For 11 years, Ben Mee was the lynchpin in a imply Burnley backline.
In his seven Premier League seasons with the Clarets, he grew a status as one of many division’s extra constant centre-backs. You knew what you had been getting. You did not need to play in opposition to Burnley. You did not need to go to Turf Moor. Mee was a giant a part of that sentiment.
Burnley bit off just a little greater than they may chew final time period, and had been relegated again to the Championship on the ultimate day of the season.
“Leaving Burnley was powerful after a very long time being there. 11 years is an efficient period of time in a soccer profession,” he first says to 90min as a part of a sit-down for Inexperienced Soccer Weekend.
“It was a pleasant problem for me to maneuver away from there as properly. Clearly it did not finish on an ideal word with being relegated, however I believe the membership was altering, prepared for a change, they usually’ve moved on and executed properly this season within the Championship. That is nice.”
Now below the stewardship of Vincent Kompany, Burnley look shoo-ins to return to the highest flight as second-tier champions. Mee’s love for the membership remains to be evident in the way in which he talks about them, rigorously selecting his phrases of affirmation.
However Mee can also be centered on the long run. He not too long ago admitted that the prospect to hitch Brentford on a two-year deal versus different provides of simply 12 months gave him and his household assurances they wanted. Having performed virtually solely within the north in his profession, it additionally gave him the prospect to expertise a brand new metropolis, a brand new group.
Planet League’s Wealthy Holmes & Sustainable Clarets’ Cat Jebson be part of Shebahn Aherne to have soccer’s local weather dialog forward of Inexperienced Soccer Weekend. Should you can’t see this embed, click on right here to hearken to the podcast!
“Coming right into a membership like this, I’ve settled in very well. A brand new problem for me. I really feel a bit revitalised by the challenges that I’ve confronted. I have been having fun with taking part in in a special system below a brand new supervisor with new gamers at a brand new membership,” he continues, clearly stressing his delight at working and residing in ‘new’ environments.
Mee performed for a decade below Sean Dyche, a charismatic and uniting determine, one who was primarily the voice of Burnley up till his shock sacking in 2022.
His present head coach is of an identical mould in Thomas Frank, and Mee – who transitioned right into a part-time teaching function for Burnley on the finish of final season – prefers that charming and at occasions bewitching type of administration.
Dyche and Frank are ‘particular’ in response to Mee / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages
“I believe it is essential they’re the center and soul of the membership,” he says adamantly. “They’re the leaders, individuals you see daily in and across the coaching floor. Employees and gamers look as much as them.
“They have a giant job to guide the group. It is an essential job, it takes a particular individual to have the ability to try this, and I believe the 2 managers I’ve labored below for a very long time – Sean Dyche and now Thomas – do improbable jobs. They’re very totally different of their approaches, however equally good at doing their job.”
Dyche memorably led Burnley to a shock seventh-placed end on the finish of the 2017/18 season, securing qualification to the Europa League.
Such an identical dream has been floated in Brentford circles in current weeks following an outstanding run of kind that has seen them take seven factors from a doable 9 in opposition to Manchester Metropolis, Tottenham and Liverpool.
However Mee refuses to be drawn on making European qualification a goal for the Bees. He will not even try to choose similarities between this Brentford cohort and that iconic Burnley aspect.
“I believe there’s loads of qualities on this Brentford aspect. We’re on a great run on the minute, we have proven our high quality in opposition to the larger groups. I believe the way in which the league is now there’s a chance for a staff like Brentford to complete excessive up, however the focus is the close to future, upcoming video games, and then you definately get a way of the place you are going to be within the subsequent month or so,” he says with seriousness quite than surprise.
“We have got some massive video games [coming up], had a great [result] in opposition to Bournemouth final outing. After taking part in properly in opposition to massive groups, it was essential to go in opposition to a staff decrease down as properly. That was an essential victory.”
Mee scored in a memorable thrashing of Manchester United this season / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages
This club-wide want to minimize a European dream stems from Frank’s insistence on being ‘assured however humble’, a need to be ‘impressed quite than shocked’.
Inside Brentford’s partitions, they know the way good they’re. They know what they will obtain. It is tougher to see their progress and imaginative and prescient from the skin generally, which is why some are shocked at their current stand up the desk.
“One factor that is shocked me most is the squad depth we have now,” Mee admits. “The gamers coming out and in of the staff. It is solely a variety of the lads’ second season within the Premier League, and the way comfy they’re taking part in and doing properly, taking it of their stride. They’d a great season final yr. Hopefully we will end greater this season and stick with it the way in which we’re going.
“I do not assume something that I’ve realized right here I did not know earlier than, however I do know extra about it. It has been nice. The way in which a formation units up, performs, to be concerned in it helps for positive. Clearly from the skin, you do see it and find out about it in soccer, however being concerned in it has definitely helped me, I’ve tailored to it and am having fun with it.”
Inexperienced Soccer Weekend is the most important soccer and local weather marketing campaign ever staged, unleashing the ability of soccer to sort out local weather change and defend nature. Operating till fifth Feb, the marketing campaign brings collectively soccer followers, greater than 80 skilled soccer golf equipment, Sky Sports activities, BT Sport, the FA, EFL, Nationwide Belief and plenty of extra. Discover out extra at www.greenfootballweekend.com.