Sean Dyche takes charge of his 400th Burnley game on Saturday and Ben Mee recalls how he established his rule after arriving at the club from Watford
Sean Dyche clocks up 400 games as Burnley manager against Norwich on Saturday – and Ben Mee knew before his first not to mess with him.
Mee is the only Burnley player who was at Turf Moor when Dyche arrived nine years ago and remembers how he laid down the law to his squad.
Dyche had only managed for one season with Watford in the Championship and was perhaps conscious the players might have seen him as a rookie.
He cleverly used an old Fergie trick to establish his authority by doing his homework on the players and calling out one who liked to socialise too much.
“I remember his first meeting with us, he was very up front and told it how it was,” said the Clarets skipper.
“He’d done his research on the players and it was refreshing to hear him speak.
“There was one player, who enjoyed a night out and stuff and he knew about that, just little things like that, what players did socially.”
That was the beginning of a highly-productive partnership for Burnley and Mee has become Dyche’s trusted lieutenant on the pitch.
“Luckily I was somebody he wanted to play,” said the centre-half. “I managed to start the games as soon as he came in and that was encouraging for me.
“He made me his captain a few years ago, so we’ve always had a good relationship.
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“We’ve always got on. He’s always put me in the team, which has given me a lot of experience.”
Dyche, 50, who is the Premier League ’s longest-serving manager has presided over a new golden era for Burnley.
He was won promotion twice for what is essentially still a town club, led them into Europe and they are enjoying their seventh season out of the last eight in the Premier League.
“He’s done fantastic,” said the former Manchester City trainee, “It’s a long period of time to be at a club, especially for a manager these days. All credit to him for that.
“Continuity is key and he brings that. That provides a lot of stability, which helps us. We just need to get going this season and pick up points.”
That continuity will be key to Burnley’s latest relegation fight and Mee claims no-one is panicking because they have been through this situation many times before.
They were even worse off last year when they had just two draws from seven games and they recovered to stay up comfortably three seasons ago when they had 12 points after 19 matches.
Mee, 32, says the players are calm going into Saturday’s huge six-pointer against Norwich at Turf Moor as they look for their first home league win since January 27.
“We’re an experienced bunch and we have a lot of experience of being in this situation as underdogs,” he said.
“There’s no panic, the performances are there and we just need to get the points.”