Podcast 79: “I admire the consistency of Shackell’s hair”

In an awards special, Jamie is joined by Jordan, James, and Adam to discuss news of Ashley Barnes’ injury, Tom Heaton’s call up, Danny Ings move elsewhere, and speculation surrounding Kieran Trippier’s future.

The panel then move on to give their picks for player, goal, game, moment, and hair (that’s right, hair) of the season.

This is the last podcast of the season and we’d like to thank everyone for listening. Gratitude also goes to Neville Gee, our sponsors: we couldn’t do the site or the podcast without them, and Stephen Long, our audio editor.

As always, feel free to email any feedback about the podcast to podcast@nonaynever.net.

You can listen online here or in the player below. To listen to all previous episodes of the NNN podcast, please visit our mini-site. Please consider subscribing to the podcast via a mobile app or iTunes to get the podcast delivered to you as soon as it’s available. Check out our guide if you’re not sure how to do that.

Podcast 78: “11 men standing in a field”

Adam and James join Jamie this week.

They discuss the dull Stoke game in all its glory before moving on to consider, as we seem to do weekly, Danny Ings, his future, and his comments about social media. Finally, the panel go through the squad and rate each player on their overall performance this season (spoiler: it all gets a bit chaotic and the scale of player ratings goes to pot).

As always, feel free to email any feedback about the podcast to podcast@nonaynever.net.

You can listen online here or in the player below. To listen to all previous episodes of the NNN podcast, please visit our mini-site. Please consider subscribing to the podcast via a mobile app, or iTunes, to get the podcast delivered to you as soon as it’s available. Check out our guide if you’re not sure how to do that.

This podcast is sponsored by Neville Gee.

Football has a communication problem

People are often quick to bash the Club’s communication strategy. The Club are quick to respond that they can do no more to improve the strategy. They’re as open and honest as they can be, they say. They publish interviews with the chairmen, the CEO Lee Hoos, and the manager Sean Dyche. That’s transparency, right?

But just because they publish them, it doesn’t mean they’re useful or help clarify things. You see, the game is entrenched in an abundance of cliches and statements of “nothingness”. Because there’s such a demand for content in football – for quotes, interviews, and generally knowledge — the pumps have run dry and we’re left with lazy, false content filled with words that actually mean very little.

Take Lee Hoos, for example. He has a knack for saying a lot without really saying much at all. Hoos is a controversial figure for a number of well known reasons (his ticketing policy, a perceived lack of control – however false this perception is – in the transfer market, and probably because he’s American, knowing Burnley fans) but when NNN met with Hoos back in February, he seemed a genuine guy. He seemed to care about the Club. But he’s cursed with a case of management speak.

Take the most recent statement from Hoos, posted on the official website, for example. Some of it was understandable, but some of it meant absolutely nothing. Here’s two sentences of it, for demonstrative purposes:

“There been speculation about Sean, but he is making plans for the final two games and then next season and how we take the club forward.

“The really important thing now is that if you take two steps forward and one back, you are still going forwards.”

Let’s pull it apart:

There been speculation about Sean

We knew that already, but it’s fair enough that he establishes the context of his comments.

He is making plans for the final two games

Did the aforementioned speculation assert that Sean had stopped doing his job in the meantime?

Then next season and how we take the club forward.

See above. It’s his job to make plans for the future. Why would he stop now, when he’s still under contract? No one was saying he wasn’t making plans, but rather if he’s on a rolling contract as the BBC have reported, there’s a possibility that he could leave. The whole sentence clears literally nothing up.

The really important thing now

Again, he’s establishing context. Fair enough. Maybe he’ll give us some insight into the plans for the future as the sentence goes on.

Is that if you take two steps forward and one back, you are still going forwards.

Oh. It’s just a metaphor. That really wasn’t any good to us. Fans love detail. I think there’d be a genuine appetite for fans to know exactly the plan from here. What’s the general recruitment policy? You’ve told us in that statement we don’t have to sell players, but what about adding them? That’s what we really want to know.

How long is Dyche’s contract? When are talks being held to extend or renew it?

There are burning questions, yet all we get in the statement is the facts that we’re financially sound, we don’t need to sell players, and that the board are “ambitious”. Okay, maybe vaguely interesting to some, but all those facts are essentially common knowledge and easy to work out.

I’m not having a pop at Hoos individually, he’s just an example, because it’s a much wider problem than that. Football is filled with these non-statements and stale press releases. Take a look at any club and you’ll see them. Sky Sports News interviews, where powers that be tend to simply evade the question but also pretend they’re answering it at the same time. And in some ways it’s understandable because stale press releases, statements, and interviews are safe. In an industry of intense media and fan scrutiny, the safe option will always be preferred.

