In modern football, it’s not so important how people remember you when you arrive, but it’s how you leave a club that can influence your reputation. In the case of managers, a solid tenure can easily be forgotten by a few disappointing results, and that has unfortunately been the case for Sean Dyche. After almost a decade of service at Burnley, Dyche parted ways with the Lancashire outfit after results nosedived. Once known for their defensive resilience, this season they looked a pale imitation of the top-flight stalwarts they had become and looked destined for relegation.
A decision that looked harsh at the time, it turned out to be the right one from Burnley’s point of view, as the Clarets look to have beat the drop and survived by the skin of their teeth this season thanks to Mike Jackson and assistant — club captain Ben Mee. The move looked desolate at the time but with results improving on the pitch, Burnley can now look back fondly on the time they had Dyche in the dugout.
Dyche replaced current Newcastle boss Eddie Howe at Turf Moor when they were initially a struggling Championship side. Having been promoted in his second season they were immediately sent back down to the second tier but fought resiliently to earn another shot at Premier League survival. The experience they garnered from that first relegation was key in Burnley becoming something of a Premier League regular, despite the bet exchange having them as nailed on favorites from the drop on more than one occasion.
Whoever gets Dyche next will receive a passionate manager, that is as good with the media as he is with the tactics board. Let’s take a look at three clubs Dyche could end up at next.
Having already been relegated — their second relegation in three years — Watford fans will be craving stability, having gone through a merry-go-round of managerial uncertainty over the last few years. The Hornets hierarchy must find a manager and trust them to navigate them out of another difficult season in the Championship where games come thick and fast. Not only has Dyche shown he can keep aside up, but he can keep them up. Having spent three years there as a player and one as manager, he’ll know Vicarage Road like the back of his hand, but could be reluctant to join due to how swift the board is to pull the trigger.
With Chris Wilder’s future still uncertain at Middlesbrough, Dyche could settle for a more long-term project in the second tier, and the Tyneside club looks the perfect place, as the dressing room is similar to what he had at Burnley. Built on experienced pros who know the league, and handfuls of youthful exuberance that could perhaps compensate for an otherwise lack of quality, Dyche could spearhead another playoff bid after Boro narrowly missed out to overachievers Luton Town this season.
Dyche doesn’t strike us as a manager that would venture down South, but the Kettering native has said he would be interested in trying other leagues. “I have no problem with working abroad, no problem with the geography of the country,” he said. “I am pretty flexible with my thinking on what can and can’t be done on clubs.”
However, the English game seems to suit him the best and Stoke City appears to be Dyche’s longest pursuers, taking an interest in him just 48 hours after splitting with Burnley. They have a good core of players and could easily be molded into the hardworking image Dyche would like, although it would appear to be a more short-term solution until a job aboard or indeed the Premier League becomes available.