How Burnley can change the mould

Burnley staying up could lead to a change in mentality for future promoted clubs, and it would be a positive development. A lot is written about football’s history by analysing previous scenarios and how previous seasons have panned out. This creates unwritten guidelines for what clubs must do to survive once promoted to the Premier League, yet Burnley have not used this line of thinking.

One of these hypothetical guidelines suggests that a team needs proven Premier League players. As they know the league, their experience would benefit the team and the players around them. This leads promoted clubs to signing players nearing the end of their career, for example, Rio Ferdinand’s move to QPR follows this logic. This example also feeds into the next suggestion that is banded around; a promoted club needs to splash the cash. The owners need to invest in millions of pounds worth of talent in order to just compete in the league, which would also cause a higher wage bill limit to be set in order to attract this talent. The final guideline that is worth comparing to the situation at Burnley, is whether it is necessary to have a manager who has experienced England’s top flight before. How many times do newly promoted clubs sack their manager after a slow start to the season, and replace them with well-known Premier League managers?

Burnley were active in the summer transfer window, signing ten players. The two most notable signings, that would fit the trend of signing proven players, would be Matthew Taylor and Steven Reid. Both of them have not exactly been regulars, granted this has been affected by injuries and other contributing factors, however, they are not the type of players who are a step above their teammates and are not considered game changers.  The rest of Burnley’s signings have little or no Premier League experience. The signings are more about creating competition for places and adding depth to cope throughout the season.

If you look at their last victory against Southampton, only one of the signings, a loan signing, started the game. You can even compare the squad that played Burnley’s last Championship game against Reading, ten players from that team were involved in their match day squad against Southampton. It has given the players who earned Burnley promotion a chance to prove themselves at the top, which other teams in the past have not necessarily done.

Burnley did not splash the cash by any means either, they remained sensible with money. The highest transfer fee being paid was for Hull forward George Boyd, which cost them around the £3million mark. This was equal to the highest transfer fee they had ever paid for a player. It is also expected that Burnley managed to keep the wages down as well, with it being suspected that there is a £20,000 wage cap. This is a healthy attitude for a club to take, you just have to look at certain teams in the Championship or a lower league; to see the dangers in spending beyond your club’s resources in a bid to stay in the top division. It is a risk that is not worth taking, when you consider money does not guarantee you success. There is also the fact that every other team is trying the same tactic so you cannot exactly gain an advantage.

Finally, it is worth noting that Burnley kept the faith in their manager Sean Dyche. Other clubs may have panicked when they did not win any of their first eleven games, particularly when you consider they were the last of 256 teams in the top 11 divisions to record a win this season. However, Burnley remained calm, kept the faith with the man dubbed ‘The Ginger Mourinho’ and it has paid off for them as it stands. Burnley have now recorded three wins, which may not seem a grand number, but after their slow start it seems like the tide is changing. Burnley will be boosted by their victory against Southampton, which took them out of the relegation zone. Before their breakthrough victory, would anyone really have been shocked if Dyche had been given the chop? Especially when you consider how often Premier League managers get the sack.

Burnley not being relegated would act as a new guideline for future promoted clubs who could take inspiration from their shrewd success. This could be a positive development for the Premier League, putting the emphasis on good teams rather than individual talents. The importance of their healthy financial approach could encourage others not to gamble their financial security, in a bid to stay up.

By Laura O’Leary – Fulham fan – @LauOLau