The year is 2019. The Premier League is entirely occupied by foreign managers. Well not entirely! A couple of clubs managed by Englishmen still hold out against the invaders. And life is not easy for the foreigners who garrison the fortified camps of Chelsea, Everton and Newcastle…
One of those clubs is Burnley, where Sean Dyche has a pub named after him near the stadium, reigning supreme since 2012 as he nears his 300th game in charge.
The 47-year-old, who has dumbfounded stat buffs for the past few years, might not be having the best of seasons this time around, but that hasn’t stopped many from praising his work at a club where punishments are a bit outside the norm.
Sitting down with So Foot in France, who were keen to find out more about the Burnley manager, for a lengthy interview, Dyche discussed various topics, including his famous wheel of misfortune.
He said: “It’s a fun way of maintaining a professional discipline. Instead of handing out fines for tardiness, or because players have their shirt untucked, we put that in place three months after I arrived.
“We’ve had amazing stuff happen, to the point where we were on the floor laughing, which players still talk about. The funniest was probably the time when a player had to perform a lap dance on another. It was hilarious because it was a great lap dance! It was so funny.”
While jokes are common with Dyche, who once made a teammate believed he ate worms, the manager can also be very serious, like the time when he decided to sign Joey Barton despite many telling him it was a bad idea.
He said: “With Joey, we talked for three hours. I was warned about him, not because he was a bad player, but because people were wondering how I would control him as a man. He was completely frank in that talk.
“He followed up on his words. Joey was incredible on the pitch and maybe even more incredible off it. That confirmed that you need to trust your instinct. As a manager you have to dig to find the man behind the player to find his fire inside.”
Proud of being able to ‘confuse’ Guardiola on the pitch, the Burnley manager knows his time at the club won’t be forever, even if he isn’t thinking about leaving anytime soon.
He explained: “I’ve had opportunities, but I love this club. I like what we’re doing, the people. My time will come. When I leave, it’ll be on good or bad terms, because every year is more difficult due to the market, the finances… But I love the challenge”.
While he might not go to the Royal Dyche when he does leave, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy a nice beer, and a good meal to go with it.
He concluded: “Are you crazy? Of course I drink beer. I’m completely English when it comes to that. I love a good lager. Twenty years ago, it was disgusting, but pub food can be fantastic these days.
“We have what is called gastro-pubs in Burnley. With good meat etc… You know, we eat really well in Burnley.”
We’ll take your word for it, Sean.