Sean Dyche today celebrates six years as Burnley boss.
Appointed on October 30, 2012, Dyche is fifth-ranked as both the Clarets’ longest-serving manager and the longest serving of current managers working across the Premier and English Football Leagues.
Since taking charge at Turf Moor when Burnley were sitting 14th in the Championship table, the 47-year-old has twice led the Clarets to promotion to the Premier League – once as Championship winners – and last season to the club’s highest top-flight finish for 44 years.
Seventh place in the Premier League secured a return to European competition for the first time in 51 years, with Dyche’s side knocking out Aberdeen and Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir before falling at the final qualifying hurdle to Olympiakos of Greece at the end of August.
It’s been a remarkable reign with some stand-out moments for the boss, who joined Burnley along with assistant-manager Ian Woan and first-team coach Tony Loughlan.
Looking back at his Turf Moor tenure, Dyche told Clarets Player HD: “The obvious one, because it meant so much, was the first promotion (in 2014) and particularly the Wigan game.
“I still speak about that as my favourite game. It just meant so much at the time at the end of a season’s work, an amazing season when no-one expected anything.
“Obviously, there was the 23 games unbeaten (in 2015/16). I can’t forget that. Getting to that Christmas period and a few questions getting asked, and then we just went all the way through that second part of the season (to win the Championship title). That’s another massive highlight.
“There have been so many; remaining in the Premier League and then finishing seventh and going into Europe.”
Dyche’s achievements have already earned him a place among Burnley’s finest managers.
He admits the current challenge of continuing to compete among the elite after a demanding start to the season is another different one.
But the former Watford boss, who was given only his second senior managerial role by the Clarets as the successor to Bournemouth-bound Eddie Howe, still has targets in mind.
“When I first came I thought we could improve it and bring things to the club – and not just on the pitch,” he said.
“Then we went on further than that and got promoted. Then I thought ‘where can we go next?’
“We know what’s happened to the training ground and things, and then when we started heading into Europe you start going: ‘hang on a minute. This wasn’t part of the plan – in a healthy way of course!
“Sometimes I remind myself of the timelines of where it was, to where it is now.
“But then the weird thing about anyone’s life is you don’t just sit there and say ‘well, that’s what we’ve done.’ You’re actually hungry for more and where we can take it now.
“And I think that’s the next thing. Where can we keep going and how much can we add to it?
“There’s been an over-riding feeling we’ve always had, myself, the staff and a group of players who want to keep going and keep going to the next thing, and I think that’s been a good thing.”
Dyche’s mark on and off the pitch has guaranteed a lasting legacy in Burnley history.
Few football managers can have had a pub named after them and Dyche, unofficial patron of the ‘Royal Dyche’ on Yorkshire Street in Burnley, regards the relationship between club and town as another important part of his time charge.
“I spoke when I first got here and said: ‘we need an alignment and a one-club mentality’,” he added.
“I’ve been so proud (of that). I travel around the country to different clubs, watching games and being manager and I still think there is a real connection here amongst the people, the town and the club.
“It was there, but I think it’s a real bond now and I think that’s a fantastic thing, because I think that’s getting more and more difficult to do, to keep a fan-base connected with a club and what it stands for.
“And the supporters’ part in that, as well, through thick and thin, staying resolute to the cause and the bigger picture of the shirt and the badge.
“I think that’s a fantastic achievement, and that’s an over-riding massive moment for me as manager.”
So, to sum up six years and counting: “I’ve enjoyed it all and continue to do so.”