For the first time in over a decade, Burnley will start their next campaign without Sean Dyche as their manager. The league’s longest-reigning manager until his departure, Dyche spearheaded the Clarets’ return to the top flight having been relegated initially in the 2014-15 season, and transformed them from plucky underdogs into an established Premier League outfit, with a reputation of being hard to beat at home.
Mike Jackson has done a good job as interim boss but regardless of whether Burnley beat the drop or not, something that the online betting markets are having a tough time calling, the Clarets will be craving the same consistency, so it’s down to the board to get their appointment right. Either in the Premier League or Championship, here are three options for Burnley’s next manager.
The manager with the style perhaps closest to that of Dyche, Chris Wilder is tried and tested in the Premier League, although he did face relegation with Sheffield United after a difficult, covid-inflicted second season with the Blades. When they first came up, Wilder’s side were a breath of fresh air, and you only need to look at the job he’s doing at Middlesborough to see that Burnley would have a safe pair of hands if they appoint the 54-year-old.
Wilder could get the best out of this current crop either in the topflight or second tier, demonstrating his ability to get out of the Championship which is something Burnley will really need to do first time if they are to avoid fading into obscurity with the likes of Queens Park Rangers and Blackburn Rovers — former Premier League stalwarts who just can’t seem to get through to the play-offs these days.
It’s certainly something of a curve ball by Burnley’s standards, but when you see Ben Mee as an assistant manager in April you know anything’s possible at Turf Moor! While certainly the least experienced option, Vincent Kompany could bring a new lease of life to Burnley, with the Anderlecht manager’s appointment potentially redolent of Patrick Vieira at Crystal Palace.
You get the sense that Kompany would try a more continental approach to life in Lancashire, and while the Burnley fans might be accustomed to the percentage football and low block systems imposed by the Dyche regime, we highly doubt a player who was as cultured as Kompany, and one that worked with Pep Guardiola for so long, would play the same way
That can go one of two ways — if Burnley add aesthetic to their gritty nature and the points start rolling in then Kompany will look like a genius, but judging by his rather underwhelming season with Anderlecht, it’s hard to tell how quickly the Belgian will pick up the management game over in England.
Say what you want about Derby County’s relegation, but when the club were hit with a 25-point deduction at the start of the season, the Rams looked doomed, with League One the expectation regardless of how well Wayne Rooney performed. While the club still went down, they would have been on the cusp of the play-offs had they started at the same position as everyone else, and Rooney ensured his side went down fighting.
With extremely limited resources, almost reliant entirely on his reputation as a player and phonebook of former colleagues, Rooney navigated Derby through some murky waters, but the task still proved too much for the Rams, as the resourceless inevitability of relegation plagued Pride Park. Nonetheless, with the Championship windfall money, or even the lucrative TV money in the Premier League if Burnley are to stay up, Rooney will finally have the financial support to bring in players that complement his industrious brand of football.