Premier League is where it’s at - Dyche

Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche

While Roy Hodgson sees no reason why Sean Dyche can’t one day follow him as England coach, Dyche isn’t sure whether he would look to emulate the Crystal Palace boss’ successes abroad.

Many managers have looked to further their experience of the game and new cultures on other continents, with Hodgson building his reputation in Sweden, winning seven league titles with Halmstads BK and then Malmo, and the Danish Superliga with Copenhagen, before time with Inter Milan, while he took Switzerland to the World Cup in 1994.

The likes of Sir Bobby Robson, Terry Venables, Graeme Souness, Ron Atkinson, Steve McClaren and David Moyes have tried their luck in Europe, with differing levels of success.

And one of the firsts English trailblazers on the continent was Burnley’s own Jimmy Hogan, who took Switzerland to the 1924 Olympic final and also coached Austria, while Hungary’s mighty Magyars of 1953 were inspired by his coaching, with Hungarian FA president Sandor Barcs saying: “Jimmy Hogan taught us everything we know about football.”

But Dyche, while a keen student of the game, feels the Premier League’s power and finances mean England is the place to be for now, as Serie A was in the late 1980s and early 1990s: “My knowledge isn’t deep enough of the history of managers, but I believe in the 60s a lot went to Italy, because that’s where the term Mister, where the manager is called Mister, comes from, that stuck in the Italian culture. I think Gianfranco Zola told me that.

“Off the top of my head, Terry Venables did well at Barcelona, Toshack really well at Sociedad, Steve McClaren did very well in Holland...my point is, I don’t know the stats, people might say there’s not many British managers abroad, but how many were there historically?

“The other thing is I think English football at the moment is very powerful.

“In the past it’s been varying places.

“English football through the Premier League era has enhanced it, and it’s very powerful.

“The knock on effect is the Championship is very powerful, so a lot of managers want to be in the Championship, let alone the Premier League.

“If you’re an English/British manager, why do you want to go somewhere else when it’s happening here as much as anywhere?

“There’s language as well.

“Obviously they could add that in, and it’s time consuming, but the courses could carry a language, even if you work here.

“But I don’t buy into the idea there’s less education. There’s only so much you can learn, but there was the debate that the Italian and Spanish pro-licences were for more hours, but the point is you still have to go out and do it.

“There’s the expense, of course. The Premier League is well paid for managers, coaches, staff as well as players, so that’s another draw.”

Dyche also accepts that managers can’t really plan their careers as simply as wanting to go somewhere at some point: “The biggest challenge at the moment, for me, is the Premier League. That doesn’t mean that doesn’t change over the years, obviously.

“There’ll be a time when I’m not here, for whatever reason, good or bad, and when that next challenge comes...I’m perfectly happy here, but if there’s a time when that changes, for my reasons, the fans, the board, you don’t know.

“People ask where do you want to go in football, and it’s not like that.

“If you’re prepared to work hard, and you need a door or two to open, but you can more or less guide your way through from where you start to where you want to get to, if you’re genuinely good at what you do.

“In football, you need a bit of luck, twists of fate, the timing, the groups you get, good recruitment, sometimes a wealthy owner, Premier League wealth...so many factors to combine to keep going through the system.

“You hope, within all that, the good work gets recognised.

“A number of managers I’ve spoken to down the years are quite honest, and say, ‘I was lucky at my second club, I did really well at my third, I got a lucky chance to go to my fourth, we did really well there because we had two kids who were unbelievable’, and they say that was a big part of their career.

“My point is, not much of that is ‘I got that, I did this, I did that’.

“Many managers say, ‘no, that door opened, that happened, that happened’.

“It’s difficult in football management to say ‘that’s where I’ll end up’.”

And for all the big name managers who have worked abroad, a lot of British coaches and managers do an awful lot of good work that largely goes unnoticed by the majority back home.

Dyche wonders whether the profile of the Premier League, and Championship as well, makes it even more enticing to stay at home: “For football education would you go abroad? Yes. For recognition? Not really. I think you’d get recognised more here for doing well across the Championship or Premier League, than you would for doing well wherever, like Roy Hodgson at Malmo.

“You’d get recognised, but not in the same way as winning the Championship, or going through the system in the Premier League and doing well, like a coach, assistant or a manager.

“But the Premier League is mostly thought of as one of the most powerful leagues in the world, so if you’re in that, why are you going to go away from that, other than pure education?

“Then you’ve got to get back in, and they want someone who’s been in the Premier League.

“You have to have made your mark to go away and come back and be recognised, someone who’s gone there to learn and if a job comes up here, they’ll go back in.”