Manager vacancy: What is our footballing philosophy?

Kevin Robinson Kevin Robinson
Jamie Smith October 15, 2012

Our new boss must fit our “footballing philosophy”. But what is it?

Lee Hoos has been talking to the official club site today about the hunt for a new manager and the stand-out comment the chief executive made is that Eddie Howe’s replacement must fit in with the long-term plan, in particular our “footballing philosophy”.

Footballing philosophies can be a sticky area to get involved in. West Ham fans are apparently unhappy with Sam Allardyce’s management despite him taking to the Premier League and looking as if he will keep them there comfortably. They apparently have a reputation for playing easy-on-the-eye football, but it’s not something I can remember, so how far back are we talking?

Acres of newsprint have been devoted to the Barcelona and Spain style of tika-taka, as well as Swansea City’s copying of it in the Premier League, while there was even hand-wringing down the M65 at Steve Kean’s long ball style – and that’s at Ewood Park ferchrissakes, where they collected a Premier League title mainly by thumping the ball at Alan Shearer.

I like to see Burnley play what I consider to be a stylish brand of football, with pace down the flanks and incisive passing, but it’s a matter of personal preference and there were plenty of people who wanted Howe’s team to move the ball faster. On more than one occasion under his reign fans grumbled at a backwards or sideways pass only for the Clarets to create a goal from the same move.

The end aim is to get the ball in the back of the net, so does it matter how you go about it? Well, yes and no. Some clubs’ fans seem content to watch kick and rush hoofball, with Stoke City the main example springing to mind. Stoke fans have been known to boo opposition teams for having the temerity to go to the Britannia Stadium and pass the ball to each other rather than humping it up to Peter Crouch in the aim of winning a throw or a free-kick.

Brian Laws had us eighth in the Championship when he eventually got the bullet, but fans were sick of seeing Michael Duff thrash the ball in the general direction of Chris Iwelumo and were unhappy even when we won. Steve Cotterill’s ‘Cotterball’ style of n0-midfield-needed football drove fans away from Turf Moor in their thousands. So you’d have to say it’s preferable for our new boss to want his side to keep it on the deck, although there’s nothing wrong with the odd long ball to relieve pressure on the back line and launch counter attacks, as long as they aren’t aimless and frequent.

Footballing philosophy doesn’t have to be restricted to on the pitch, of course. The only way a club like our own can survive at this level is to develop players and sell them on, which is what we’ve been doing with varying levels of success since we were promoted to the Championship a decade ago.

The best way to do this is through your youth setup and despite the success of Richard Chaplow and Jay Rodriguez (as well as Chris McCann and Kyle Lafferty, who sort of count despite being brought over from Ireland as teenagers), we’ve not had anyone break into the first team for a few years now. There are good players in our youth team and the challenge is to get them ready for Championship football. Cameron Howieson and Steven Hewitt are perhaps among those close to getting a go and it will be interesting to see if anyone is fast-tracked by Howe’s replacement.

We asked fans on Facebook and Twitter what they thought our footballing philosophy is. Here’s a selection of their answers:

Matt Hall: Spotting a bargain, developing young players (and inevitably selling them for a high price), playing an attractive brand of winning football which is exciting to watch and gets results. Thats what it should be anyway.

David Hollanders: there is confusion around what Burnley’s philosophy is, when ever we get a good player we sell them. If promotion was the target then we would surely be keeping onto these stars. What does Burnley football club say is the current Philosophy?

Karl Webster: Get the kids in at grass roots level develop them, ! then sell them to SOUTHAMPTON, while not spending any cash, but making sure theres plenty in the bank so the club can run for at least 10yrs in a finacially stable state, in a nutshell !

Colin Meredith: Burnley’s philosophy has always been one of sell to survive…but hey we are still here and do not have massive debts….

@Claretrob66: Given the power shift in the boardroom I’m really not sure. Hopefully the new appointment will make things clearer.

@howfenclaret: i hope he means a) a patient ball to feet passing game, rather than b) hoofball or c) let in more than we score..

What do you think our philosophy is and which manager would suit it? Comment below.