Clarets may have found perfect mix with Dyche
SEAN Dyche’s reputation as a player was best summed up by the moment for which he is most remembered.
Dyche was the man who stepped up for minnows Chesterfield and scored a penalty to famously put the Spireites 2-0 up in an FA Cup semi final against Middlesbrough in 1997.
He smashed his spot kick straight down the middle – typical of his no-nonsense, honest approach as a rugged centre back.
Chesterfield would go on to lose that semi final in heartbreaking fashion after a replay, but Dyche’s leadership qualities had already caught the eye.
The 41-year-old has since taken those qualities into management and possesses the imposing 6ft frame and steely presence that the Burnley board are likely to see as an asset, having dropped hints since Eddie Howe’s departure that they wanted a boss with a little more aggression.
But those who know Dyche say there is a lot more to him than that.
They speak of an intelligent figure who thinks studiously about the game and prepares diligently for matches. Someone who utilises the modern advances in sports science to his advantage, is keen to give opportunities to young players, and knows how to get the best out of his squad.
Dyche was born in Kettering and came through the youth system at Nottingham Forest during Brian Clough’s days in charge at the City Ground.
He never made it to the first team, but still had enough dealings with Clough to gain some appreciation of the skills that made Ol’ Big Head the manager he was.
Seven years at Chesterfield would follow before the Spireites’ cup run as a third tier club earned him a move to Bristol City.
Spells at Luton and Millwall followed before he moved to Watford and spent three years at Vicarage Road, then ending his career with Northampton in 2007.
Dyche had earned such respect at Watford that he was offered a job as youth team coach before stepping up to become Malky Mackay’s assistant when the Scot took charge in 2009.
Mackay, on Burnley’s shortlist when Howe got the Turf Moor job in January 2011, eventually moved on to Cardiff and wanted Dyche to follow him to the Welsh capital.
But the chance to take over as Watford boss was hard to resist and he impressed last term by guiding the Hornets to their highest position for four seasons.
They finished 11th in the Championship – two places above Burnley – despite one of the division’s smallest budgets.
It was to be his only season in charge though, as he was controversially sacked in the summer by the club’s new Italian owners to make way for Gianfranco Zola.
Many Watford fans were left angry by the decision, and they now sit 16th in the table.
That Dyche was invited to temporarily join the England under 21 set-up by Stuart Pearce, a friend from his Nottingham Forest days, showed that plenty had admiration for the job he did at Vicarage Road.
He attracted interest from Crystal Palace too, over the current vacancy in south London.
But Dyche impressed Burnley enough during the Clarets’ interview process to be offered the job at Turf Moor.
Burnley’s aim is to achieve results on a limited budget.
They feel they have found the man who knows how to do just that.