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Sean Dyche: Burnley's Ginger Mourinho celebrates five years in charge

Wednesday 1st November 2017
Burnley and Sean Dyche celebrated five years together on Monday, beating Newcastle at Turf Moor. Small wonder, he's appreciated; he's transformed the club.

Dyche has taken Burnley from Championship mediocrity to Premier League stability. He is now touted for virtually every manager's job that opens in England's top competition.
Looking back on the Dyche years, it's evident the club has changed for the better. He's had an influence on players as individuals, as well.

Sean Dyche became Clarets manager in October 2012, after Eddie Howe's departure. Howe returned to Bournemouth, following a short spell at Turf Moor. Dyche, who had been Watford manager, took the helm. The pair have since enjoyed similar success. Both guided their respective ‘small' clubs to Premier League status.

Dyche won his first two games in Lancashire, against Wolves and Leeds. Charlie Austin found the net in both. During Dyche's first season, Austin scored 25 times in the Championship. Burnley finished mid-table, without much of a cup run.

During his first summer window, Dyche brought in Tom Heaton and Ashley Barnes. Burnley's promotion charge gathered pace but Charlie Austin left for Queens Park Rangers. His goals needed to be replaced. Dyche found the perfect solution. Danny Ings and Sam Vokes formed a formidable little and large partnership in the manager's 4-4-2 system, scoring 41 goals combined. Burnley lost just five games during the season, conceding the fewest goals in the league. They finished runner-up, promoted alongside Leicester City and QPR, posting a club-record 93 point tally in the second division.
Dyche and Burnley lasted just one season in the top flight. They couldn't win a game until November. Despite their fatal start, the Clarets picked up memorable points at Stamford Bridge and the Etihad. They also beat Manchester City at Turf Moor, denting Manuel Pellegrini's title hopes.

Goals, as in not enough, were the overriding factor in Burnley's relegation. Sam Vokes absence for a majority of the season, with a knee injury, limited Dyche's attacking options. In January, the boss brought in Michael Keane from Manchester United to compensate at the opposite end but it wasn't enough. The Clarets returned to the Championship for 2015-16.

Burnley lost Danny Ings to Liverpool during the summer. Andre Gray arrived from Watford. The English striker scored 23 goals, sending his new side back to the big time at first asking as league winners, four points higher than Middlesbrough.

Matt Lowton played a hand in Burnley's promotion, as well, replacing Kieron Trippier at right back. In four years at Turf Moor, Lowton improved significantly under Dyche's stewardship. He is now an English international.
The “Ginger Mourinho” also looked for some international flavour to spice up his side. Steven de Four was signed from Anderlecht. The Belgian was joined by Icelander Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Irishman Jeff Hendrick. Another lad from Eire, Robbie Brady, was signed from Norwich for £13 million. In fact, Burnley broke its transfer record three times during the season, shattering the £3 million mark from the pre-Dyche era.

Back in the top flight, Dyche led Burnley to 16th place last season, six points above the relegation zone. Home form proved especially important. The side even stopped rampant, title-bound Chelsea in its tracks with a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor.

Dyche has started this season in even more impressive fashion, beating Chelsea and claiming draws at the Emirates and Wembley, against Arsenal and Tottenham respectively. After Monday's win over Newcastle, Burnley sit seventh, just three points off the Champions League places.

Average attendance has grown from 12,928 to 20,558 during the five years Dyche has been in charge. That's something to celebrate. Fans will be hoping reported interest in the man behind it won't be enough to pry loose their well-settled Ginger Mourinho.
Billy Munday

I'm a young, aspiring sports journalist and also a Chelsea fan, living the dream in London. You can find more examples of my work on Chelsea blogs such as the Chelsea Chronicle.

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