Captain Ben Mee recalls first meeting with Sean Dyche ahead of Burnley boss's 400th game in charge

Ben Mee is the sole survivor from the side that started the first of Sean Dyche's 399 games in charge at Burnley.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 10:25 pm
Burnley's English manager Sean Dyche (R) celebrates at the end of the match with goal scorer English defender Ben Mee (2nd L) during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Burnley at Stamford Bridge in London on February 21, 2015.

The 32-year-old, who had been enticed to Turf Moor on loan more than a year earlier by predecessor Eddie Howe, had made his move permanent in the months leading up to that managerial change.

The skipper had been employed on the left hand side of a four-man defence, with Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff and Jason Shackell for company, as goals from Charlie Austin and Martin Paterson secured a 2-0 home win against Wolves.

Mee, who had been joined in the matchday squad by Irishman Kevin Long, now the longest-serving member of the group, can recall his first meeting with Dyche, who had briefly formed a part of Stuart Pearce's England Under-21s coaching staff.

Neal Maupay of Brighton and Hove Albion controls the ball whilst under pressure from Ben Mee of Burnley during the Premier League match between Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion at Turf Moor on August 14, 2021 in Burnley, England.

Ahead of yet another milestone at the helm, and with the nine-year marker of his tenure creeping closer, the captain said: "First impressions; I remember his first meeting with us, he was very up front, he told it how it was, he'd done his research on the players, and it was refreshing to hear him speak.

"He'd managed Watford initially, but we didn't know too much about him. It was all about getting to know him and what he wants and what he wanted from us.

"Luckily I was somebody that he wanted to play, I managed to start the games as soon as he came in and that was encouraging for me.

"He made me his captain a few years ago so we've always had a good relationship. We've always got on alright. He's always put me in the team, which has given me a lot of experience."

The ex-Chesterfield and Watford centre back, whose first role in management came at Vicarage Road, made everybody sweat during prolonged negotiations over a new contract with the Clarets.

The Premier League's longest-serving manager — who has penned a list of achievements and successes as long as his arm — eventually put pen to paper on a long-term deal, alongside assistant Ian Woan, that would keep him at the club until the end of the 2024-25 season.

Mee, however, believes a decision to extend his stay was never in doubt. "There wasn't too much concern around the players [about the manager's contract]," he said.

"We felt that he would stick with us and it's great for the club that he's signed that deal. It's given people a boost.

"He's done fantastic. It's a long period of time to be at a club, especially for a manager these days. All credit to him for that.

"Continuity is key and he brings that and it provides a lot of stability as well, which helps us. We just need to start going this season and picking up points."

But the centre-back wasn't able to impart any clarity on his own situation. Mee is one of a number of senior players currently in talks over renewed terms with his current contract expiring in the summer.

Mee, who is hoping to see his decade-long stay at the Turf rewarded with a testimonial, concluded: "There's nothing as of yet, no. I'm just waiting to speak to whoever it is I need to speak to and we'll get it sorted, I'm sure.

"It [the testimonial] is something we need to talk about – it’d be nice to be able to do that."

To celebrate nine years under Sean Dyche, Burnley FC is offering groups or families 10 tickets for £90 against Norwich City on October 2nd and Brentford on October 30th. Cheer the Clarets on at just £9 per person by purchasing at this link.