KEITH Treacy was in full, verbal flow when the door of the prefab press room squeaked open at Gawthorpe.
There was a silence when Sean Dyche appeared, and then laughter as he saw his winger still holding court – a response that affirmed everything that Treacy had just been endorsing about their particular player-manager relationship.
Dyche’s ears might have felt a little warmer than usual, but Treacy had nothing but positives to say, crediting the Burnley boss with helping him to fall back in love with football.
The 25-year-old was, he says, “lower than a snake’s belly” towards the end of Eddie Howe’s Turf Moor tenure.
The former Clarets boss had paid good money to sign Treacy from Preston.
Despite warnings from contacts about what he might be letting himself in for with the maverick maestro, Howe followed his instincts and went for talent over temperament, only to find that the two very often go hand-in-hand in this instance.
Treacy is a complex character whose frame of mind is just as important as his fitness, if not more so.
Howe lost patience, Treacy lost focus and relations became frayed, resulting in the Republic of Ireland international spending the last two months of the 2011/12 season on loan at today’s opponents, Sheffield Wednesday.
The new season did not prompt a new start.
Any remaining will to work together evaporated.
Dyche was the right man, at the right time.
“I quite like the gaffer, on and off the pitch especially as a person. He’s quite straight to the point and straightforward with what he says and I actually believe what he says, which with other managers wasn’t always the case,” said Treacy.
“When he says something it’s genuine to help you.
“To me, I was never going to play under Eddie Howe no matter what I did.
“When you’re not playing and you think you haven’t got a chance of playing, no matter what you do, you do sort of fall out of love with it, but as soon as the gaffer came through the door you could tell he loved football and that spills into the players, and it really spilled into me.
“It was a clean slate, and the gaffer is a very straight-talking man. That’s what you want as a player, you don’t want to be told lies.
“He’ll tell you what you need to do and if you do it you’ve got every chance of playing.”
It is, in his experience, an unusual scenario.
“For me it is, yes,” said Treacy, who at previous club Blackburn Rovers has worked under Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Sam Allardyce, and at Preston Darren Ferguson and Phil Brown.
“I get text messages off the gaffer like I’m texting a mate. It’s really quite funny.
“But you’re at ease when you come to the training ground, you never think you’re going to get a rollicking for no reason.
“The last time I believed a manager, it was probably Phil Brown.
“Mark Hughes was good. When he called a spade it was a spade. He didn’t lie to you, although you probably didn’t like what he had to say he wasn’t lying.
“There have been a few good ones and a few bad ones but I’ve made my own mistakes along the way. I think I’m starting to grow up under the gaffer.
“His man-management for me has been top class. I really can’t speak highly enough about him.
“When the old gaffer left here I was lower than a snake’s belly, but the gaffer came in and really built me up. He does that. He told me it wasn’t going to be a quick fix, and it’s about this time now that he predicted I’d start coming back.
“I’ve had little ins and little outs but he’s pretty much hit the nail on the head to be honest.”
Treacy, who could start his fifth straight game today after coming back in for the goalless draw at Wigan last month, added: “There's just something about him that’s infectious.
“He’s like a close friend and he’s made me fall back in love with the game.”
Treacy considered leaving, but other than the loan move to Sheffield Wednesday for the end of the 2011/12 campaign nothing came to fruition.
“There were a couple of loan moves that I turned down,” he said. “I don’t think there was ever anything permanent.”
He is glad of that now.
“Phil Brown told me that going to Burnley would be a mistake.
“Obviously they (Preston) were in a League One and I was playing for Ireland at the time.
“He said ‘You’ve a young manager and he won’t know how to read you, he won’t manage you right’ and in my opinion it sort of did work out that way.
“But the gaffer’s come in now and it’s a different chapter in my career. Hopefully I can just keep moving onward and upward with the gaffer.
“There’s just something about the guy he just knows how to read people– especially me...which is frightening.”
There is another fear factor for Treacy where Dyche is concerned too.
“I wouldn’t be physically afraid of the person but I feel like I owe him so much,” he said.
“I think for everything he’s done for me as a person I really wouldn’t want to let him down.”