What next for Sean Dyche? Assessing the job options for former Burnley manager
If anyone deserves to sip on a refreshing ale or two down at the Royal Dyche pub, away from the absolute chaos of football management, it’s Sean Dyche who is out-of-work for the first time in 10 years following his surprise exit from Burnley a week ago.
Prior to his departure, Dyche was the longest-serving manager in the Premier League by some distance - three years - with Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp now taking over that title.
During his transformative tenure Dyche twice fired Burnley into the Premier League, took them to a 7th place finish, enjoyed a memorable journey through Europe, and conjured up wins over the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino, Carlo Ancelotti, and Antonio Conte: all achieved on a shoestring budget compared to other managers plying their trade in the Premier League.
“I would like to thank people across football who have been so positive about my career in recent days," Dyche said in a statement this week. "I appreciate the kind words of my colleagues in the game and I look forward to the next phase of my career.”
It’s only been a week but it's very surreal not seeing him barking orders from the Burnley dugout, yet given the immensely strong lure of management we’re unlikely to have to wait too long until the 50-year-old returns to the touchline…but where could this be?
The Premier League
Dyche was frequently linked with moves to other Premier League clubs throughout his time at Burnley - Everton, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace to name a few - but for a combination of reasons he always remained loyal to the Clarets, where he only recently signed a four-year deal.
Now back in the Job Centre for the first time since 2012, Dyche will be weighing up his options. Returning to the Premier League is likely to be top of his list.
You can bet your last penny that a top-flight job will open up at some point next season, or even this very summer.
In the Premier League era we’re yet to go a single season without at least one managerial departure: the last 16 seasons in succession have contained at least four in-season exits; including the current campaign which has been jam-packed with 10! One more and it’s a new outright record.
After leaving a Premier League club the passage straight back into the Premier League is not so straightforward.
Excluding Dyche, of the last 25 managers to leave the Premier League only four have returned to the division for their next job: three occcurred this season - Roy Hodgson, Dean Smith, and Frank Lampard - all of whom could well be relegated in the next few weeks.
Dyche could do something similar to Eddie Howe, who spent 18 months out-of-work after he was relegated with Bournemouth in 2020. He returned in November, replacing Steve Bruce at Newcastle. Taking the time out to rest and reflect has revitalised the Englishman who has done a fantastic job at the Toon; only Jurgen Klopp has accumulated more Premier League points in 2022.
A period away from the game could be just what Dyche needs. There's no rush. Although it won't be long until the phone rings, perhaps it has already.
In his last two Championship seasons Dyche has won the title and finished 2nd, in the process he's accumulated 186 points and lost just 10 of 92 games. Not bad, in fact that is quite brilliant.
Stepping down into the Championship after so long in the Premier League may eat a little at one’s pride, but the second-tier is jam-packed with big clubs calling out for someone of Dyche’s experience to lead them back to the Promised Land.
Rejuvenating a big club with Premier League ambitions is no mean feat, but when a managerial appointment clicks it can work wonders. Just look at what Marcelo Bielsa achieved at Leeds, then there was Chris Wilder's inspirational feat at Sheffield United, Dean Smith led boyhood club Aston Villa back into the big time, and let's not forget Nuno Santo at Wolves.
After taking some time off, former Everton boss Marco Silva returned to fire Fulham to the Premier League this season. We didn’t have to wait long for Steve Bruce to come back to management, as he dipped down into the Championship to manage West Brom in February after leaving Newcastle.
It doesn’t always work. Chris Hughton did an excellent job at Brighton, whom he led into the Premier League then preserved their status in his two seasons back in the Premier League, only to then find life hard in the Championship with Forest where Steve Cooper is now moving mountains.
When it comes to potential Championship jobs for Dyche, Middlesbrough would have been one to pay attention to if bookmakers’ favourite Chris Wilder had left to become the long-term replacement for Dyche at Turf Moor, however rumours of a switch have been shut down by Wilder.
Elsewhere, there have been reports that QPR could sack Mark Warburton, Michael O'Neill has come under a bit of pressure at Stoke following their failure to maintain a promotion push, and Lee Bowyer's future at Birmingham is up in the air. West Brom only recently appointed the aforementioned Steve Bruce so it's difficult to see them making yet another change this summer, although if they get wind that Dyche is interested then this could be one to keep an eye on.
A vacancy is expected to re-open at Dyche's former club Watford, who are on the verge of being relegated back down to the Championship. Roy Hodgson only signed a short contract to the end of the season and is unlikely to stay on. However, the way in which the Pozzo's ditched Dyche upon their takeover of the club back in 2012 means he may not favour a return.
Probably a long shot, but if Everton do go down then Lampard's future could be thrust into doubt. Dyche would no doubt be a top contender if a change was made.
We'd be pretty surprised if Dyche's next job wasn't in the Premier League or Championship. He's not going to do a Mark Hughes and spend three years in the wilderness before popping up in League Two.
Dyche has previously been linked with a move to Scotland. He was a potential candidate after Neil Lennon's exit, however that job is now held by Ange Postecoglou who is going nowhere.
There is a job up for grabs at Hibernian after the club sacked Shaun Maloney last week, although it's difficult to envision Dyche taking over this summer.
Alternatively, he's a 14/1 shot to be the next England manager.