When Alastair Campbell met Sean Dyche: Burnley v Everton, Clarets' season so far and England ambitions
Last Updated: 03/03/18 7:37am
Ahead of Burnley v Everton on Sky Sports Premier League on Saturday, former Downing Street Press Secretary and Burnley fan Alastair Campbell quizzed Sean Dyche on an array of topics.
No stranger to tackling the difficult questions himself, Campbell got the lowdown on Burnley's season so far, Dyche's links to the big jobs in football and his ambitions for the England job.
Here's what Dyche had to say...
Campbell: This season so far, it was an amazing start and then there has been a difficult period. First of all, how do you explain that? And secondly, what have you learnt from that and how difficult has it been?
DYCHE: "The margins I speak about in football, in particular, for everyone outside the top six are tight. There are a lot of tight games and teams that are vying for different things. They are fighting it out if you like so that's what makes games tight.
"The realities of the recent run, which is a tough run, is one, there was a spate of injuries which hasn't happened to us before. We had injuries to a number of key first-team players which I don't think was helpful. It does also allow others that weren't playing the chance to play, that's the benefit.
"You've also got to be realistic. Out of 10 games we played the top five teams in the league. They are tough games for a reason. They are tough statistically and season upon season it's very tough to beat the big boys.
"It's a mixture of circumstances and the other one is we've got to take care of our own business, and we haven't done that. There are reasons but they are not excuses, they are just facts."
Campbell: You've done incredibly well at Burnley. Eddie Howe did okay at Burnley but is doing brilliantly at Bournemouth. Does it not irk you a bit that when these bigger jobs come up and Eddie tends to get linked to them and you don't?
DYCHE: "It's just one of those things.
"Funnily enough, if you turn that around and whenever I'm asked about it, when I am linked with someone, they try and make a big thing out of it, but I'm still here. I'm still here now. I've always made it clear, until something happens either way.
"There are three things that can happen. One, you walk away which is your choice, two, the fans or the board have had enough of you and you're out or third, someone comes and gets you. It's quite simple and I'm happy here. I'm enjoying what I'm working with and enjoying the people."
Campbell: Would you think your career was unfulfilled if at some point you didn't, at some point, go to a bigger job in football?
DYCHE: "Fulfillment for me is different.
"You are judged on league tables but behind that I really enjoy helping players. I mean that sincerely because I had my time, I learnt a lot from it. I really like that because I think that's beyond just winning.
"I do like winning though, I have to be honest. It's something that's kept me going a very long time so they're closely balanced."
Campbell: What about the England job as an ambition?
DYCHE: "I think it's a tough one. It's not quite the poisoned chalice we make it out to be but it is a real tough job.
"You have to win a lot, you have to win convincingly and you have to win in a certain way. People expect a lot.
"I back Gareth [Southgate] to the hill. But in years to come, who knows? I personally think the more seasons you can get under your belt, the more you learn about football, about footballers, the media, dealing with hierarchies and board members.
"I think that's got to be important when you go into the full international scene. It's not vital and as I said I totally back Gareth, I think he's brilliant. However, I certainly don't think I've got every answer.
"I think I've got a little bit of a handle on some of the stuff that comes with this job and that's it at the minute. I'm open-minded enough to speak with whoever I can and get as much information as I can out of them."
Watch Alastair Campbell's interview with Sean Dyche in full ahead of Burnley v Everton, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am on Saturday.