400 not out - but does Sean Dyche think he could join the 1,000 club?
Sean Dyche brings up yet another milestone on Saturday when he takes charge of his 400th game as Burnley boss.
But he sincerely doubts whether he will go on to join the elite list of managers to have over a thousand games under their belt.
Dyche is the longest-serving manager in the Premier League, and third in the top four divisions in England, behind Simon Weaver of Harrogate Town and Wycombe’s Gareth Ainsworth.
He has quickly accumulated almost 450 games in the hot seat, including his season at Watford, and since becoming a number one, he has only spent just over three months out of the game, between taking up the reins at Turf Moor.
However, despite recently signing a new four-year contract, he doesn’t see himself staying in management as long as the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, who retired age 71 with 2,155 games to his name, or Roy Hodgson, who was 73 when he stepped down at Crystal Palace in the summer, and has 1,213 games at the helm.
His first boss, Brian Clough, reached 1,453 games in his illustrious career, and Dyche is full of respect for the members of the 1,000 club.
Asked if had thought whether he could do 1,000 games, he admitted: “I won’t be doing it at Roy Hodgson’s age, to reaffirm, fact!
“Manuel Pellegrini was 65 the week we went to West Ham and he said to me ‘why wouldn’t you want to be a manager at 65?’, and I said ‘I assure you I won’t be!’
“It’s almost like the Steve Redgrave quote…(If anyone sees me go near a boat, you’ve got my permission to shoot me!).
“I have amazing respect for football managers, but particularly, at any level, those who have managed 1,000 games, because you must be good.”
He added: “Do you know what? I think, I’d have to double check, but I went to an LMA dinner when they brought in the 1,000-game managers, people like Graham Turner, Denis Smith - legends of the game for different reasons, and that’s not a slight on them because they’ve had amazing careers.
“A thousand games is a lot as a manager, obviously there are big managers there as well, that have been amazing…I think Neil Warnock is around 1,500, and bear in mind, on top of that is his non-league days, so he must be close to 2,000.
“Think what you want of any of these people in football, but if you’re in it for 1,000 games, that’s absolutely incredible in my view.
“I know how difficult football management is, and I’m not just talking about the elite, it can be just as difficult in different ways if you’re at the bottom level, it has amazing challenges.
“So anyone that hits 1,000 games is incredible.
“I’ve done 400 here, 49 or so at Watford, round it up to 450, so to be 450 in after 10 years in management, I will tell you, I do value that.
“I don’t overthink it, but I do value it because I know how bloomin’ hard the job is!”
And it is one of those jobs where everyone has an opinion on how you operate: “It’s a very tough industry, and an industry in that everyone thinks they can do it better than you!
“It’s a peculiar industry for that, I don’t get a plumber in and tell him how to fit the boiler, but trust me, every single fan tells you what you should be doing!
“You’ve going to get opinions thrown at you, rightly or wrongly, you’re probably going to get that from people nowhere near as skilled as you in what you do, but it’s part of the territory.
“If you’re in this business for a thousand games, no matter what level, that demands a massive amount of respect in my view.
“I respect everyone in management, and even more so those who have done 1,000 games plus - I think Mick McCarthy’s done it as well - incredible to serve football for 1,000 games.”