Chris Flanagan column: Burnley boss Dyche deserved to win manager of year
"PERHAPS Sean Dyche needed to feed 5,000 or part a river?” was how one Twitter user put it.
After guiding Burnley to one of the most extraordinary promotions in recent times, the winner of the LMA’s Championship manager of the year was . . . Nigel Pearson.
This was the same Nigel Pearson who did not make the final shortlist for the LMA’s overall manager of the year award for all four divisions, yet Dyche did. Puzzling.
Dyche did not win that award either, as Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers got the nod.
Rodgers’ victory could at least in part be justified. No manager from outside the Premier League had won the main award since Reading’s Steve Coppell in 2006.
Dyche may have always been an outsider to win the big one – even if he achieved his objective of promotion, while Rodgers ultimately fell short of the Premier League title.
But most, even those outside of Burnley, are still struggling to comprehend quite how Dyche was overlooked for the Championship manager of the year award.
As fine a job as Pearson did with Leicester City this season, there is just no comparison with what Dyche achieved.
Leicester’s financial power and expectations of promotion were such that there was talk that Pearson might even be fired a year ago when the Foxes lost in the play-offs.
Yes, they finished one place and nine points above Burnley this season, but the result was the same. Both sides will be playing in the Premier League next term.
For the Clarets and Dyche, that is clearly the far greater accomplishment.
They were one of the favourites for relegation, sold Charlie Austin on the eve of the new season and had barely any budget to improve their squad.
By all logic, they should have been nowhere near the top two.
Dyche has been the footballing equivalent of a miracle worker this season.
He called Burnley’s promotion ‘historic’ and he was right. It may be a long time before another club gains automatic promotion to the Premier League in quite such unexpected fashion.
If the managers of the Championship who voted for the award cannot see why that was such a big achievement, it is probably why their teams trailed in Burnley’s wake during 2013/14.
In some quarters Dyche may still not be getting the recognition he deserves, and maybe that’s no bad thing.
The longer Burnley can hang on to him, the better for them.
It was a surprise to some this week, too, when Scott Arfield was again omitted from the Scotland squad.
After such a fine season at Turf Moor, the midfielder surely deserves a chance.
But Dyche and Arfield should respond how Burnley responded all season when people doubted them.
Keep proving them wrong.
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