Could ultimate over-achiever Sean Dyche be Bournemouth’s saviour?

An art mural of Sean Dyche the head coach / manager of Burnley (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
An art mural of Sean Dyche the head coach / manager of Burnley (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) /

Bournemouth are still the only club without a permanent manager to help them secure Premier League relegation. However, it is being reported that Sean Dyche could be the new man in charge at the Vitality Stadium.

It’s that time of the season again for football managers – when those out of a job, or soon-to-be, keep a nervous eye on their phones, waiting in suspense to know where (if at all) they’ll be working in a week’s time.

Perhaps no manager has been more in limbo over the last few months than Sean Dyche, the gravelly-voiced former Burnley manager, who, if the bookies are to be believed, is virtually a lock to return to Premier League management in the near future.

But where that eventual landing pad might be for the 51-year-old is anyone’s guess. Dyche spent a happy, hugely successful time in the English north at perennial underdogs Burnley, with whom he grossly overachieved on a shoestring budget.

That kind of profile, coupled with his penchant for “old-school” route one tactics that favour defensive solidity, has him shoehorned as this generation’s Allardyce, Pardew or Pulis, specialist mid-season firefighters who could shoulder the burden of a relegation scrap.

Given the increasing desperation with which clubs fight to remain in the promised land of Premier League football (and secure its lucrative prize money), that profile is one that will appeal to any manager-less club.

Could Dyche steer bundling Bournemouth away from relegation?

With that in mind, the obvious candidate club for Dyche to return with is one which, coincidentally, is the only top flight club currently without a permanent manager. AFC Bournemouth, in many ways, offers a close parallel with Dyche’s former employers Burnley; an overachieving community club for whom mere survival in the PL will do for now.

The Cherries secured a long-awaited return to the Premier League barely four months ago under the much-heralded stewardship of Scott Parker, but the Cherries’ outlook has gone from sweet to sour since an opening day win at Aston Villa.

An ignominious 9-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool spelt the end of Parker’s reign while underscoring the magnitude of the task at hand for his replacement in bridging the gulf in class defensively.

Luckily, this is Dyche’s forte; in his previous role at Burnley, the Clarets were often among the league’s best-drilled defensive units, regularly frustrating sides with their ultra-low block, rigid 4-4-2. The question is: if the squad potentially at Dyche’s disposal would be able to execute such a disciplined, physical and demanding game?

In Ben Mee and James Tarkowski, Burnley possessed two elite, experienced central defenders capable of inviting and handling intense attacking pressure from opponents.

Like Tarkowski, goalkeeper Nick Pope was an England international and one of the division’s very best, a 1.91-metre behemoth whose elite shot-stopping was crucial for such a tactical style. In Lloyd Kelly, Chris Mepham and Marcos Senesi, Bournemouth possess an exciting young central defence, but can any step up to shoulder the work of Tarkowski and Mee?

Bournemouth’s goalkeeping stock also pales in comparison to Pope. While Mark Travers is a fine prospect and Brazilian Neto (picked up from Barcelona) a very strong alternative, Burnley often relied on superhuman efforts from Pope to snag points. Not even the staunchest Bournemouth fan would say the same of their keepers.

While the points above offer legitimate questions on if Dyche’s success up North could apply to the South Coast, the Cherries could do far worse than to appoint him their long-term manager.

Their current predicament, needing urgent defensive correction without a budget to do so, presents many of the same challenges Dyche already conquered in his time at Burnley.

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Having kept them in the league successfully for so long, he might just do the same with Bournemouth if trusted to do so.