Burnley boss Sean Dyche can become the Sir Alex Ferguson of Turf Moor, according to former Clarets midfielder Joey Barton.
The new Fleetwood Town head coach, Burnley’s Player of the Year in the 2015/16 term, as the club clinched the title, in’t suggesting Dyche will emulate the Scotsman’s 13 Premier League crowns, five FA Cups, four League Cups or two Champions League triumphs.
But Barton, who returned to football in June following a 13-month ban for breaching gambling regulations, believes that the one-time Watford centre-back can construct a more scaled down version of that legacy.
It might not be a tenure measured by a plethora of silverware but, like Ferguson – who led Burnley’s Europa League opponents Aberdeen to the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983 – and United, it seems that the union between Dyche and the Clarets is a match made in heaven.
“He’s a top class British manager, the best that I’ve worked with,” he said. “He’s outstanding. There’s not a whole plethora of those about at this moment in time.
“He’s somebody that has worked his way up the levels, he’s added really good core values to his group.
“I don’t think there are that many top class managers out there. There aren’t 50 or 60 of them, there are probably 10/15 of them.
“To get somebody who is alligned with the football club, when you think of Burnley’s side and the way that the team plays, the town is really well represented by the current bunch of players, they’re not overpaid, pampered prima donnas that some Premier League clubs have got.
“They’re hard-working lads who are moving up the scale, they give everything for the shirt, even if that doesn’t bring a positive result, you very rarely hear the Burnley fans chastising the players for not trying.
“I think that all comes from the manager and I think he’s the perfect fit for Burnley.
“There’s been progress at the football club, you get that feeling when you go to the stadium of their Premier League ambitions.
“They’re not yo-yo-ing as Burnley have done before, they’re a solid Premier League side. If Burnley were to lose him, it would be a huge blow. To lose any good manager from any club is always a huge blow.”
Dyche has embedded a unique culture, philosophy and mentality in to the club that everybody has bought in to religiously.
It’s an understanding, a togetherness, that has helped the club take huge strides both on and off the pitch.
United’s dominance waned in the aftermath of Ferguson’s departure, and Barton, 35, who played 58 times under Dyche, feels that the managerial luminary would be just as hard to replace, should it ever come to that.
With Dyche’s four-and-a-half year contract, signed earlier this year, taking him to almost a decade with the Clarets, Barton said: “The fact that they’ve got him tied down to a new contract gives everyone a lift; it keeps the wolves from the door.
“Since he came here good things have happened. He conducts himself in the right way and he’s invested the club’s finances wisely.
“Maybe he can become the Sir Alex Ferguson of Burnley. Maybe that’s what he wants. I think it should be embraced for as long as it can.
“I think if Burnley didn’t have him then he’d be tough to replace.”