A perfect 10 for Burnley boss Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche celebrated a milestone birthday on Monday, hitting 50.
Just a week previous, he marked the 10th anniversary of becoming a manager, after being appointed as Malky Mackay’s successor at Watford on June 21st, 2011.
And while the contract extension he was expected to sign last month remains to be confirmed, should new chairman Alan Pace get his way, Dyche will mark a decade in the Turf Moor hot seat at the end of October next year.
While we wait for one of , if not the most important signing the club will make this summer, Dyche himself admits he is still very much enjoying management, after 10 years passed in the blink of an eye.
His first game in charge of the Hornets was, ironically, a 2-2 draw with Eddie Howe’s Burnley at Turf Moor in August 2011, and after leading Watford to their highest finish in four years, he was replaced by Gianfranco Zola after the Pozzo family takeover at Vicarage Road.
The rest is history – two promotions to the Premier League with Burnley, a Championship title, two top-10 finishes in the Premier League – including a return to European football after 51 years – and a major role in the vast improvement of the club’s infrastructure, including a state of the art £10.6m training ground.
But he remains hungry for more as he enters his second decade as a boss.
Speaking recently, he said: “I think the challenge of it...when I came out of playing, I wanted to coach and I got that experience at Watford in the youth age group, then I went up to assistant, then manager.
“I’ve enjoyed all of it, I still enjoy the challenge of what it is, the Premier League.
“I think it is demanding.
“You’ve got to learn to love the tough times as well, because if you don’t, it can eat at you.
“Football management can eat you alive at times, so you’ve got to learn to love even the hard bits.
“It’s a love-hate scenario, but part of the job.
“Once you come to terms with the tough bits, fathom your way through it and find a balance to your own way of working, the enjoyable bits become super-enjoyable.”
Dyche is noted for parking successes, as something to enjoy in the moment, before leaving them as something to look back on later in life, and he added: “There are a lot of good times to be had, if you find some form of success.
“Success for us this season was quite obviously to stay in the Premier League.
“Other seasons it has been finishing a lot higher, with a bigger points tally.
“It’s an interesting, tough, demanding job – very demanding now with the media, social media and the fans and all that, but you wouldn’t be in it if you didn’t find a love for it.”
Success last season was staying in the Premier League, after a summer where he wasn’t backed in the transfer market, spending just over £1m on keeper Will Norris and midfielder Dale Stephens.
And that took its toll, as Burnley failed to win in their opening seven games, claiming only two points.
However, the Clarets recovered to secure a sixth-successive season in the top-flight with three games to spare, ultimately finishing 11 points clear of the drop.
Dyche has said was his biggest achievement – remarkable considering what has gone before in his time at Turf Moor.
And he reiterated: “I view it as a massive success, arguably my best season, because I know the truth and demands of it.
“The staff and players have been excellent, and if you look, two points from seven games doesn’t always end in good news, trust me.
“To get to where we got to was very pleasing.
“For me individually, probably my biggest achievement.
“It doesn’t seem like that from the outside – we got into Europe and things like that – but I know the truth of what I’ve had to manage, and it’s been a tough season.”
Speculation over Dyche’s future has eased, with long-time suitors Crystal Palace due to appoint Patrick Vieira as Roy Hodgson’s successor.
Palace had looked at Dyche, who they were keen on to replace Dougie Freedman in October 2012, and again in the summer of 2017, but were believed to be put off by the cost of his compensation package.
After Lucien Favre decided against taking up Palace’s offer of a three-year deal, Vieira – sacked by Nice in December – emerged as the next target, and talks progressed quickly, also agreeing a three-year contract.
Previously he had two and a half years in charge of MLS side New York City, after beginning his coaching career at Manchester City’s academy.