Elliott stunner fires Burnley into Premier League

LONDON: Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell admits he could quit Bramall Lane to avoid suffering the consequences of his side's failure to win promotion to the Premier League.

The Blades fell at the final hurdle on Monday as Wade Elliott's superb strike condemned them to a 1-0 defeat against Burnley in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Losing with the promised land of English football's top-flight within touching distance is always a heartbreaking experience. But Blackwell was speaking with experience as well as raw emotion when he said he would have to think hard about his future.

Blackwell was in charge of Leeds when they lost to Watford in the 2006 final and knows what a catastrophic effect defeat in the showpiece can have on a club.

Leeds never recovered from that loss and are now marooned in League One. And, with the Blades' 10 million pounds-a-year parachute payment - given after their relegation from the Premier League - now at an end, Blackwell knows a host of key players are likely to be sold.

"There is a rebuilding job to do at the club and it might need someone different to do it," he said.

"A lot of lads will have to leave the club now. The whole wage structure has to change.

"Our turnover is going to drop by 10 million pounds, Anyone who loses that will tell you it's a significant downturn.

"I will go away and reflect on it but I am thinking that I might have taken the club as far as it can go.

"I have been in this position before. I know the ramifications. To pick clubs up off the floor after this is difficult.

"It is a gut instinct. I would rather make the decision myself than have it made for me."

While Blackwell contemplates his future, Burnley boss Owen Coyle can look forward to leading the Clarets into the top-flight for the first time in 33 years.

Less than two years after being hailed as the "new Bill Shankly" on his appointment at Turf Moor, the Scot shows signs of making the same kind of impact as the legendary former Liverpool manager.

Coyle has lifted Burnley, a humble Lancashire team often overshadowed by the big clubs in nearby Manchester, Liverpool and even Blackburn, out of the doldrums in remarkable fashion.

His success has already seen him linked with Celtic, who are looking for a manager after Gordon Strachan quit on Monday. But 42-year-old Coyle is determined to finish the job at Burnley.

"It's flattering that people mention your name, but I'm with Burnley," Coyle said. "I'll concentrate my job on what I am doing here and long may that continue."

Coyle knows how difficult it will be to establish Burnley as a Premier League club for more than a season, although he can take heart from the success of Stoke and Hull, who both survived this year despite being heavily favoured to go straight back down.

"The Premier League is full of the best players in the world and some of the top managers in Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger and so forth," Coyle said.

"Burnley, as a town, is having a tough time with the credit crunch. We are under no illusions about how difficult it will be.

"We will need to add to the squad we have. But we'll have terrific spirit.

"We're not being delusional now, but if we finish fourth bottom it will be a better achievement than where we've finished now. We will be underdogs home and away."