At the start of 1995, Celtic were in a situation that looked almost as bleak as the one they are in now. It was certain relegation, and then somehow Peter Wragg — also in his second spell as manager — led the side to eight wins and two draws from the last 12 games.
Can Burr also achieve mission impossible? “I don’t like to talk about relegation while there’s still a possibility we can escape,” he replied. “We’ve got to be positive, but I accept that a bookmaker wouldn’t give much for our chances of survival.
“It’s a challenge and I like challenges. I know people are asking why on earth I would want the job but I feel it’s right to get straight back in the saddle after leaving Southport.
“When I left Chester, I was offered a new post after about a week and I turned it down because I thought I should wait and see what might happen. Then later, I felt I should have gone straight back in again. It was quite a few months before I got the job at Southport and once the novelty of having a break had gone away I began to wonder if I would ever get an opportunity somewhere else.
“I know the people at Stalybridge and I know the chairman, Rob Gorski. I respect what they’ve done there and I know they’ll let me do the job to the best of my ability. It’ll be difficult to keep them up but anything’s possible.”
Bridge have no game on Saturday, so Burr is planning to use the day to get to know the team and for a bit of a training session. He accepts there is no time to make major changes to the squad which has already featured something like 60 players this season. His intention is to get the team used to winning again.
That’s Burr’s task for the ten weeks or so until the end of the campaign. If he fails, and Celtic go down, he has been promised he can stay next season, when he would begin the process of restructuring.
Burr has not named a number-two yet, but when he does that post will only exist until the end of the season. His “real” assistant will be appointed over the summer. However, a positive end to this campaign would strengthen the hand of whoever comes in over the next few days.
“I’ll be trying to get the current squad winning,” Burr continued, “and that might mean a bit of tinkering with the system. If players become available we’ll have a look. I’ve already had a number of calls.
“At this stage of the season I know it wouldn’t be right to make big changes. I can’t just do it for the sake of it. It takes time. What I want to do is give the lads already at the club an opportunity to show me what they can do and start winning matches again.
“Overall, if I can eventually get Stalybridge Celtic back to where they were when I left for Kidderminster Harriers in 2010 I’ll be more than happy. We need to get into that winning habit again, and when that happens it can snowball.”