As the search for a new manager enters the final stages, Burnley fans remain mostly in the dark about which candidates are in contention.
As usual, plenty of names have been thrown around including Mick McCarthy, Steven Pressley and even Owen Coyle. As the days have gone by, the likes of Keith Hill and Michael Appleton appear to have become amongst the favourites to take the job.
Personally I feel McCarthy would be an excellent choice given his experience at this level but word is coming out of the club that disagreements over money are causing problems there. Pressley would appear to be a bit of a risk – not unlike when Coyle arrived, and I think Burnley fans would be unconvinced by his appointment. As for Coyle himself returning, I think those fans who would welcome him back would be in a minority, and the joint chairmen have come out in public and practically said as much.
That was an unusually public statement from the board who have otherwise kept their cards very close to their chest over the past few days. Apparently around 15 candidates were initially interviewed and there has been talk in the last 24 hours of three or four of those being asked back for second interviews.
If the rumours surrounding Hill and Appleton turn out to be true, I would be very happy with either man. Hill has showed he can compete in this division with a budget even smaller than ours at Barnsley, and all football fans must be full of admiration for the job Appleton is doing amidst the chaos that is Portsmouth Football Club.
Both men seem genuine and grounded with clear ideas of what they want to achieve, and that can only be a good thing for the club. But as is so often the case these days with the appointment of a new manager, those in charge have given very little away and so it is difficult to predict exactly who will be the man for the job.
Terry Pashley has done a fantastic job with the youth team in recent years, including last season’s run to the Youth Cup semi finals, and he continued that on Saturday in taking charge of the first time for a much needed win over Blackpool. It was our first clean sheet since the opening weekend and gave the club a small boost ahead of the expected appointment of a new manager this week.
The departure of Eddie Howe was disappointing but not altogether surprising. It was clear he was a man very attached to his roots on the south coast, and the combination of having a young family there, as well as the death of his mother in March meant that the pull of returning to manage Bournemouth was too much for him to resist.
It was a shame, because I felt Howe was doing the right things for the football club. He was building a young side that had the ability, on their day, to compete with any side in the division. The problem was that having such a young side brought inconsistency, and in his time at the club we rarely put a strong run of results together.
I believe that, in time, we would have become a force in the division but it may have taken two or three years. In the end, personal reasons were too strong a pull for Howe and the Burnley fans respect his wishes and the honesty with which he dealt with his own departure.