‘It’s an important occasion for the fans’ - Dyche
Burnley boss Sean Dyche admitted that derby games were an unfamiliar commodity when growing up as a football fan.
The Turf Moor chief, who hails from Kettering in Northamptonshire, wasn’t exposed to the hostilities of a major rivalry as a youngster.
In fact it wasn’t until his early teens, when Dyche sampled the ferocity of Chelsea’s clash with West Ham at Stamford Bridge, that the concept of a derby came to life.
“Kettering-Corby - that was serious, big news in our parts,” joked Dyche. “Realistically because I was from a small town you don’t really understand it as clearly as everyone else from towns who have a derby.
“But then having gained a career in football I played in Millwall-Palace which was a big game and the Bristol derby, among others, even Chesterfield against Mansfield. They’re local and there’s hostility towards each other.”
Dyche added: “I think the biggest twist in it all is that deep down it’s really harsh for a couple of hours and then everyone goes back to work. We do understand that those two hours are important, having been through it as a player, a coach and a manager. We all understand where it is.
“Most clubs have a derby. I understood it more clearly as a player with Notts County/Nottingham Forest one of the first that I witnessed. I was down at Chelsea as a kid and I went to Chelsea/West Ham. That was interesting when you’re 14 and you’re walking around the stadium thinking ‘this feels really weird’. You knew something wasn’t quite right.”
When asked how the East Lancashire derby compares to others that he’s experienced, Dyche said: “It’s different because I haven’t managed in another one. I’ve only managed in this derby. When I was at Watford I played against Luton but I didn’t manage it.
“When you’re a player it’s a completely different feeling. You’re partly for you, the team and then you drift off and get on with it. When you’re a manager you’re involved in the whole thing - the town, the culture of the town, the culture of the two teams, the history of it. It’s a different concept.
“I’ve had a few opportunities to experience this game and so have the players - not all of them but a few of them. So have my staff. We’ve come to realise that it’s an important occasion for the fans and it is really the people’s game.
“I have an understanding of it now but it’s not the same as if you’d been a Burnley fan since you were born. It’s a different kind of feeling then. It is business for us - we need the win and we want the win. That’s the key focus but I understand there is more to it locally.
“I just like winning. It doesn’t matter who we play against. I just play to win and that’s my only objective.”