Up until a few years ago, the only impression anyone had of Burnley was that the speccy bloke from The Inbetweeners hated them after a traumatic bus journey through Malia.
However, under the rugged charm of one Sean Mark Dyche Esquire, it’s become a hub of footballing excellence.
For these reasons and many, many more – the 46-year-old should be considered for Manager of the Year.
We’re sat here in mid-April. Burnley have a realistic chance of catching Arsenal in the Premier League. Once inconceivable, it’s now little more than obscure science-fiction that may come to pass.
Until it happens, it’ll be hard to digest, such is the enormity of the would-be achievement. Yes, Arsenal Football Club are effectively transforming into nothing more than an internet meme who sell season tickets, but Burnley would never even had enough traction to command the metamorphosis.
It’s a bit like Leicester supposedly winning the Premier League. We’re still fairly unconvinced it actually happened given that the structure of the league is effectively set up the prevent these things.
Between European money and billionaire owners, clubs like Arsenal shouldn’t fall into the mire that Burnley would have dreamed of being lost in up until recently.
But now, they’re on level terms. Have Dyche elevated Burnley to such a level that they’re on par with Arsenal, or has Wenger overstaying his welcome to the Emirates by nearly a bloody decade been the reason for this sudden parity?
The easy answer is the latter; the fairytale answer is the former – the truth, as always, is somewhere in between.
However, the fact we can even consider the latter to be a contributing factor is enough reason to ensure Dyche goes down as one of the best managers to grace the top tier since the Premier League was established in 1992.
It’s not like Dyche is working with a top-six budget. His production has largely come from being compact – something that can only be coached.
You can be naturally talented, but you cannot be naturally organised. It simply doesn’t happen on a football pitch.
As a unit, Burnley defend. As an attacking force, they understand where to adjust their approach depending on the opponent.
Burnley are currently on a club record five-win run in the Premier League. Prior to this season, they hadn’t won more than two games back-to-back in the Premier League.
Chris Wood’s club career highlight was scoring for Birmingham in Bruges in the Europa League a few years back (although, he was rather good for Leeds United last season).
The return he’s gotten from him has been sensational. Kevin Long, a perennial loan-player has become a solid member of this squad under Dyche.
No team have scored fewer home goals this season than Burnley. Their 328 shots are under the league average. Their conversion rate is under the league average. Their shot accuracy is under the league average.
In fact, Only Stoke, West Brom and Newcastle keep less possession than the Clarets. But, none of these stats matter. He’s a game-managing gaffer.
The metrics don’t bother him – the points total does.
He’s open with media, he’s still the ‘bloke’ he was before taking a job in the most commercially-viable football league on the planet and provides people with a connection the football management world that we otherwise wouldn’t have.
For all the PR robots and closed-off sociopaths that the job seems to attract, Dyche is different. Above all else though, he’s achieving while doing it.