Updated: October 7, 2021 12:08:17 pm
Ever since Burnley FC came under manager Sean Dyche, they have developed a reputation of being a club that played ‘rough’ and had an ability to grind out results by playing serviceable football. If you are on the outside looking in, you would also share the same opinion but sometimes the truth lies not in one of two extremes but somewhere in the middle.
On Saturday after their goalless draw with Norwich in the English Premier League, Burnley crossed a milestone by playing their 100th consecutive match without getting a red card. For a team which has a reputation of playing “ugly” and “rough”, that is a huge deal. They now hold the distinct record of becoming the first club for 27 years to complete a century of Premier League games without receiving a single red card.
Since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, only Ipswich Town have had a longer run without a sending off, going 94 games between the league’s inaugural season and 1994.
Burnley’s last red card was Robbie Brady’s against Huddersfield in the 90th minute on 2 January 2019. That was almost 2 and a half years ago which is lightyears in terms of football.
Burnley have now played 273 matches in the Premier League and have received only 7 red cards. Of the 7, none have come at their home ground Turf Moor. By doing so, they have equalled Liverpool’s run of 131 home games without a Premier League red card, between 1992 and 1999. Not too shabby for a side considered to be playing “anti-football”.
With Burnley more focused on playing a more “pragmatic” brand of football, there have been criticisms aplenty from managers in the EPL who think that that their players should be protected from the rough and tough brand of football that Burnley play.
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp has often compared Burnley’s brand of football to wrestling.
“I’m not 100% sure if [officials] are going in the right direction with these decisions. It’s like we’re going 10 to 15 years backwards. The rules are like they are, but you cannot defend these situations. That’s how it makes the game really tricky. The message now is let the game flow, but nobody exactly knows what that means. I like decisions that favour the offensive team, that’s fine. But we have to stick to protecting the players. We cannot deny that. If you like that sort of thing, watch wrestling,” the German has said.
To which Sean Dyche had responded by saying, “My main disappointment actually is not a view of the game – I think every manager, every coach, every pundit, every fan has a view of the game. My disappointment is he is name-checking players – there is absolutely no need to do that.”
Dyche has always favoured this brand of organized football and has vociferously defended his team at every turn. “I think people love a tackle and a challenge, they love to see people putting sweat on the shirt and blocks and straining themselves to score a goal, that can be as important and as beautiful a moment as any technical quality,” the Burnley manager has been quoted as saying.
At a time when every team is obsessed with playing “beautiful” football, sometimes even at the cost of throwing away a game because they did not hoof the ball to the bleachers but rather, wanted to play out from the back, a team like Burnley’s approach is needed to maintain a healthy result-oriented balance.