Date: 23rd April 2014 at 10:06am
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Burnley fans are still pinching themselves following the 2-0 win over Wigan at Turf Moor on Easter Monday that ensured automatic promotion to the top flight for the first time in four years. This was not supposed to happen was it based on pre-season predictions from pundits, betting organisations and fans alike? A looming £8 million debt, one of the smallest squads in the Championship, the loss of Charlie Austin and no new players coming in all added to the fear that we could be in a relegation battle this season and the thought of finishing higher than midtable was only entertained by a small minority of rose tinted spectacle glass-half full fans ! Well they were proved right to be positive and a lot of us including your editor are now still devouring humble pie. What was the one main reason why we achieved the impossible against all the odds? Well yes we had enough quality players who produced the goods in the end but surely our success must be mainly down to Burnley gaffer, Sean Dyche and his managerial techniques. All promoted teams have their share of luck too and I am pretty sure ours was the relative lack of injuries and suspensions for most of the season! Only in the latter stages did we suffer the loss of Trippier, Ings and Vokes at a time when we had already built up a comfortable cushion of points. We can only surmise what might have happened had the loss of those players or others earlier in the season taken place. It a risk there is no doubt having such a small squad with no resources to find replacements of comparable quality should they become unavailable to play. Remarkably we brought in only one player that cost money this season, Ashley Barnes from Brighton and that was only in January. This time though it paid off in style and in a way if you can keep the same players in the eighteen week-in, week-out without suffering key injuries and suspensions you probably do have a better chance of developing a team that gels together and understands each other more. We used just 22 players all season and that in itself says a lot! Could it be achieved again under the same circumstances? Well yes but what would the chances be? Sean Dyche thinks we have set an historical marker one that is unlikely to be achieved again. In his post-match interview he said:

‘I think what we have done is historic. The challenges of the Championship are getting harder and harder because clubs that get relegated are getting richer.

‘So to do it automatically is the thing that is getting harder. To do it automatically, having amassed the points we have, with a low budget, and using 22 players is incredible. I don’t think those markers will be hit again. I think it is a marker in history.’

How does the gaffer himself think we have achieved the impossible? Talking about his own role he said this week:

“I’m not sure there’s a secret,

‘I believe in what I do and the common core values that are important for a team.

‘They go beyond just the tactical approach and look at the mind set and I think I do that well – and the group believe in it.

‘I’ve got enough humility and an understanding of the job – I’ve been sacked already as a young manager which was a good learning curve.

‘I probably wasn’t most people’s first choice when I came to Burnley so I think I proved that I can handle myself in the appropriate manner.

‘But it eventually comes down to players – and my players have been fantastic.’

“They`ve all been fantastic. I could name every one of them and I am proud of everything they have done and everything they have given to themselves, the team and the club.”

“It feels fantastic,” he said. “It`s an incredible moment for the town and the people of the town. The players have been exceptional and I think it`s historic and the reason is this: the challenges of the Championship are getting harder and harder because clubs who are relegated are getting richer and richer and some of them are just getting richer by the backers.

So we have finally made it to the Premier League but what are the chances of staying up for more than a season this time following the disappointment of 2009-10?

Dyche again is under no illusions:

‘We are a club of a certain size

‘I’m sure there will be lessons learned from the last time the club were in the Premier League and it’s important the finance is used wisely.

‘Of course we want to improve the team where we can but it has to be in a sensible manner because the club has to survive going forward and it’s a chance to build the infrastructure and improve the club for the long-term future. But we still want to be competitive.

‘We know there’s a big challenge coming – we know we’ll be written off from the start as is often the case with small clubs coming into the Premier League. We were written off this season – so who knows?’

There is no doubt that Burnley fans now idolise our ‘Ginger Mourinho` and indeed as one wry Sky Sports commentator said the other week, at this rate the Chelsea fans might be calling their gaffer the ‘Silver Dyche`

There are already reports in the media saying that the club is determined to hold onto the gaffer and certainly we don`t want an Owen Coyle-type debacle to come back and haunt us again next season.

Dyche is in line for a new contract after guiding the club to promotion according to Sky Sports.

They state Burnley chief executive Lee Hoos has admitted the club will be looking at Dyche’s situation.

‘Sean has done an excellent job with the resources at his disposal and the best contracts are when people get rewarded for something they have deserved,’ Hoos told the Daily Telegraph.

‘Ever since he came in he has understood what he was working with and it’s been a remarkable achievement this season. The planning starts now but I can promise that we will be responsible and aim to invest properly.

‘The financial aspect is a huge boost for the club because only a few years ago we were fighting for survival, having to sell the ground and then lease it back.

‘Even though next season we’ll be a Premier League club we will maintain a sensible approach – it’s about the next 12 years and not the next two or three years.’

Brendan Flood re-appointed to the board earlier this year also hints they will do everything they can to hold onto their gaffer and key players next season.

“I think we know we`ve got to be more ambitious than last time, but I think we can do it with more skill,” Flood said

“It is all about keeping hold of the best people and that`s something that we plan to do.

“We`re definitely more educated now and that will give us more opportunity to get it right.

“Last time I think we had less time to prepare and we weren`t familiar with the landscape, all the people you meet and the challenges.”

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