Frank Burrows began his football career at Scottish club Raith Rovers F.C.. In 1965 he moved south to England and joined Scunthorpe United F.C.. Impressive performances as a defender for Scunthorpe led to him being signed by Swindon Town F.C. for the 1968/69 season as a replacement for the departing Mel Nurse. Burrows was a major factor in helping Swindon to their most successful ever season in which they won promotion and the League Cup.
Burrows played alongside team captain Stan Harland in the middle of a defence that conceded just 35 goals in 46 League matches. He went on to make over 350 appearances for Swindon. At the start of the 1973/74 season he was made a player coach, such was the feeling that he was a natural leader as well as a solid defender.
The 1975/76 season saw his coaching come more into prominence. The season had not gone well for Swindon with a defeat at the hands of Tooting & Mitcham United F.C. in the FA Cup and a slide down the Football League Division Three table into a perilous position. After a disastrous 4-0 defeat at Chesterfield F.C. manager Danny Williams was sacked and Burrows was appointed manager, doing enough to save the club from relegation.
Manager of Portsmouth Football Club May 1979 – May 1982
The club's fortunes began to turn around with the appointment of Frank Burrows as manager in 1979, and in his first season in charge Pompey won promotion back to the Third Division in May 1980. Pompey nearly won a second successive promotion the next year, but a mediocre finish in the 1981-82 season saw Burrows resign and take a coaching job at Sunderland instead.After leaving the club in 1982 he later became manager at Swansea City F.C.. He then spent a period on the coaching staff at West Ham United F.C. before becoming manager of Cardiff City F.C. in May 1986. He helped revive the fortunes of the Bluebirds before moving on again.
Manager of Portsmouth Football Club January 1990–March 1991
He later managed Swansea City and Cardiff City and was manager of the Cardiff side which won promotion to Division Two in 1999.
From 2000 until 2004, Burrows was assistant manager to Gary Megson at West Bromwich Albion and helped them win promotion to the Premiership twice. Burrows took charge of two games as caretaker-manager following Megson's departure, but left the Hawthorns once Bryan Robson arrived.