But it’s boring. Absolutely boring. And it makes people think those giving statements are hiding something. The management speak and statements-that-don’t-state-anything make football look aloof and dishonest. Granted, parts of football may be aloof and dishonest, but I’m not sure Lee Hoos is in that camp. If people read things and come out the other side thinking “I’m not really sure what that said” then they’re going to think the communication is bad.

Back in February, after the transfer window, Sean Dyche offered a welcome antidote to the stale and boring press comments and soundbites. In an 11-minute video posted to the Club’s YouTube channel, Dyche spoke at length about the transfer window and was refreshingly honest.

He didn’t avoid the issue, or filibuster the question by speaking platitudes about the transfer window as a concept, his philosophies, or speak about how important it was that we made two steps forward and are taking one step back so we’re still going forward. He dealt with it. And it made a lot of fans more understanding – though not happy – of the situation.

The same goes for the Ashley Barnes incident, where the Club again posted a 10-minute video for Dyche to give his views on the matter. And they were genuine views, not fluff or guff. Dyche is well known for his soundbites — “relentless”, “good group”, “one game at a time”, “market leaders” — but at least on these two occasions, he’s bucked the trend. The Club deserve credit for that too.

But it shouldn’t be hard to answer the questions fans want to know the answers to. Maybe those in football don’t realise how frustrating it is — maybe they’re so caught up in it all that they don’t understand what it looks like from the outside. But we shouldn’t have to ever read between the lines.

If football wants to engage more with its fans, then it needs to sack off the cliches, the management speak, and the statements of nothingness that engulf it.

Podcast 77: “I don’t want to break it to you but we have been relegated”

This week’s podcast features Jamie, Jordan, James and Robbie.

The panel discuss the win against Hull, Sean Dyche’s recent quotes about his future at the club, turning points and key moments of the season, relegation as a whole, and more.

As always, feel free to email any feedback about the podcast to podcast@nonaynever.net.

You can listen online here or in the player below. To listen to all previous episodes of the NNN podcast, please visit our mini-site. Please consider subscribing to the podcast via a mobile app, or iTunes, to get the podcast delivered to you as soon as it’s available. Check out our guide if you’re not sure how to do that.

This episode was sponsored by Neville Gee. Thanks to our editor Stephen Long.

You can find last week’s episode, hosted by Adam, here.

Podcast 75: The case for Sordell and Wallace as a wing-back

Jamie is joined by James and Jordan this week.

The panel look back on the Arsenal and Everton games and preview the Leicester game. Jamie makes the case for playing Marvin Sordell. James makes the case for Ross Wallace as a left wing-back. Jordan didn’t really know what to think any more. It got a bit crazy.

As always, feel free to email any feedback about the podcast to podcast@nonaynever.net.

You can listen online here or in the player below. To listen to all previous episodes of the NNN podcast, please visit our mini-site, where you can also find links to subscribe on iTunes. Check out our guide if you’re not sure what any of this means.

Thanks to our sponsors Neville Gee and our editor Stephen Long.

Listen to our interview with Lee Hoos and David Baldwin

On 28th February, armed with a load of your questions, four NNN editors travelled to Turf Moor to sit down and interview Lee Hoos and David Baldwin.

We covered some of the most talked about topics from the last year or so: the retainer, ticket prices in general, the transfer window and the recruitment department. Also covered were youth development, the community department, the Premier League deal, safe standing, youth development, the Club shop, as well as the general structure of the Club.

There will be written up versions of this interview on the site in the coming days.

As always, feel free to email any feedback about the podcast to podcast@nonaynever.net.

You can listen online here or in the player below. To listen to all previous episodes of the NNN podcast, please visit our mini-site, where you can also find links to subscribe on iTunes. Check out our guide if you’re not sure what any of this means.

Thanks to our sponsors at Neville Gee for enabling us to do everything we do.

Podcast 69: Mourinho and his antics

Jamie is this week joined by James Bird, Michael Bailey, Jordan Eyre as well as Chelsea fan Joe Tweeds.

After discussing the match in general the panel discuss the much-publicised refereeing incident involving Ashley Barnes and Nemanja Matić in the game at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. (Spoiler: Joe gets a bit of a battering).

They also look ahead to the upcoming game against Swansea.

This weekend, we’ll be interviewing Lee Hoos and David Baldwin. If you have any questions you’d like us to put to them, please direct them to blog@nonaynever.net or mention us on Twitter @nonaynevernet (make it clear that you’re suggesting a question). We’ll try to ask the majority of them.

