Burnley’s achievements as ‘underdogs’ in the 2013/14 season won’t ever be matched in the Championship according to Sean Dyche.
The Clarets, among the favourites for the drop, became the surprise package that term as the club defied the odds on a shoestring budget to gain promotion to the Premier League.
However, due to the nature of the division, and the way in which its occupants have evolved financially, the Burnley boss simply can’t foresee any of the so-called ‘smaller’ clubs repeating that achievement.
Clubs are parting with significant amounts of money on transfer fees and wages in a bid to make the top flight, with Boro’s spending this season touching the £25m mark following the £9m signing of striker Jordan Rhodes.
Derby County’s expenditure has also hit a similar level with Bradley Johnson, Tom Ince, Jacob Butterfield, Jason Shackell, Andreas Weimann and Nick Blackman all commanding a considerable fee.
The Clarets were actually in the black in their promotion season, recruiting the likes of Tom Heaton, David Jones and Scott Arfield on free transfers while the fee secured for Charlie Austin out-weighed the sum spent on Ashley Barnes.
“The facts are the division has changed and it has changed significantly over the last couple of years.
“Middlesbrough have put an enormous amount of money on to the pitch in both wages and fees, Derby likewise, Hull in a different way, they’ve spent some and brought some in, but they’ve still got a very deep squad and an experienced squad which they spent millions getting there. Sheffield Wednesday are adding to that with players who I know are on big wages.
“The challenge has changed. There’s no angle from it. What we did two years I don’t think will ever be done again. With the wage structure we had here, going up automatically in the top two with that will never be done again.”
Dyche, who has balanced the spending this term, with fees for record signing Andre Gray, Rouwen Hennings, Matt Lowton, Tendayi Darikwa and James Tarkowski covered by the sales of Shackell, Kieran Trippier and the impending compensation package for Danny Ings, added: “That’s because of what we’re now experiencing, it’s going forward ever increasingly.
“You’ve seen the heaven and hell of it, with some clubs in the Championship in dire straits because of going it for every year.
“This club has made a point of saying we want to challenge but we also want to safeguard the club.
“Like any manager I want as much money as I can to bring in the best players I can but I wouldn’t throw it all under the bus.
“Building a club is more important than thrashing the life out of it and hoping for the best.
“I think the fans get it. They understand that part of Burnley’s history is punching above it’s weight and we’re in a good position to do that and to make sure the fans have a club to go and watch.
“We’ve moved forward appropriately, but there’s so many clubs who have moved forward inappropriately because they’ve got benefactors who are willing to put money into the club to cover it.
“FFP is interesting, where that lives I don’t know. The question mark I have about that is when it is retrospective how can it affect anyone?
“You can have a go, get up there, and then say it doesn’t matter now anyway. That’s for other people to decide.”