Sean Dyche has been sacked as Burnley manager after 10 years with the club battling relegation from the Premier League.
Burnley are currently 18th in the table, four points from safety. They have won just one of their last seven Premier League games, losing 2-0 to fellow relegation strugglers Norwich on Sunday.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher branded Burnley’s decision to sack Dyche as a ‘joke’, adding on Twitter: “If you had given him a decent budget you would never have had a worry about getting relegated.”
Fellow Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville added: “Well done to Sean Dyche for doing one of the great managerial jobs in PL history. He had a bantamweight budget and yet punched hard against the heavyweights for years.”
U23s coach Mike Jackson, assisted by academy director Paul Jenkins, U23s goalkeeping coach Connor King and club captain Ben Mee have been asked to take charge of the team for Sunday’s game with West Ham.
Sky SportsNews understands from sources close to the players that Dyche had not lost the dressing room, despite their predicament.
Dyche is no longer the longest-serving manager in the Premier League, having spent nearly a decade at Burnley. He temporarily joined the England U21 backroom staff in September 2012, soon taking over at Burnley from the departing Eddie Howe in October of the same year.
The 50-year-old led Burnley to two promotions from the Championship, the last coming in the 2015/16 season.
After signing a new four-year deal in September 2018, he guided Burnley to a seventh-place finish in the Premier League. The achievement saw Burnley secure Europa League football for the first time in 51 years and their best top-flight finish since a sixth-place finish in 1974.
Burnley achieved another top-10 finish in the 2019/20 season, but finished in 17th place last season. However, this was 11 points clear of the bottom three.
Chairman Alan Pace said in a statement: “Firstly, we would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Sean and his staff for their achievements at the Club over the last decade.
“During his time at Turf Moor, Sean has been a credit both on and off the pitch, respected by players, staff, supporters, and the wider football community.
“However, results this season have been disappointing and, while this was an incredibly difficult decision, with eight crucial games of the campaign remaining, we feel a change is needed to give the squad the best possible chance of retaining its Premier League status.
“The process of replacing Sean has begun and further announcements will be made to supporters in due course.”
His assistant manager Ian Woan, first-team coach Steve Stone and goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer have also left the club.
Former Burnley defender Michael Duff admits he is interested in the Burnley job, but says he is focused on his current job as Cheltenham manager.
When asked if he’d be interested in the job, Duff said: “Yes, it would be the obvious answer because I think I’ve had two football clubs in 27 years, Cheltenham (and Burnley) they are the two clubs closest to my heart so it’s if, buts and maybes. I’m focused on the job here at the minute.”
Duff says he has not been approached or contacted by Burnley.
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder, who has also been linked with the job, has told Sky Sports he is not interested in replacing Dyche at Turf Moor.
Analysis: Dyche departs as a Burnley legend
Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:
When Sean Dyche was appointed at Turf Moor in October 2012, he inherited a side sitting 14th in the Championship table having conceded the most goals in the division.
Over the next decade, he would oversee a total transformation of the club, earning promotion to the Premier League in 2014 and again in 2016 following a brief return to the second tier.
Dyche was Burnley’s third managerial appointment in two years following Brian Laws and Eddie Howe but all that upheaval soon became a distant memory, the club instead becoming a picture of stability.
At the end of the 2019/20 campaign, following Burnley’s 10th-placed finish and Howe’s relegation with Bournemouth, Dyche even became the longest-serving manager in the Premier League.
The highlight of his Burnley tenure remains their extraordinary 7th-placed finish in 2017/18 but it is what he has done for the club as a whole, establishing their presence in the top flight on a budget far smaller than their rivals’ and forging a unique identity on and off the field, that supporters will cherish most.
The side’s struggles this season have prompted the club to act, but it is a testament to Dyche’s outstanding work that even now, with the threat of relegation looming large, his sacking comes as a major shock. It is a gamble their owners may come to regret.
Managers praise Dyche job at Burnley: ‘They should build him a statue’
Brentford manager Thomas Frank: “I’m massively surprised. I’m don’t know what happened behind the scenes, but looking from the outside and as a Brentford head coach, there’s a lot of things we can learn from a club like Burnley.
“They were promoted, relegated and then promoted again and they’ve been here six or seven years in the PL. It’s remarkable what they have done. Sean Dyche and his coaching staff and everyone at the club have done an unbelievable, top job.
“I think Sean Dyche deserves a lot of credit and they should build a statue of him outside Turf Moor because what he’s done is incredible – every season, going into the Premier League with probably bottom three or bottom four budget and then still being able to compete and not just survive, but get at least a couple of top ten places is a fantastic, remarkable job.
“Looking from the outside, I think they would have had a better chance keeping him to survive because he knows everything. But of course, I don’t know everything.”
West Ham manager David Moyes: “I’m shocked and a little bit surprised as well. I think Sean’s done such a great job and established Burnley in the Premier League over many years. Over recent times Burnley have been a very difficult team to play against and most of that has been done by Sean.”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta: “I only have words of praise because what he’s done at the club over the last 10 years is phenomenal. He gave the club a really clear identity, he’s managed to keep the team, with one of the smallest budgets, consistently in the league. I wish him the best of luck and as always with colleagues, it’s sad when you see those decisions.”
Brighton manager Graham Potter: “Surprised. I feel for a colleague, someone who I have a lot of respect for. It’s never nice when someone loses their job of course, but we know these things happen in football. I don’t think he’ll be out of work for long because the job he did at Burnley was fantastic.
“I think it is part of life. Sean is a big guy, he knows how it is. The reality is there are more people to feel sorry for than Premier League managers but there is a pressure, an expectation.
“Sometimes it is fair, sometimes it is unfair – it goes with the territory. We know that when we go into it. We know when results don’t go well you are under pressure, you have got scrutiny. But it is part of the thing you sign up for and you have to deal with it.”
Watford manager Roy Hodgson: “Of all the people in the league, he would have been one of the ones I would have thought most likely to survive anything like this so I have no idea what’s happened.
“Something must have happened because you don’t part company with a manager like Sean Dyche after all the fantastic things he’s done for that club over the last 10 years, he has built the club.
“So I was surprised, shocked and disappointed too because I know Sean quite well and I admire him as a coach and a manager. I didn’t think that something like this would happen to him.”
Burnley’s remaining fixtures
April 17 – West Ham (a)
April 21 – Southampton (h), live on Sky Sports
April 24 – Wolves (h)
April 30 – Watford
May 7 – Aston Villa (h)
May 15 – Tottenham
May 19 – Aston Villa (a)
May 22 – Newcastle (h)