More good signings are needed if Burnley is to remain in the Premier League/ Dave Thomas column

Dorset, or Beominster, to be precise, was where we headed for a few days with Mrs T’s sister.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 3:45 pm
Football writer Dave Thomas believes a manager is only as good as the players in his team

Think of Thomas Hardy country and you get the picture. Rolling hills, woodland, small villages, farms and lots of

sheep. We were on the M5 as we heard that Burnley had lost 2-0 at City.

These are the kind of sleepy little places where you might imagine nothing much ever happens.

Except you’d be mistaken. Beominster is where a daring cash machine raid went wrong. Bungle is an

understatement.

The hapless criminals stole a farm tractor in the early hours, drove it into town, attached the front end to the ATM machine, reversed at speed, and pulled half the building down.

The ATM remained buried under the rubble, the culprits scarpered, leaving tractor and half a listed building all over the middle of the high street. Folks still talk about it.

Beominster has a butcher, a grocer, a baker, pet shop and a general store. A couple of restaurants and a couple of pubs and a newly opened bookshop complete the picture, all set around a central ‘square’, where you can imagine the market taking place in days gone by.

It’s only eight miles to West Bay and the harbour where they filmed Broadchurch, so, of course trippers come down and say “ooh look this is where they filmed Broadchurch. Ooh that’s the building that was the police station.”

Then they head to the fish and chip kiosks that line the harbour. As soon as the chips appear so do the seagulls that swoop down and take a chip and half your finger. The moral is, have a hot dog or a pie. Seagulls seem to ignore them.

Astonishingly the seagulls at the weekend ignored the thousands of little fishes that had been swept up by the tide onto the sand. These were whitebait, driven in to shallow waters and into the harbour by the much bigger hordes of mackerel.

The mackerel thought they were being smart but, up above, lining the harbour walls were the local fishermen and anglers and they were even smarter. As fast as the locals threw in a line, the mackerel couldn’t resist the bait and were hauled up as fast as you could blink. Apparently, this is a phenomenon that happens just a couple of times a year and we were there to see it.

It was astounding, every bucket and container was filled with mackerel. A fish merchant was there aswell with a small boat with a long net attached to the back end. You could see the pounds, shillings and pence signs lighting up in the guy’s eyes.

Meanwhile the seagulls only had eyes for the chips that people were eating.

The City game was the inevitable defeat but at least it was kept to just two goals. A finger or two are pointing at Dyche critically. But he is what he is, the same manager he was a year ago, two years ago, three years ago (repeat).

He has brought success and promotions and has not become a bad manager. For a couple of years, he has had one hand tied behind his back unable to make any decent signings to refresh the squad. Dyche is only as good as the players he has got. You don’t survive or prosper in the Premier League with free transfers and signing a Brighton reserve for just £1M. The money that the club had accumulated stayed in the piggy bank. It then facilitated the takeover.

The former chairman planned it. Maybe he’d had enough and wanted out, you can’t grumble at that. But the way the money in the bank stayed there is the reason why we are now struggling to succeed.

Pace and Co have addressed this problem with the signings they have made so far. Cornet, Collins and Roberts have been good signings, but more are needed if Dyche is to continue to keep Burnley in the Premier League.

When you read this, we may have beaten Brentford. If not, the signs are there that it is going to be touch and go this season.

And if you go to West Bay, wear a tin hat.