The Dyche effect is starting to take hold, writes Michael Wells.
Many an eyebrow was raised when Eddie Howe left the good ship Claret to rejoin AFC Bournemouth. After the superb steadying of the ship by Terry Pashley, Sean Dyche was appointed to take over proceedings. Little was really know about Dyche’s credentials, apart from his previous life as a tough defender, his seemingly unfair sacking by Watford and some experience with England under-21s. At the time of his arrival I tweeted Adam Leventhal, Sky Sports presenter and Watford fan, who assured me that we had made a good appointment.
First impressions of Dyche were of an organised, hard working, no-nonsense motivator. In short, just what we needed. You could see from the off that changes were afoot when pre-match against Wolves, the back four went to one side of the pitch for specific warm up and defensive drills.
Soon after, it emerged that woolly hats were banned from training and suit and club tie were match day requirements. Adorned on the walls of Gawthorpe is the tariff of fines for players who not only arrive late, but allow their heart rates to drop under the required level in certain high intensity training ground activities. Small changes perhaps, but a clear sign that Dyche wanted to make his mark on the Club.
These implementations have had the desired effect on the field too. There is more structure to our play, a more organised feel. We press, defend, attack and have the capabilities to ground out results. We concede fewer goals and keep more clean sheets. We are no longer a soft touch. Apart from a few players being brought in from the cold, all this has been done with almost the same personnel.
Keith Treacy is rated highly by the new management team and he seems to appreciate Dyche’s man management skills. Kevin Long has made his full debut and other youngsters are getting experience of first team match days. Lee Grant has been faultless in goal, Kieran Trippier has improved massively defensively and the enigma that is Junior Stanislas is beginning to shine.
Yes, we haven’t performed in every single game, but which team does? The derby was there for the taking but did not materialise. Barnsley away seemed to be a poor performance and Leicester City were too good for us on the Turf. Despite Dyche’s own statistical analysis suggesting otherwise, we may be less pleasing on the eye under his reign. Who cares? Football, more than ever, is a results business and the jump from 14th to eighth and an undefeated start to 2013 proves this point.
With Charlie Austin set to return, Dane Richards ready to make an impact and maybe a loan signing too, we are in a good position to make a good run and be there or thereabouts come the end of April.
Is it too early to say Dyche is going to do an Owen Coyle? Is he the second coming? Is he the ginger Mourinho?
Regardless, we are certainly benefiting from the ‘Dyche Effect’.
What do you make of Sean Dyche so far? Comment below.