VIDEO: Dyche ‘best candidate’ for Burnley FC job
JOINT Clarets chairmen John Banaszkiewicz and Mike Garlick confirmed that new boss Sean Dyche headed the interview process from the early stages.
The 41-year-old was confirmed as Eddie Howe’s successor on Tuesday afternoon - after taking charge of his first training session at Gawthorpe that morning.
The pair admitted the club had attracted numerous outstanding candidates for the Turf Moor vacancy, but the former Watford boss was always on their radar.
“He was the best candidate we met,” they declared. “We had a round of first interviews that went on for about a week-and-a-half and he always stuck in our mind throughout the process. He made a hell of an impression.
“We decided to have our interview process away from Burnley, in Blackburn, which is our safehouse, but he had us on the edge of our seats from the start and he certainly commanded our attention. He stood out as a really disciplined, confident, motivating guy who can get the best out of players. He was definitely on our radar.
“He has leadership, a winning mentality, energy, ambition and hunger. They’re not things you can teach somebody; they’ve either got it or they haven’t. You can teach techniques and tactics but those qualities are something within a person.”
The duo added: “We covered a lot of the market and there was a lot of interest in the job. People saw us as a good, solid club with a good ownership structure with people like myself and John who are local lads - we’re not foreign owned.
“We checked the references and when you look at what people have said at Watford and the England under 21 set-up, they’ve been saying what a great nugget you’ve got there because he possesses a lot of qualities. Rarely when a manager leaves do people speak as highly as they have done about Sean. We had nothing but good reports.”
Dyche was a commanding centre back who started his career at Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough, before enjoying spells with Chesterfield, Bristol City, Millwall, Watford and Northampton Town.
And after returning to Watford as youth team coach in 2007, he worked briefly under Brendan Rodgers at Vicarage Road before being promoted to assistant manager under Malky Mackay in 2009.
He succeeded Mackay as manager in 2011, after the Scot’s departure to Cardiff, turning down the opportunity to join him in the Welsh capital.
Dyche steered Watford to safety in upper mid-table last term, before being harshly cast aside by new owners the Pozzo family, who installed Gianfranco Zola as their new boss in July.
He has recently spent time with the England Under 21 set-up, under former Forest teammate Stuart Pearce.
And with that experience in mind, the chairmen believe that a play-off push is a realistic ambition. “We’re five points off the play-offs after 13 games so there’s a lot of the season left to play,” said the pair. “With a couple of wins we could be right up there.
“He’s assessed the squad, spoke to the players, and they seem to be warming to him with his style. He believes we’ve got the talent to give it a push and improve on last season. Reaching the play-offs will be a challenge but we’ll give it a try.
“Ultimately we want to get promotion. He’s got a two-and-a-half year deal so we’d like to think that he’s got time to improve things and take us one step further. We don’t feel like we’re that far away from being a really good team.”
And with Dyche’s proven record of youth development during his time in football, Banaszkiewicz and Garlick feel they have the right man to help the club prosper once more by unearthing young talent and blooding them in to the senior squad. That may not be the immediate objective, with Wolves on the agenda at Turf Moor on Saturday, but the dup hope that the next Richard Chaplow, Kyle Lafferty, Chris McCann or Jay Rodriguez can be found.
“It’s really important because we haven’t got the mega bucks of these oil barons so we’ve got to be clever. If we can develop the youth structure and scouting system to find these up-and-coming players it’s very important. With his background he obviously ran the youth team that reached the quarter finals and he ran the youth academy before becoming assistant manager. It’s important because we can’t just buy these stars, we’ve got to find them, and there’s lots of competition.
“If you look at Watford as a system for bringing through young players it’s probably more successful than we are historically. If he can bring a bit of that here, even though we are already relatively successful, you can always improve. Our youth cup run was very encouraging and I’m sure some of them will get the chance.”