Former Chesterfield captain Sean Dyche heads to Proact Stadium with Under-21s
Spireites legend Sean Dyche will be heading back to Chesterfield on Monday.
The former captain, who led the team all the way to The FA Cup Semi-Final 15 years ago, returns to the club with Stuart Pearce’s England Under-21s squad.
The Three Lions face Norway
to decide who will claim the Euro 2013 play-off place as group winners, and Dyche will be watching on as a temporary member of the back-room set-up.
Dyche was manager at Watford until two months ago but was invited along with the Under-21s this week by his former Nottingham Forest team mate Pearce to see how his side prepares for an international match.
Although he never made a league appearance at the City Ground, Dyche has kept in touch with the former Forest captain. He says he’s enjoyed linking up with him again for a couple of days as the young Lions train at St. George’s Park
“I knew Stuart when I was a young player at Forest,” explain the 41-year-old. “I stayed living in Nottingham even when I moved to Chesterfield, so through my friends Ian Woan and Steve Stone, who were apprentices with me, I got to know him even more.
“When I came out of playing I asked if I could go along and watch some sessions at Man City when he was there. And Stuart kindly invited me up to St. George’s Park with the team this week to see what’s what and it’s fantastic.“
Dyche, a holder of a UEFA Pro-Licence
, is currently without a club after his departure from Vicarage Road in the summer, but he is using his spare time to aid his development as a coach.
“I’ve been to watch Under-21s sessions a number of times over the last few years, but this is the first time I’ve been in behind the scenes. It’s been really good for me, I’ve sat in the meetings, joined in with training and just got a feeling of what the actual preparation is like in the build-up to an important game.
“When you are in a job, sometimes you can get so into it that you forget what’s going on in the wider world. It’s nice to have a little window to go and reflect and look at others, share stories and practices and get a visual on it.
“When I went in to work and Watford and you’re in the coaching circles you speak to a lot of other coaches to help in your own development.
“It’s all part of the learning curve. I'm still a young coach-manager, so by no means do I think I’m the finished article with all the answers. I’m not sure anyone is.”
Dyche’s opportunity with the Under-21s set-up this week has not only coincided with the team’s first visit to the new National Football Centre in Burton upon Trent, but also their visit to his former Chesterfield stomping ground.
As they put their final preparation in place for Monday’s meeting with the Norwegians, Dyche had a chance to check out all the facilities at the impressive 330-acre site.
“It’s my first visit here to St. George’s Park and my first impressions are that it’s fantastic. It’s a beautiful setting for starters, when you pull in the drive it’s glorious, especially when the weather is like this.
“It’s all new, the trees and everything are still young, but you can imagine in five years this really maturing. It will be an incredible centre, how could a place like this not be a good idea?
“The pitches are incredible. If you want to be a world-wide force, you have to think about the immaculate preparation it takes. Any business would be the same."
He added: “The FA is trying to put things in place for future generations to get stronger and stronger. This can only be something that helps that, for players and for coaches as well.”
Dyche made over 250 appearances for Chesterfield during a seven-year spell after moving from Forest. He scored a penalty as captain in the 3-3 FA Cup Semi-Final with Middlesbrough in 1997, one of the club's crowning moments.
Since leaving, though, the Spireites have moved from their old ground to the brand new 10,000-seater Proact Stadium.
“It’s not the Chesterfield that I played at, I’m happy to say,” said Dyche, who also had spells at Millwall and Watford as a player. “I have very fond memories of Saltergate, but it’s nothing compared to what it’s like now.
“I had a wonderful time there, we had a real close-knit team unit and my last three seasons were pretty successful, so we had some happy times.”
He continued: “We had a 15-year reunion of our FA Cup Semi-Final back at the end of April, so I went to the new stadium for the first time. It’s a fantastic thing that’s changed, and for a club like Chesterfield it’s great to have a stadium like that. Added to that, they are now putting on an Under-21 international. What a great opportunity for the club.
“The fans will enjoy it, they’ll be intrigued to have a big game like this. At Saltergate you’d never dream of an England team coming to play there, so this is a great step forward, a great occasion and it’ll make for a fantastic atmosphere.”
Tickets for Monday's game with Norway at Chesterfield's Proact Stadium are still on sale, so make sure you're there to see the final Group qualifier. Click here for more details.