Everyone a winner in Tom Heaton’s move to Aston Villa, says Burnley boss Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche and Tom Heaton with the Championship trophy in 2016
Sean Dyche and Tom Heaton with the Championship trophy in 2016

It’s not often that everyone is a winner in football.

But Clarets boss Sean Dyche feels Tom Heaton’s move to Aston Villa ticked every box.

Burnley got a fee in the region of £8m for a 33-year-old who spent six years at the club after arriving on a free transfer.

Aston Villa got a top quality goalkeeper - an England international with the Premier League experience they required.

And the player himself got guaranteed number one status, having faced a battle with Nick Pope and Joe Hart at Turf Moor.

Dyche insists neither he nor Heaton pushed for the switch - it just made sense in terms of football and business, and both parties could part on excellent terms.

The respect for Heaton will be clear for all to see, and hear, at Villa Park on Saturday as he comes up against his former club, with the travelling fans certain to give him a rapturous reception.

Dyche was sorry to see him leave, but explained: “I think they all do (tug the heartstrings), I treat all these players like they’re my own, family members.

“I try and be as good with my guidance as I would be with my own children,

“I think it’s important, they become important to you over time, Tom is certainly one of those, I don’t do favourites, apart from Tripps, everybody knows that!

“He was my first signing, an important signing, but he’s a top fella on and off the pitch, I like him as a person and professional.

“But there will always be a business decision here, every pound is a prisoner, that’s just the way it is.

“Behind that, we have got very good goalkeepers. I believe in Nick Pope, quite obviously, I believe in Joe Hart and young Bailey has joined the group and done very well so far.

“There is a method to the planning of it, but there often comes a time when a deal gets done here.”

That time was when Villa’s offer became too good to turn down, on the back of Pope signing a long-term deal in the summer to commit his future to the club: “It was a bit of everything, there was a suggestion he’d be an out and out number one at Villa, and I don’t do that, everyone fights for their chance here.

“The contract side, we’ve all seen the money Villa are paying, in fees, and if the fees are big, you can usually compute the wages will be, that’s an ongoing debate from us internally where it goes with wages and fees not so much a club like Villa.

“And the fee, every pound is a prisoner, the board want to maximise every situation, and that can be tough at times, but that’s the way the club has and continues to be run.

“It is a challenge. We’ve brought in something like half a billion in the time I’ve been here, net spend of about £70-odd, not including the assets still here.

“That gives you our way of doing business, and if you look at Villa, they’ve done £120-odd million this window already.

“The business thing is one side, and the football business is another, that has to be balanced up as well.

“We do believe in Nick Pope, he’d had a tough season with the injury, but that didn’t mean we didn’t believe in him. We do believe in Joe Hart, and we brought in Bailey (Peacock-Farrell) as someone who can progress.

“That has to be factored in as well. Tom is an immaculate professional but is getting older, I don’t mean that to affect his performance levels, but as a saleable asset, when someone offers you the money they did, at that age, that has to be considered.”

Burnley have had to sell from a financial perspective before - notably Charlie Austin on the eve of the 2013/14 season.

But this was a football and business decision: “Charlie was getting sold because we need to put electric in the building! Keano (Michael Keane) was someone we bought for circa £2.5m with add ons, and we sold him for a lot...(£25m).

“That was purely financial business.

“We’re in a different position now where it can be about more than business, because the club is so stable financially, but there still is a time where the chairman and the board want to do something financially.

“Sometimes I slow that down a bit, and sometimes I think it looks right.

“With Tom, it worked on every level, and on the one that’s hard to find, an emotional level, because I can shake Tom by the hand, look him in the face, he’s happy, I’m happy, and there’s no thinking on who’s won - everyone has won.

“Same with Vokesy, amazing servant, but a situation that worked for everyone.

“Every manager would like every deal to work like that, but there are two very good, clean deals for all concerned