All-conquering Clarets manager Sean Dyche is set to be immortalised in the re-naming of a Burnley pub – The Royal Dyche – as the club sit on the brink of qualification for European football for the first time in half a century.
To grateful fans Dyche is already royalty, but that will soon became official when watering hole The Princess Royal – just a football kick from Turf Moor – will keep its promise to substitute its name in his honour should the team qualify for the Europa League.
Landlady and Clarets season-ticket holder Justine Lorriman first made the suggestion in November when, to the shock of football fans around the continent, Burnley moved into fourth place in the Premier League.
Burnley currently sit in seventh position on 64 points, three behind Arsenal and six clear of Everton, with two games to play, 180 minutes away from the impossible dream of a Europa League qualification round spot.
Justine said: “Re-naming the pub after Dyche started out as a joke between myself and the bar staff. We had just beaten Stoke City to move into fourth in November, a position no-one believed we’d ever achieve.
“We’d already invited the gaffer to come round for a free pint so we thought we’d go one better and re-name the pub in his honour if we qualified for Europe.
“No-one realistically thought that would happen but we’re virtually there now, barring a miracle, so we have to keep good our promise.”
Justine said that designs for a new pub sign – featuring Dyche’s head on the body of another larger-than-life character, King Henry VIII – have been prepped and are ready to go.
Justine added: “Personally I can’t wait to jump on a plane to Europe. It really is a dream. Dyche has achieved something no-one thought possible, on a tight budget with a small squad.”
The landlady, a keen amateur footballer herself, must also apply to Burnley Borough Council’s licensing department for the official name change.
“I’m going to the player awards on Sunday and hoping to catch him, just to make sure we can get his blessing.
“He can come and claim his free pint then as well. It would be great to see him in here.”