Article by Scott Byrd – Follow Scott @DSMSpurs
In a footballing world which rarely sees managers last beyond their first contract, a manager who instills an ethos within a team that promotes togetherness and longevity must be kept close. Players are looking for higher wages, more opportunity, and it is often the manager that suffers at the hands of this “transfer and earn” mentality of the modern game. There are a handful of managers in the game who have broken the mold, ranging across the five major leagues within Europe, but one that has stood out to me in particular fashion is Burnley’s Sean Dyche.
Dyche took the reigns of the Championship club in 2012, after Eddie Howe opted to return to AFC Bournemouth. The following year, Dyche led Burnley to their best ever start to a season, which helped them earn promotion to the Premier league. Burnley would be relegated in their first year with two games to spare, but Dyche kept his place and the team returned to the Premier League after one season down. This past January, he signed a contract with the club that will last through 2022. His team now sit seventh place, a remarkable feat for the club.
Dyche got his start in 2007 in the Watford youth system under Malky Mackay. Mackay would eventually leave Watford for an opportunity to manager Cardiff City and in 2011, Dyche took the reigns and earned his first managerial cap at, coincidentally enough, Turf Moor. He would lead Watford to an eleventh-placed finish that season, but did lose his job and after some brief stints, found himself at Burnley.
Dyche has complete faith in the club from the top-down, and knows that his mentality will be the mentality of the entirety of the organization, which is the foundation of his success. His teams are organized, and he relies heavily on forwards who are strong, powerful, and quick enough to cover much of the final third on their own, with true wingers available as outlets. His fullbacks will also get forward, but his central defenders and central midfielders are very disciplined. He has overseen the develops of Kieren Trippier, now a starter at Spurs, Danny Ings of Liverpool, and Michael Keane of Everton, and his tight man-management and belief in discipline has to be attributed to such.
Dyche has also recently helped central defender James Tarkowski earn his first call to the English National team, similar to his work with the aforementioned Michael Keane. Along with Tarkowski, Dyche has also helped the previously discussed Ings, as well as the likes of Tom Heaton, Jack Cork and recently, Nick Pope. To say that he is a master at developing young England talent is an understatement, and it is a storyline that one would assume the FA to keep it’s eye on.
However, regardless of all of the statistical accolades, the fact that he has kept the faith of the board for his long, and the work he has done with individual players, what should be noted above all else is the loyalty that Dyche has shown to Burnley. A methodical, well-mannered and winning manager is a hot commodity in the modern game and isn’t easy to come by. One would have to assume that Dyche has been on the radar of many teams in past seasons, but has continued to make his point clear that he was happy at Burnley, and has backed his word with the signing of extended contracts. Sean Dyche is a gem that is lost in the mess of modern football, and should be as relevant as any in the game for some time.