The beginning of this season, perhaps more than most, has seen the managerial merry-go-round in full swing; managers coming and going with a regularity that you could almost set your watch by.
Nowhere has this been more apparent than in Lancashire, where, at the time of writing, Burnley, Blackburn, Bolton, Blackpool, Accrington and now Fleetwood have changed their manager since the start of the season. Pressure from fans, change of scenery, underachievement, fall outs at board room level and home sickness have all been forwarded as reasons for the increased issuing of P45s.
A manager leaving obviously leads to new recruitment. This is the opportune time for clubs to look at their ethos, policies, structures, plans and future ambitions. Can the new manager fit into the current set up? Is a slight change needed or a revolution? Do we need a short term fix or a long term plan? Will the squad respond? Will the board and the new man get along? Will he suit our club?
The two new men at the helm of Blackburn and Burnley shared the spoils in the East Lancashire derby last weekend. Henning Berg and Sean Dyche took over at Blackburn and Burnley after the departures of Steve Kean and Eddie Howe. Berg, a title winner with Blackburn in 1994/5, came to a club in turmoil following the unhappy tenure of Burnley fans favourite Steve Kean. Despite having criticised the Venky’s ownership of the club in recent years, Berg, a relatively successful boss in Norwegian football, is seen as the man to galvanise the club and bring back the crowds and feel good factor back to Ewood Park. Perhaps it is a wise move to bring in a former fans favourite, major honour winner with the club and a man who knows the area. Poor results, such as their home defeats to Millwall and Bolton, and the near on empty stadium at final whistle of both occasions, have reiterated to the Rovers faithful that they have no God given right to expect promotion. However, with former hero Berg in charge, the fans behind him, Paul Robinson playing well between the sticks and Jordan Rhodes banging in the goals, they are always likely to go on a run of good results; vital to any championship promotion charge.
Ten miles up the road in Burnley, Sean Dyche has had a more successful honeymoon period. Good wins against Leeds and Wolves, a shoring up of the defence and narrowly avoiding defeat in the ‘ElLanclassico’ derby game have softened the blow for Burnley fans shocked at Eddie Howe’s departure. Howe never quite got going at Burnley. Some good wins and performances were undermined by soft defeats and poor defensive displays. Howe was often criticised for a lack of passion, which often carried over in to a team which was regularly power puff at best. No one can suggest Dyche has a similar problem. Fist pumping, gravel voiced and a gruff defender in his time, he is working hard to instil a tougher, more organised edge to a Burnley side which can also be pleasing on the eye. The victory and performance against Leeds in particular would arguably not have been possible under Howe’s’ playing the ball from the back’ philosophy.
There seems to be something about Dyche which fits the bill at Burnley. His character and values matches that of the supporters of the club. He demands hard work, passion, pride, organisation and commitment. He barks orders and instructions from the bench. He does not tolerate softies; banning hats and gloves at training is testament to that. Amusingly for a club often called the ‘Dingles’ by opposing fans, he even looks like he could get a part as a member of the fictional family from Emmerdale! Dyche seems to be a good fit for Burnley. However, only time will tell whether he, Henning Berg and the other recently appointed bosses in Lancashire will still be in employment come this time next season!