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Kenneth Burns (born 23 September 1953) is a former Scotland international footballer. The peak of his playing career was Nottingham Forest, with whom he won the 1977–78 Football League title and the FWA Player of the Year award. He also won two European Cups and two Football League Cups.

Kenny Burns
Personal information
Full name Kenneth Burns[1]
Date of birth (1953-09-23) 23 September 1953 (age 65)[1]
Place of birth Glasgow,[1] Scotland
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[2]
Playing position Defender / Striker
Youth career
Glasgow Amateurs
1969–1971 Rangers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–1977 Birmingham City 170 (45)
1977–1981 Nottingham Forest 137 (13)
1981–1984 Leeds United 56 (2)
1984–1985 Derby County 38 (2)
1984–1985Notts County (loan) 2 (0)
1985–1986 Barnsley 21 (0)
1986 IF Elfsborg 0 (0)
1986–1988 Sutton Town
1988 Stafford Rangers 5 (0)
1988–1989 Grantham Town 18 (5)
1989 Gainsborough Trinity
1989–1990 Willenhall Town 21 (0)
1990–1993 Ilkeston Town 124 (55)
1993 Oakham United
National team
1974–1976 Scotland U23[3] 2 (0)
1974–1981 Scotland 20 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


Playing careerEdit

Burns was born in Glasgow and started his career with Rangers as an apprentice, but did not play a senior match for the club.

On being released in 1971, aged 17, he signed for Birmingham City. He arrived at the Blues as a defender, but was converted to striker after Bob Latchford left in 1974.[4] He earned the first of his 20 international caps in that role soon afterwards.[5]

After joining Nottingham Forest for £150,000 in 1977, he was converted back into a central defender by Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. He was one of three signings Forest made along with Archie Gemmill and Peter Shilton to add to the promotion-winning squad of the previous season.[6] Burns was both FWA Footballer of the Year and Forest's player of the year in 1977–78 in his defensive role as Forest won the First Division title that season, in their first year after returning to the top flight.[7] They also won that season's Football League Cup with a 1–0 replay victory over Liverpool; Burns collected the trophy as captain deputising for the injured John McGovern.[8]

He was an influential figure in the side's European Cup campaigns over the next three seasons, his defensive partnership with Larry Lloyd instrumental to Forest's victory in the 1979 and 1980 tournaments.[citation needed] He also scored in the second leg of the 1979 UEFA Super Cup final victory against Barcelona.[9] At one time he was renowned for his 'wild man' image[6] and while maintaining an aggressive nature, he also possessed a shrewd football brain and was always likely to score vital goals.[citation needed]

He was Forest's player of the year a second time in 1980–81, his last season at the City Ground.

Leeds United paid Forest a £400,000 fee for Burns. He stayed with the Yorkshire side until 1984, and he was the club player of the year in 1982–83. Burns spent 1984–85 at Derby County, also playing a small number of games on loan at Notts County. His last season in the Football League was in 1985-86 at Barnsley, before a spell at Elfsborg in Sweden.

He went on to represent a string of non-league clubs as player or player-coach, finishing up as assistant manager of Telford United in 1993.[4][10]



  1. ^ a b c "Kenny Burns". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Kenny Burns". Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Scotland U23 player Burns, Kenny". FitbaStats. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b Matthews, Tony (1995). Birmingham City: A Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. pp. 76–77. ISBN 978-1-85983-010-9.
  5. ^ "Scotland National Teams Player Details: Kenny Burns". SFA. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
  6. ^ a b Taylor, Daniel (11 November 2015). "Signing 'a hooligan' and a Shankly team talk: how Clough set up Forest for title". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  7. ^ Graham, Sean (26 August 2011). "Interview: Kenny Burns – Nottingham Forest & Scotland legend". Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  8. ^ Alton, Marcus (2017). "32. League Cup Final Replay". Brian Clough: Fifty Defining Fixtures. Amberley. ISBN 9781445649313.
  9. ^ "Burns' night for Forest". UEFA. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Kenny Burns profile". Grantham Town F.C. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2008.

External linksEdit