exceed expectations.

But then disaster struck.

Owen Coyle’s defection was the single biggest reason for the Clarets’ fall from grace.

Walking away from a half finished job showed a lack of class and principles.

Brian Laws was nobody’s choice as the next manager – nobody outside the boardroom anyway.

‘There’s nothing broken here,’ was his initial assessment. There is now.

Not only has Laws fallen short at football’s top table, but he is not the man to inspire an immediate return to the Premier League.

For this writer’s money, a change of a manager is a prioirity if the Clarets are to mix it again with the elite of English football.