SEAN Dyche is solid. He’s a proper bloke who appreciates the simple, valuable things in life and, to use his catchphrase, doesn’t “overthink” issues.
Whether it’s about his rapid rise to football fame, his dedication to family or his traditional values, at 42, he’s learned that “over-thinking” can be a distraction. So he doesn’t do it.
Which may give an insight into why Burnley FC’s boss, less than two days before a match which could create history, is remarkably calm.
Promotion to the Premier League and the millions of pounds that go with it are within the Clarets grasp, but for once, we’re not here to talk about football and he’s happy with that.
After all he leads a parallel life and has as much enthusiasm and dedication to the other life as he does to his role as football manager.
Dyche – the family name originates from German and Belgian dyke diggers – is the youngest of three brothers.
Andrew, works for Weetabix in Kettering.
“When I was young and people used to ask me where I lived, I used to show them Kettering on a Weetabix box,” said the Clarets boss.
His other brother Neil is a builder.
Both his siblings are more auburn-haired than their carroty baby brother, but Dyche is not bitter. After all, this is the man dubbed “Ginger Mourinho” by the fans.
“Nobody was calling me that last year,” he laughs.
“I have to chuckle when I hear opposing fans’ ginger jibes. Surely they must realise that at 42, I’ve heard every ginger joke in the book.
“But I have to say our fans are really respectful when they see me away from Turf Moor.”
Ginger he may be, but the fiery nature often associated with men of his colouring is far from evident.
In fact, humility appears to be more his style and perhaps a surprising trait in the ego-dominated world of professional football.
Dyche’s father was a management consultant for British Steel and his mum a machinist in a shoe factory, which may explain why he could go a few rounds on Mastermind on the little-known subject of hand-made leather shoe designers.
“I don’t have an Imelda Marcos obsession,” he said, “but I love a good pair of hand-made leather shoes.
“I have an affinity with shoes because I grew up where I did and as a kid I always had hand-made leather shoes even for school, so it’s an appreciation.
“Then a pair of shoes would last 20 years. Now it’s buy cheap, buy twice. It’s sad how the shoe-making industry has declined.”
Traditional values and staying the course are subjects very close to Dyche’s heart. He has the same set of friends as he did at primary school. They all played for the local football team.
“All I ever wanted and thought about from leaving school was football,” he said. “I had the drive to think I’m going to make this work. I got by at school. I was in the top sets, but I wasn’t really absorbing it. I never got in trouble and my mates still give me stick about that.
“We grew up together in small town Kettering and I never lost sight of it. They have always accepted me for what I am and I’ve always accepted them for what they are. They certainly don’t talk to me about football. If I start they tell me to ‘bore off.’ I actually like that. It’s great and it’s a release.
“My mum and dad had very strong moral values. Simple, but effective and I believe in them to this day. My home was very loving, caring and supportive. We all used to eat together and I try to do that as much as I can now with my own family.
Dyche’s family - Jane, his wife of 15 years is a tennis coach - his son Alex, 11 is super-talented at both football and tennis, and Alicia eight - “going on 14” plays tennis at county level. They live in Northamptonshire while dad spends a minimum of three nights a week living out of a suitcase in Burnley.
“Jane and I knew each other as kids not in a childhood sweetheart way. But she was my first big love and still is. She’s a great girl. She’s become acutely aware of what I do, but she understands the challenges I face.
“I don’t want my wife and children swamped by my life. They have their own lives and that’s very important to me. In my house you wouldn’t have a clue what I did. You may see a couple of football shirts or a signed programme in my son’s room, but that is it.
“I’ve had lots of ups and downs in my career, but nothing has changed how I feel about my family. It’s always family first for me. I aim for total quality time with my kids. If I’m playing football with them in the garden, then I’ll leave my phone inside.”
Dyche says the single most important value he’d like to instil in his kids is honesty and particularly being true to yourself.
“I tell myself not to make excuses. You know what you’re good and not good at, but don’t make excuses. I only say that because when I was younger I used to make excuses. Not lies, but there would be a lot of ‘oh buts’. A football coach told me to stop saying ‘oh but’ and just listen. I remember it to this day. I don’t do it any more and I don’t want my kids to do it.
“I have worked very hard to make my life what it is. I Love Gary Player’s quote ‘the harder I work the luckier I become. Fortune favours the prepared. I like that.”
10 quick questions with the Clarets manager
Describe yourself in three words?
Hard-working, honest, happy - yes, I really am generally happy.
What would you change about yourself?
My ginger hair. No, my volume. I’m very loud, but I can’t be anything else. If I try to talk quietly, it doesn’t sound authentic, in fact I sound like a weirdo.
First record ever bought?
Prince Charming by Adam Ant (right). I loved the whole rave and Madchester scene and went to The Hacienda back in the day. These days my favourite band is Kasabian.
Shoes, travel and watches.
What couldn’t you live without?
What would your wife say is your biggest defect?
How long have you got? Snoring - I say to her ‘what do you expect me to do when I’m sleeping?”
What is your TV guilty pleasure?
24 with Kiefer Sutherland - there’s a new series coming and I’m ADDICTED to it.
Shawshank Redemption. I love the cinema but these days with the kids, I only get the chance to see stuff like Shrek (left) and Frozen.
Favourite holiday destination?
For ease with the family, it has to be Portugal. I love travelling - Milan, New York, Rome and pre-kids it was Vegas, but not for the gambling, I’m not into that.
If you weren’t a football manager what would you be?
I really don’t know. It’s always been about the football.