Sunday 25 February 2018

Normal Dyche knows what really matters

'Sean Dyche is proof that nice guys don’t actually finish last.' Photo: PA Wire
'Sean Dyche is proof that nice guys don’t actually finish last.' Photo: PA Wire

Eamonn Sweeney

There's something very likeable about Sean Dyche and it's not just the fact that he looks like an actor made up to play an Irishman in some 1950s Hollywood movie.

The ginger man won plenty of admirers last year with his honesty and down to earth approach as a financially outclassed Burnley faced an impossible task in trying to preserve their Premier League status in their first season back in the top flight. They fought a good fight but eventually bowed to the inevitable, finishing five points adrift of fourth from bottom Aston Villa.

Now Dyche will have a second crack at securing survival after the Turf Moor side won the Championship title following a 26-match unbeaten run which saw them go undefeated in 2016. He's a refreshingly different character in a world where mindless machismo is sometimes regarded as a sign of authenticity.

How good it is to hear a manager say: "I've never thrown a tea cup and I don't do name calling either. Don't go screaming at players. Why would I call them a name? If someone called me a name I'd think 'Why?' I'm not going to treat people like that. They are trying to do a job. They're trying to improve. If you get it wrong, as long as you are trying to do it right, I'm happy."

When Burnley clinched promotion, Dyche skipped the champagne celebration so he could drive home with his wife and kids, saying: "I'll probably grab a coffee at McDonald's like I normally do. Two years ago people were staring at me like 'is he really going to grab a coffee?', but I am normal, I do have a life and that's what I'll be doing."

Sean Dyche is proof that nice guys don't actually finish last. In fact if you look at it the last places are probably pretty equally divided between the nice guys and the assholes. Though of course the former never lose because nice guys are winning all the time in life, whereas even an asshole who wins big is still stuck with the problem of being an asshole, something which can't be compensated for by all the trophies in the world.

Burnley's boss is a terrific manager but he also happens to be someone who says: "I don't want my wife and children swamped by my life. They have their own lives and that's important to me. I've had a lot of ups and downs in my career but nothing has changed how I feel about my family. It's always family first for me. I aim for total quality time with my kids. If I'm playing football with them in the garden then I'll leave my phone inside."

You can learn more about life from Sean Dyche than from a shelf full of sports autobiographies and management manuals. He knows what matters.

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