The Coyle Conundrum!
Managerial changes at Bolton and now Burnley within a week have set up the intriguing possibility that Owen Coyle could be in the frame to make a return to Turf Moor. Chief Executive, Lees Hoos might have other ideas but the betting organisations have Coyle as firm favourite to take back the reins at the club. Sky Bet for example have installed Owen Coyle as the 7/4 favourite to be the next Burnley manager after Eddie Howe returned to Bournemouth on Friday.
What would the club think about bringing back a manager that stabbled them in the back and caused such bitterness back in January 2010 when he upped sticks to join Bolton and leave Burnley fighting a relegation battle they would subsequently lose?
What would the fans think about seeing Owen Coyle in the Burnley dugout again having nicknamed the guy 'Judas` (and worse) since that time? The frosty reception he received in the opening game of the season against Bolton at Turf Moor back in August show that the scars have certainly not fully healed despite the pleasure of seeing Coyle suffer relegation with Bolton at the end of last season. The glee of seeing Coyle then sacked as manager of Bolton earlier this month was plain to see on so many Clarets fans faces but little did we know that less than seven days later our own manager would be departing the club.
Could the unbelievable happen? Could we be singing 'Owen Coyle da da der da` once again or would that be too much for some of the fans? Would they protest or just refuse to go to games?
We will come to the case for the defence and prosecution as far as the fans are concerned in a moment but first of all what would the club do if Owen Coyle showed an interest in returning? Well the early indications are that it is probably a non-starter if you read between the lines of a recent statement from Chief Executive, Lee Hoos.
Hoos told BBC Radio Lancashire: 'Obviously I wasn't there when the whole Owen Coyle saga happened.
'But I got enough feedback to know that there was a very bitter aftertaste, and I just couldn't see a way back for that one.
"Being free and available is not necessarily the hallmark of what we are going for, it has to be the right person - the right man for right job at the right time."
Not looking good then which will please a lot of fans. Just like many I was one that found the departure of Owen Coyle and the rest back in January 2010 very hard to stomach particularly in the way it was done not to mention the false platitudes that had previously spouted from Coyle`s mouth about loyalty and wanting to achieve his long-term goals with Burnley FC. We shall never know fully why he left Burnley FC in the first place, there are so many stories. I heard one the other day that suggested he was crying when he left Turf Moor but that he had to go purely because the club would not provide the resources he needed to secure a better chance of survival for the club in the Premier League.
So what do I think now? Would I have him back? I have always taken the view that you should give everybody a second chance but not at any price and certainly if they mess up again then that`s it! But do we give someone the chance to mess up again though when they have already blotted their copybook and let the club down? If we did bring him back there would have to be a lot of apologising and peace-making with both the Board and fans and the right words would have to be said to give Coyle any chance of being remotely accepted back by the fans. Coyle would have to show humility and convince the fans that this time he would see through his and the club`s targets and goals and not up-sticks if the going got tough and funds were not available (and that is a highly likely scenario knowing this club) If he said the right things and could convince enough people though why not?
Let`s be brutally honest, the most exciting football we have seen at Turf Moor in recent times was under Coyle`s reign. Who can ever forget the joy of the play-offs and of course the Wembley victory in 2009? How could we ever forget those first few opening games of the Premier League season especially the victory at home against Manchester United thanks to that Robbie Blake goal? Of course it all went tits-up eventually and indeed was doing so under Coyle before he left. Yes he has his failings, tactically inept defensively probably but look what we have got now? No Plan B but did Laws and Howe?
Perhaps Owen Coyle might be a different person now having tasted the dizzy heights of Premier League football and failed plus now got the dreaded word 'relegation` on his CV. He might be less ambitious and more humble now but could he repeat the process and get Burnley promoted back to the Premier League? Lightening rarely strikes twice (and all that) which is another aspect of the prosecution`s case. Another ma lord, would be his inability to keep clubs in the top flight and that certainly has to be a worry. The fact remains though that he is a proven manager at Championship level if you count promotion as the criteria and we should not dismiss his possible return out of hand for that very reason. His energy, his motivation, his animation on the touchline are capable of raising spirits both on and off the pitch and this is something we have sadly missed both under Brian Laws and Eddie Howe. Our current Vital Burnley poll shows our posters split virtually 50:50 and of course that would still be a recipe for disaster with so many fans not accepting his return. What though would Coyle have to say or do to convince enough fans he means business this time and won`t let us down again? Perhaps there is nothing he can say or do but maybe we should give him a chance and not dismiss the prospect out of hand. The club at the end of the day can simply say 'no' assuming he even applies for the position.
I personally can`t see him returning even though something inside me deep down hopes that somehow he will after making amends and saying sorry for his previous misdemeanours.
What is clear is that we have to get the next appointment right after so many recent disasters. Surely we have to get the right man with the right experience and that has to be someone with proven ability in getting a Championship club promoted. But to do that we have to pay the going rate and is the club ambitious enough to do that or will it scour the lower leagues again for cheaper options? Think we may have had enough of failed Championship managers on the cheap (Brian Laws) and up-and-coming unproven talent (Eddie Howe). We could be facing a relegation battle at the moment and it is crucial we can bring someone in who can steady the ship, avoid the drop and propel the side up the table. To do that they will have to hit the ground running and I am not convinced taking someone from the lower leagues and throwing them in at the deep-end is the best option.
Owen Coyle da da der da? The happiest days of my life followed by the worst!!Will this saga ever come to an end amicably?