As always feel free to email any feedback about the podcast to podcast@nonaynever.net.

You can listen online here or in the player below. To listen to all previous episodes of the NNN podcast, please visit our mini-site, where you can also find links to subscribe on iTunes. Check out our guide if you’re not sure what any of this means.

Thanks to our sponsors at Neville Gee and to Joe for being a great sport and putting up with us disagreeing with him.

Podcast 68: United performance and Danny Ings (again)

Jamie is this week joined by James Bird and podcast newbie Jordan Eyre.

They discuss the great performance, but bad result, at United. Once again the team talk about Danny Ings – which we seem to be doing every week at the moment – including his apparent trip abroad and a potential England call up.

Also discussed is the possibility of Burnley playing in Europe next season, should they remain top of the fair play league, depending on how the Premier League ranks as a whole in terms of fair play.

As always feel free to email any feedback about the podcast to podcast@nonaynever.net.

You can listen online here or in the player below. To listen to all previous episodes of the NNN podcast, please visit our mini-site, where you can also find links to subscribe on iTunes. Check out our guide if you’re not sure what any of this means.

Thanks to our sponsors at Neville Gee and our editor, Stephen Long.

Time to move on

It’s been a bad week for Burnley Football Club.

If not because of the lacklustre performance in the transfer window, then because of the anger and frustration it was justifiably met with by fans. Over the last few seasons, Burnley Football Club has thrived on immense spirit and togetherness. On the field, it’s been relatively positive for a good period. Though supporting a team towards the bottom of the Premier League is a different proposition than watching a team winning almost every week in the Championship, I’ve been proud of the way we’ve gone about things so far this season.

Off the pitch, it’s been a different situation entirely, at least since the summer. The fractures created between fans and the powers that be at the Club following Retainergate and the ticketing policy were always going to reappear at some point. The failure to add to the squad in the transfer window was a perfect excuse. I’ve been clear in my views on the transfer window: it was terrible, atrocious and maybe even embarrassing. You can read more of my views on the matter on my Twitter feed, or listen to them on this week’s podcast.

But it’s time to move on.

I’ve always rejected the notion that as fans we have an obligation to be universally positive. Burnley Football Club is a matter we care deeply and passionately about. I’d be worried if fans were non-plussed about mistakes and failures made by the Club. We should absolutely make a noise when things don’t look right.

A big part of the reason for the volume of the noise in the past week was that there was little response from the Club to deal with supporters’ concerns. We were waiting for the response. While we were waiting, we grew more frustrated. But that response came eventually. And how magnificent that response was.

It came in the form of a kind of monologue from Sean Dyche, prompted by only three or four questions in almost 12 minutes of video.

It was perhaps the most impressive managerial interview I’ve ever seen. Dyche dealt with the issues with clarity and honesty. While I’m of the opinion that the Club tries its best to communicate well with its fans, this was something different. It was raw, it was passionate, it was everything that was good about Sean Dyche. It reminded me of how great a manager we have – even if he has weaknesses, even if he has a strong dislike for social media.

The whole of this journey (it’s a clichéd term, but frankly, it has been a journey) that we’ve been on as fans and as a Club has been built on an understanding between fans, the management team and the team itself. In Dyche’s first interview as Burnley manager, he made fans aware that he was going to get his team to give them everything.

“Minimum requirement is maximum effort.”

In response to all the team has done, as fans, we’ve given a lot back. I think we’ve been more vocal than in recent seasons in our support for the team, if not at home then particularly on the road. We’ve been more patient than usual when things haven’t gone our way. We’ve invested time and energy into what Sean Dyche has built and that’s forged a unique relationship between Burnley fans and their Club’s manager.

If there isn’t a great relationship between fans, the board and CEO, there’s certainly a great relationship between fans, the manager and the team. The transfer window has been incredibly frustrating and it’s tempting to continue to air our grievances, but we must not destroy that relationship – not now, not in the middle of a relegation battle.

Let’s not be blindly optimistic, but let’s not dismiss all we have invested as people and fans in the Sean Dyche Project.

Let’s appreciate that if any team can survive in the Premier League against the odds, it’s this one.

Let’s not support the team because we have an obligation to be 100% supportive at all times – we don’t – but let’s support the team because we understand that that’s our best chance of survival.

We’ve vented our dissatisfaction in full. The Club has surely got the message. There’s nothing we can do now. We can’t change the past, but we can hope for better.

So now, after a tough week as fans and as a Club, we should draw a line under the ordeal and turn our attention back to the only thing that really matters: the football.