“No one believed in us": Burnley's Transformation under Vincent Kompany

Published on 19 May 2023 at 12:00

“No one believed in us but today, in this division we’re the best”

On the 22nd May 2022 Burnley football club were relegated to the championship following their disappointing season, which led to a summer of uncertainty.

Many believed the club were staring administration in the face due to news of the clubs debt following the takeover in late 2020.

“In the accounts they released earlier this month, Burnley confirmed "a significant proportion" of a £65m loan taken out with American financiers MSD Holdings to complete ALK Capital's takeover in 2020 would have to be paid back "shortly" after the end of the season should the Clarets be relegated from the top flight.” Simon Stone BBC Sport

Burnley 1-2 Newcastle: Clarets relegated after six seasons in the Premier League - BBC Sport

Many players faced an uncertain future at the club. I feel many players knew that they wouldn’t play the club again following their relegation, especially the players that have solidified themselves as ‘Premier League Players’.


The Manager Situation

The Manager Situation

With just 7 games left to go of the season long term manager Sean Dyche and his coaching staff were released from their contracts in hope that interim manager Michael Jackson could turn the season around.

This left the Clarets managerless for the first time in over 9 years.

The club needed to act quick. They did, on the of July they announced the managerial appointment of former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.

The Belgian joined the Clarets following his successful 3 year stint with Anderlecht.

The Club and fans labelled this as ‘the start of a new era’. The recently crowned championship manager knew he had a big job to do when he joined.


The Player Situation

Not only did the club need a new manager they also needed a whole new squad following the departures of 14 senior players

Out of Contract

Ben Mee - Brentford

James Tarkowski - Everton

Wayne Hennessey – Nottingham Forest

Matej Vydra – Viktoria Plzen

Phil Bardsley – Stockport

Erik Pieters – West Brom

Dale Stephens – Retired

Aaron Lennon – Retired

Other Transfers Out

Maxwell Cornet – West Ham United

Nick Pope – Newcastle

Nathan Collins -Wolves

Dwight McNeil - Everton

Wout Weghorst – Besiktas/ Manchester United (Both Loans)


As of the 1st July Burnley only had 12 Registered players in the first team squad:

Goalkeepers: Bailey Peacock-Farrel, Will Norris

Defenders: Matthew Lowton, Connor Roberts, Kevin Long, Charlie Taylor

Midfielders: Josh Brownhill, Jack Cork Johann berg- Gudmonsson, Ashley Westwood.

Strikers: Jay Rodriguez, Ashley Barnes


With the opening game of the season quickly approaching the Clarets had work to do in the transfer market. Kompany made the signing of 15 new players, which included 2 new goal keepers, 5 new attackers and 6 new defenders.

Goalkeepers: Arijanet Muric (Manchester City), Denis Franchi (PSG)

Defenders: Luke Mcnally (Oxford), CJ Egan-Riley ( Manchester City), Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Manchester City, Loan),  Ian Maatsen (Chelsea, Loan), Jordan Beyer (Borussia Monchengladbach, Loan)

Midfielders: Samuel Bastien ( Standard Liege), Josh Cullen (Anderlecht)

Attackers: Scott Twine (MK Dons), Vitinho (Cercle Brugge), Manuel Benson (Royal Antwerp), Darko Churlinov (Stuttgart), Halil Dervisoglu (Brentford,Loan), Anass Zaroury (Charleroi), Nathan Tella (Southampton, Loan).

The Style Of Play

The Clarets were a physical team that wasn't hesitant to use any means necessary to grind out results during their time in the Premier League. After Kompany arrived, everything changed.

During the Dyche era , Burnley had the lowest average possession in the league at 39.3. During it's time in the division below, that's increased to 63.6 per cent. Turf Moor hasn't seen football like this for years.

With the Belgian implementing a Pep Guardiola-influenced positional play system, supporters at Turf Moor have been treated to relentless attacking football this season, with Burnley scoring 76 goals in just 39 games.

The Clarets play a 4-2-3-1 most games but often switch to a 4-4-2 depending on the opposition and the players in the starting 11. 

Full backs Connor Roberts and Ian Maatsen often push up to join the attack, playing very high and narrow pulling into midfield.

The east Lancs side have lots of the ball recycling attacks but not forcing passes. They allow space to open up and then strike.


This Season


Burnley picked up 29 wins from their 46 games, recording 14 draws and suffering only three defeats over the season.

Kompany's side won promotion on Good Friday with a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough, before sealing the Championship title on April 25th when they beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 thanks to a Manuel Benson goal.

Burnley finished the season on 101 points, five short of Reading FC's 2005/06 record. It was the first time since Leicester City in 2013/14 that a side has recorded that many points (102).

A truly remarkable season for the Clarets 


Josh Lucas

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