Promoted NS and PKNP must look to the Burnley model

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The way Burnley Football Club has operated must be copied by promoted sides with an eye on longer term consistency.

As luck would have it, both Negeri Sembilan (NS) and PKNP FC have made the jump from the second tier Premier League to the top tier which is the Super League for the 2018 season. If not managed well and good decisions taken, it would be a shortlived joyous moment that could end up harming the team in the long run.

Lucky for them, there's a perfectly good example for them to follow and it comes from none of than the most overseas football league in Malaysia - the English Premier League. Burnley are fast becoming the beacon of stability and success that any smaller club can look to take on and emulate.

The club located on the east of England, is currently is their second period in the top division in the space of the last five years but are definitely making a better fist of things compared to their first appearance back in the 2014/15 season. But it was the decision made then secured their future and got them the stability that they have found now.

When Burnley was relegated at the end of the 2014/15 season, manager Sean Dyche wasn't sacked. The club didn't make a rash decision based on one season's outcome and they have become better because of it. In trying to get back up from the Championship the following season, Burnley also did not make a big splash in terms of players recruitment.

The income earned from that season in the English Premier League and the parachute payment because of relegation was used to stabilise the club financially as Dyche continue to show a keen eye with a few bargain buys. They smashed the Championship in the 2015/16 and rightly returned to the Premier League.

They only narrowly avoided relegation in the 2016/17 season, finishing 16th from 20 teams but the philosophy at the club remains the same, the board and manager retained the trust in each other to follow their preset mode of operation without deviation.

Jeff Hendrick Stephen Ward Burnley

Seventh in the league this season, Dyche and Burnley are doing a tremendous job with more than half the season already gone. The fact that former league champions Leicester City Football Club and historically bigger teams like Everton Football Club are below them in the league, shows just how much Burnely are punching above their weight.

But it all comes down to conviction in the right plan and sticking to it even if things doesn't pan out 100% in the way everyone would have preferred. And that is what NS and PKNP must aspire to do. Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur were the other two promoted sides but both looked like they are operating at a different budget compared to other two.

That is not to say that NS's Jorg Steinebrunner and PKNP's Abu Bakar Fadzim should be retained as the head coach at all cost. But if the management of both clubs believe in that they have the right man, they will have to stick their neck out for their choice of head coaches even if they go on a swift return to the second tier.

With the Chairman of Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) and current Football Association of Malaysia president, HRH Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim promising an increased sum of RM4 million to each teams participating in the Super League in the 2018 season, the money must be spent diligently. 

As it stands, neither teams have splashed absurd amount of money in their foray to a higher division which shows that both managements know what is at stake. NS have made big changes to their squad but no particular name jumps out as a mega star and they have also promoted seven players who were either with their youth teams or were out on loan last season.

Meanwhile Abu Bakar has stayed loyal with the majority of the team that fought their way to third position in the Malaysia Premier League in their first season in the second tier after being promoted from third division, the FAM League.

It's bound to a long and hard season for both teams as their elder brothers in the Super League have all made significant improvements to their respective teams. But if NS and PKNP found the right formula which suits their respective clubs, be that the Burnley way or another - they could yet play a significant part in what is building up to a very exciting 2018 season.

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