After four weeks of the season, Burnley hadn’t enjoyed the start Sean Dyche wanted. Although their standing in the Premier League table looked precarious at the first international break, there was no need for great concern at Turf Moor.
Fast forward another month and the reaching of this campaign’s second international break, it is fair to say that questions are being asked and with the Clarets still searching for a first league win of the season, they are yet to find the necessary answers.
At the point of the league’s latest hiatus, Burnley find themselves lying second bottom in the table and, although they have played a game fewer than most of their top flight counterparts, things are looking bleak.
Sean Dyche is not a man for excuses but certainly was provided one 24 months ago and with Burnley undergoing a similar poor start to proceedings, he could at least point to their minimal Europa League exploits at the start of their 2018/19 efforts.
After upsetting the apple cart and finishing seventh in 2017/18, Burnley were afforded a foray into continental football and, although it ended far quicker than those connected with the club would have liked, there was a feeling that their European mini-break did more harm than good. Being dumped out of the Europa League by Olympiakos made it apparent that Burnley did not have a squad to operate on multiple fronts and the early additional exertion of that season, was clearly having an effect on Dyche’s charges.
Therefore, it was perhaps no coincidence that, once their schedule got back to normal and they were largely playing just once a week, the Lancashire outfit rediscovered enough in terms of performance to eventually steer clear of the relegation zone.
However, the same excuse cannot be used this time around and with no Thursday night football to point the finger at this time, the lack of positive results must be a huge distress to a man who has been in charge of the club for just over eight years.
Perhaps the length of his tenure is one of the reasons that things are starting to unravel and you only have to look at another former Burnley manager, to see where some worrying similarities are starting to appear.
Eddie Howe’s stint at Turf Moor was largely forgettable and was nothing more than a brief footnote in the club’s history. Despite achieving great things at the Vitality Stadium, the ideas well did eventually run dry.
When you look at just how long modern day managers stay at the helm these days, Dyche is now the exception rather than the rule. The days of a Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger length dynasty are now a thing of the past and the former Watford boss is quickly becoming one of coaching’s elder statesmen.
Just like Howe and any other manager, for that matter, so much of their career is to do with timing and if you hang on to long and suffer the ignominy of relegation, your own personal stock can then quickly be diminished.
Something that the blue-eyed boy of Bournemouth unfortunately learned over the summer and although he is being linked with vacancies at present, working with Sheffield Wednesday is a long way from being touted as the next England manager.
Which begs the question, should one invest in Sean Dyche? At present, your football stock portfolio would do well to sell what you have in the gravel voiced 49-year-old and consider other managerial options.
Supporters of the man who helped Chesterfield reach the 1997 F.A. Cup Semi-final, will point to the fact that he has led his players out of the mire before and if salvation has been previously reached, then there is no reason why it cannot be achieved once again.
It may be true and it might be just a little too early to dismiss the Clarets at this stage but their initial performances for the season do little to suggest that an upward curve is going to present itself soon.
A lack of investment has been a point of contention for both manager and supporters alike and it does seem that may be the one thing that has caught up with Burnley the most and if there was ever a reason for their current managerial incumbent to walk, then this would be it.
Then again, if Dyche oversees a unit of players who are caught in a relegation dogfight between now and next May, he may not even be given the opportunity to walk and although his length of service will never be forgotten, football is only a sport that asks “What have you done for me lately?”.
The answer to that right now is “not enough” and even though a £200m takeover has been recently reported, there is every chance that any prospective new owners may end up buying a club earmarked for the Championship, rather than a Premier League bargain.
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