TURF MOOR THE MERRIER
Once upon a time there was a funny Italian oddball who gave his players pizza, made everyone laugh by saying adorable foreign things like “Dilly-ding, dilly-dong” and earned the freedom of the city of Leicester by winning the Premier League title with Robert Huth and Wes Morgan as his centre-backs. But that all happened a very long time ago, which is why a lot of people forget that all that success was masterminded by a couple of no-nonsense English men called Nigel and Craig, and it doesn’t really match up to Plucky Little Burnley rising into their highest league position in the top flight for 42 years. “I’m proud of it,” Sean Dyche thundered after the Clarets beat Stoke City 1-0 to go fourth on Tuesday night. “The proudest man in Proudsville. I’m proud of all of it.”
And there was no prize for identifying the second proudest man in Proudsville: step forward $exually Repressed Morris Dancing Fiver, who’s spent much of the day luxuriating in the sweet tears of Messrs Klopp, Pochettino and Wenger, all of whom find themselves languishing below PLB. He’s spent a long time waiting for the moment when a homegrown manager would tower above those foreign poindexters, with their nerdy ways and haughty air of superiority, like they think they’re so much better than us, and patience has finally been rewarded. “What a glorious nation!” $exually Repressed Morris Dancing Fiver roared. “Rule Britannia! Arise Sir Sean! No longer will he be overlooked. No longer will people think that Antonio Conte is a genius for making his players do some running in training. No longer will Pep ‘Pep’ Guardiola be praised for banning pizza in training. For they were merely following the Doctrine of Dyche, and all is much clearer now. Hurrah!”
Before everyone gets too carried away, though, a word of caution. After all, things swiftly deteriorated when Burnley went second in March 1975. That was pretty much as good as it got. They ended up winning one of their final 10 matches, were well out of the race by the time Derby County were beating Liverpool to the title, ended up finishing in 10th place, five points off a European spot and below Dirty Leeds on goal difference, and were relegated a year later. Jimmy Adamson was fired after six years in the job and – eek – soon found himself managing Sunderland. Life comes at you fast, so Dyche will have to take care not to make any false steps from here. He won’t want history to repeat itself. If it does, it won’t be long before he’s sitting on Keysie’s sofa.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“A group of fans started with nothing; no ground, no team, no manager, no players and no kit. Now, 15 years later, we’ve taken a giant step towards going home to Merton, in a new stadium and as a Football League club. This is a momentous day for us” – AFC Wimbledon chief suit Erik Samuelson after the club was given the green light to build a new 11,000-seat stadium back at Plough Lane.