The football world took note today as Newcastle United announced Rafa Benitez will move on when his contract expires on 30th June 2019. The Spanish manager has built a cult following on Tyneside and it will take a replacement of some merit to pacify the fanatical fans. Working with a tight budget, many feel that Benitez has worked wonders keeping the Toon in the Premiership.
Closer to home, should the Burnley faithful worry about Sean Dyche being a target for Mike Ashley and the Newcastle board? The very early betting suggests not. A price of 20/1, places Dyche behind the likes of Garry Monk, Mikel Arteta and Jose Mourinho! Of course the bookies can and do, get such matters wrong. Very wrong.
Dyche, in our opinion, would be a clever choice however. Firstly, the Burnley manager is a shrewd operator in the Premiership. He has experience of working with limited resources and squeezing the most out of his squad. A 7th place finish in the 2017/2018 season is testament to that.
Secondly, Dyche has an impressive track record of identifying players and maximising their potential. James Tarkowski, Nick Pope and Tom Heaton are current squad players that spring to mind. Andre Gray and Micheal Keane are former players purchased and then sold for a premium. Unless Newcastle receive a cash injection and quick, such skills will be vital for a new Newcastle United manager.
Finally, Dyche is popular with players, ex-players and fans alike. Not a popular choice at Burnley FC when first appointed, he has shown an ability to unite a club and get the fans behind him. Former players such as Barton, Robinson and Trippier cannot speak highly enough of his qualities. The Turf Moor faithful adore him. A healthy balance sheet, infers the Burnley board should be delighted with his performance. If appointed at a sleeping giant, and let’s be honest Newcastle United is, Dyche could be promoted to the absolute top tier of managers.
Perhaps the Newcastle fans would not be impressed by Dyche and see their rightful place with a large playing budget, world famous manager and challenging near the top six. Ashley however is an astute businessman, is willing to sell rather than invest if the popular media is to be believed, and has shown that he is not necessarily swayed by the fan’s opinion. For that reason, we feel that Dyche could unsurprisingly be on Ashley’s short list.
On this occasion, we hope the bookies have it right and Dyche stays at Turf Moor for the long term.