Let the Good Times Roll
EIGHTEEN days passed between Eddie Howe`s departure and Sean Dyche`s appointment......it felt more like 80 !!
There's nothing in football quite comparable with the void of being 'managerless' and Clarets fans have Terry Pashley to thank that this potentially troublesome period was a largely profitable one. Two wins from three extremely tough fixtures on paper was a job well done.
That this honeymoon period would end with a grim performance at Cardiff was a timely if unwelcome reminder that a new direction for the club needed to be confirmed sooner rather than later. Until that point, I'm sure many of us were prepared to put the new manager appointment on hold.
I enjoyed listening to Pash for his brief spell as interim boss. He saw things as 'team coach' but with the infectious passion of a supporter. He never gave the impression he had the desire for much more than that and I'm sure he will relish going back to the familiarity of his day job with the youth squad this week.
Hopefully, though, he`ll have been the first point of contact for our new manager Sean Dyche, as the imposing former central defender made his presence felt at Gawthorpe this week.
There were positives to take from our tactically astute display against Blackpool but they'll also be much to mull over for Dyche who witnessed the debacle at Cardiff with his own eyes.
His reaction was to get on with the business of drilling his new team and letting them know whose boss. The press conferences come later. This has been a telling first lesson from the Dyche manual. By all accounts, he does things right.
It doesn`t get much better than Wolves and Leeds United at home for a hungry individual ready to make an impression after an unwelcome spell on the sidelines. He will be all too aware.
The 24/7 analysis of our manager search has been fraught with tedium, exacerbated by the unlikely scenario of sharing this crossroads with both Blackburn and Bolton. I had a good feeling for Michael Appleton early on as his attributes were sold to me. Maybe the view from the top was that he was perhaps too much in the Howe mould. Although highly regarded and wanted by Roy Hodgson in the England set-up, relatively inexperienced in the Championship.
The joint chairmen - Mike G and John B - have been at pains to point out just how extensive their search has been. I think they deserve credit for sidestepping Owen Coyle and being broad-minded in their approach. We`ll never know for sure whether this due diligence was based on a genuine scenario of being faced by multiple candidates of a high quality, or that there selection process has been a little flawed.
Either way, some of the condescending flannel thrown in Dyche`s direction from supporters has been embarrassing, possibly based on nothing more than the fact he has ginger hair. Rather like why Neil Kinnock never won a general election.
Who wouldn't have loved to be a fly on the wall during this process? It was interesting to hear Mike Garlick say that one of the first questions Sean posed was to enquire how the club engaged with its community.
In few professions is it the interviewee who asks the probing questions. This was a pertinent one from Dyche as there is much to suggest that Burnley could make considerable improvements at community level. An encouraging opening gambit.
Have to admit I was a little perturbed at what was reported to be the final short-list of Dyche, Steve Lomas and Steven Pressley, only because I felt two out of the three had insufficient experience to take the reins of Burnley and all that comes with it.
By that token Dyche's credentials were extremely favourable. Not only was he out of work - having been cast aside at Watford when the Pozzi family moved in lock, stock and barrell during the summer - but also he was an impressive character throughout last season. He turned unfancied Watford, a pre-season favourite for relegation, into a top half team with more Championship wins than defeats.
The former centre-half was promoted from within at Vicarage Road when Malky Mackay took one of the top jobs in the Championship at Cardiff, in the summer of 2011. Dyche had earlier worked under Brendan Rodgers with a key role overseeing Watford's youth development, which he continued when Rodgers left.
Very few supporters who passed comment on the merits of his candidacy on internet message boards have pointed out the fact that Dyche actually improved upon Mackay by three points, yet you don`t hear anyone accuse Cardiff of 'lacking ambition.` He achieved this despite losing the division's leading league goalscorer Danny Graham (to Swansea), a match-winner in Will Buckley (to Brighton) and midfield talisman Don Cowie (who joined Mackay at Cardiff) before a ball was kicked. His next top scorer Marvin Sordell, would then leave to join Owen Coyle's Bolton in the winter transfer window.
Despite all this, the Hornets rallied and were still within a sniff of the play-offs towards the end of the season. (If the dreaded 'Deloitte and Touche` had run the rule over the last Championship, Dyche would surely have been on top!).
From what I can decipher, no reporter has yet had the balls to delve into his philosophy on how the game should be played, which to be honest, is my only concern with his appointment.
I was right behind Eddie Howe in terms of how he wanted his time to play but with the acceptance it would be a long process. The perceived failures of his style were that the ball didn't always move quick enough and key players in the system weren't technically adept enough to execute plans. It made for a frustrating watch at times and I just get the feeling that in Dyche we might see a more pragmatic, flexible approach. Or simply more direct!
So following Eddie's hot rods might just play to Dyche's strengths. Howe was steely and no doubt determined, but there's a candour and confidence in Dyche that demands instant respect. This no-nonsense nature will appeal to Burnley fans. The changing attitude towards him in the first few days certainly suggests so.
With eight years Championship level experience as a player, youth developer, coach, assistant and manager behind him, Dyche has a vision on how a good club should run. But he was quick to reiterate that all of this can only be reflected though the output of his team. All of his efforts will be directed to that end. He might even move up here.
As a local newspaper headline stated on the appointment of our last successful one, 'Let the Good Times Roll`.