It has been an underwhelming transfer window at Burnley and chairman Mike Garlick is being attacked by the proverbial pitchforks. The Clarets have spent less than any other Premier League club during this pandemic's transfer window. Garlick is seen as the villain of the piece but such a tag is harsh.
He is a pragmatic business man who values money even more amid sport's financial uncertainty at the moment. Garlick finished 19th out of 20 on a table, devised by 90min.com, that ranked 2019-20 top-flight owners in terms of their net worth. His £62-million valuation pales in comparison to almost all of his rivals.
The reality is that it's tough for Burnley's majority shareholder to compete at this level of football. But Garlick isn't simply using the club for his own financial gain.
Burnley turned down over a bid of over £30-million for James Tarkowski from West Ham United, as reported by The Guardian. That fee would have made him Burnley's most expensive sale of all time. Garlick and company stayed firm and the 27-year-old remains at Turf Moor.
There was also interest in Nick Pope but the club never gave any signals to excite any potential suitors.
If Garlick didn't care about the club then he would have cashed-in on Tarkowski. The biggest positive about Burnley's transfer window has been their ability to hold onto their key personnel. A contract extension to Ashley Westwood has also gone under the radar.
It may seem like slim pickings but it's better than nothing.
This isn't a chairman, like Karl Oyston, who seemed to revel in the schadenfreude of fans, players and staff while he was the owner Blackpool.
This isn't a guy who will put the club's future at risk by wildly spending before jumping ship. He will not treat the club like a toy; the life of this club clearly means something to him. Fans with good memories will remember that Garlick's careful financial plans helped to balance the books during a difficult period.
Nonetheless, Garlick has opened his wallet on numerous occasions; he has spent more money than people like to remember.
Ben Gibson, Matej Vydra and Joe Hart arrived for fees totalling £30-million, as stipulated by Transfermarkt (figures rounded for efficiency).
Gibson made one Premier League start in 18 months and is now on loan at Norwich City.
Vydra made two top-flight starts in his first one-and-a-half seasons but stumbled into the team after a collection of injuries. Still, the Czech star only managed two goals in his 19 league appearances, last season.
Hart did have a promising start to his Burnley career but was scapegoated for the club's poor form by many supporters. He was replaced in the line-up by Tom Heaton after only a few months.
Going back to the summer of 2017, Nahki Wells (£5-million) and Jonathan Walters (£2-million) were brought in and neither of them started a league game for Burnley.
Robbie Brady came in at a hefty £12-million. While the Irishman has illustrated his obvious talents, it is a lot of money for somebody who has spent more time off the pitch than on it.
When it's all added together, Garlick can argue that he has given backing to Sean Dyche and people have been ignorant to that because many signings haven't featured too often.
There is a feeling that Burnley had their readymade replacement for an injured Ben Mee but the Gibson ship had already sailed. Garlick is no doubt a little incensed at the situation, seeing Gibson as a perfect solution to the very recent crisis in central defence. Calls for another centre-back would understandably annoy the chairman a little.
It's also worth mentioning that many of the players who have succeeded under Dyche were brought in for little or no expense.
Scott Arfield, Joey Barton and Heaton were all free transfers.
Ashley Barnes, Ashley Westwood, Nick Pope and Tarkowski were all signed for transfer fees of £5-million or less. The evidence illustrates that many of Burnley's star players were brought in for modest fees.
Garlick may claim that the success rate has been higher when less money has been spent. Evidence suggests that he might have a point.
In this window, perhaps Garlick was worried about potentially misspending in the middle of this precarious period. People discuss whether Dyche has lost faith with his chairman. But perhaps it's the chairman who has lost faith in his manager's ability to effectively recruit next-level stars for premium prices.
Garlick didn't help himself by releasing a series of first-team stars in June. While most didn't play, allowing Jeff Hendrick to walk away was a big mistake.
The Irishman was a favourite of Dyche's and he was a regular starter. Extending Hendrick's contract on better terms was always going to be more cost-effective than replacing him in this transfer window.
It is a decision that hasn't aged well and it wasn't particularly popular at the time!
Not all gloom
So, Garlick isn't the Antichrist but he could have handled the past few months a little better.
In the short-term, there is still an opportunity to bring in some players from the Football League. The deadline for those transfers in and out of teams in those respective division is October 16. There is time to act if it's necessary to do so.
This scenario is much more complex than having a goodie and a baddie! There is clearly a lot going on behind the scenes.
ALK Capital, an American consortium, are reportedly eyeing up a takeover for the East Lancashire outfit, as noted by the Burnley Express. Certainly, private talks could have had their influence on a lack of recent spending. However, nobody really knows how far these discussions have gone and so it's a wait and see situation for all uninformed stakeholders.
What fans should know is that the current squad of players has the experience, know-how and attitude to avoid relegation. Moments of adversity require a squad with character and a strong mentality to bounce back; Burnley have that in abundance.