“It’s hero time!” according to Sean Dyche. Kevin Robinson, however, staunchly disagrees.
If any of us were in any doubt over the weighty threat of relegation, the pressing need for concern was confirmed with Tuesday’s defeat at Elland Road. After a couple of false dawns, two successive defeats have thrown us deep into a relegation fight – and with the worst form of the lot it is looking increasingly likely that we might be rekindling our relationship with Deepdale next season.
Sean Dyche says his squad will be heroes if they keep us up. He’s wrong. Laughably wrong.
He’s right, of course, that we do need each and every player to step up to the plate, to play to the best of their abilities and fight to the death to keep us in the Championship – but it doesn’t make up for the last few months.
It may well be that these comments are taken out of context in a similar way to his ‘expectations of the fans’ a while ago, but especially with fans already on his back saying things like this risk rubbing the fans even further up the wrong way. Fans are already hurt and disengaged enough as it is.
Stopping up now is nothing to celebrate. If it goes to the wire and we get the result we need on the last day, the final whistle won’t be met by euphoria, but by a huge, collective sigh of relief.
The squad of players won’t be looked up to with pride, as heroes – they’ll be an embarrassment, a rotten reality that fans will do their upmost to forget as soon as possible.
Amazingly, he also claimed that “It’s the business end of the season and we’re in it, so there’s unfinished business,” he said. Honestly, he did.
Dyche’s comments sound like those of a manager whose team is fighting against all odds to come back from the dead. Instead, after his first game in charge, this team was three points from the top-six. The drop since then has been dismal, dour and unacceptable.
That the manager views survival as such an incredible feat is a stark admission that his performance, and that of his team, has been abysmal. Unfortunately for him, Burnley fans have higher expectations than celebrating not being one of the worst three teams in the league.
Those expectations are not huge – we don’t expect to challenge for the title, or even the top six. What we do expect is honest, passionate performances we can believe in and fight from everybody. We expect the manager to share the grave disappointment when that is not delivered, not build up his failing squad as heroes.
Surviving can be a heroic act – Burnley fans are well aware of that. Arguably one of the proudest moments of our long history, certainly the most famous game, came from our lowest ever finish when beating Orient kept us from dropping out of the Football League in dramatic fashion.
Neil Grewcock, Ian Britton – they’re heroes.
In this season’s Championship, the likes of Peterborough and Barnsley will celebrate their accomplishments with pride if they stop up – and rightly so. They looked down and out for much of the season and only a gigantic effort towards the end might save them. Burnley, on the other hand, are dropping like a brick with little more than, quite frankly, pathetic performances on the pitch.
This tweet from NNN’s tactics specialist Michael Connell summarises the comments perfectly.
Hero time? I’ll try achieving the bare minimum expected of me at the last minute at work and see if my boss calls me a hero #twitterclarets
— Michael Connell (@BMGHorse) April 19, 2013
His intentions are sound, but to big up this squad as heroes, under any circumstances, is an insult to the fans.
Is staying up an accomplishment worth celebrating? Comment below.