Welcome to 'Home Fans Only' a new series where we set out to explore the very best of the match-day pubs up and down the country. These sanctuaries of support are the true homes of football, the identity of a fan base and a community hub that becomes the pre-match pint and the post-match analysis studio. We're kicking things off with a swift one in The Royal Dyche in Burnley and a chat with the landlord Justine Lorriman.

Situated on Yorkshire Street, just one overhit long ball away from the club's Turf Moor stadium, The Royal Dyche is an unofficial beacon of Burnley Football Club. A tribute to the current manager of the club, the Royal Dyche is unmistakably the go-to when the Clarets are at home. Owned by Justine Lorriman, The Royal Dyche has been transformed into a mecca of memorabilia, from the signed shirts, flags and scarves inside, to the superb Burnley-themed beer garden that packs a real homemade vibe – the sort of DIY back garden that every football fan dreams of, but ultimately isn't allowed to create.

Dyche, dressed in Henry VIII regalia, has featured on the traditional pub sign hanging proudly on the wall since the pub was renamed when Burnley qualified for the Europa League in 2018. Since then Justine has kept the charismatic venue progressing into one of the most atmospheric pubs in the town, not just in football terms but by establishing the Royal Dyche as a place for live music and live sport. Proper one, this.


Firstly Justine, we've got to ask... has Sean Dyche ever been here?

No he hasn't, I’ve spoken to him about it though. It’s just a matter of squeezing it in. He doesn’t want to come in when he’s going to get mobbed. He would get mobbed if he came in when we were open.

The club are missing a trick, but the reason they say they aren’t keen is because it’s alcohol related. But I don’t get that because you’ve got all your gambling related stuff in football. There’s double standards, too much politics. I think if we were in the Championship or League One, I think they’d come in, but because we’re Premier League, the club has to fit that Premier League face. I think that’s another reason why he probably won’t come in.

I’d love him to come in when we were closed. Just let him in and let him have a wonder around and have a look at everything. People have donated so many things dedicated to him, like the ‘Dyche is the Einstein of Burnley’ print. People have actually done this. I feel like the kind of man he is, he’d fit in with our clientele, because he’s not like some flash foreigner. He was laughing about some comments about him and Pep Guardiola going for a pint, and he said “I can’t imagine them selling what Pep would drink.”

It feels like there aren’t as many pubs like this anymore…

I think some of the only other ones I’ve seen were up around Anfield. They were fully decorated. I went to Chelsea and they had the odd scarf hanging here or there, but that was it. Manchester City have the big drinking area by the Etihad where they encourage fans to go and drink, and I was impressed with the facilities they have there, but actual football pubs like this are getting harder to find.

There's lots of Burnley features in here. What’s your favourite?

I really like the tree outside. It’s going a bit green and I need the guy to come back out and sand it down a bit.

What’s the story behind it?

We had the tree cut down because the roots were coming towards the building and we didn’t want any structural damage, so we thought rather than just chop it down and get rid of it and rip the roots out, my Dad always had the idea of doing like an Indian carving or something like that. So I thought I’d go one better and carve his face. I found a local guy online called John Adamson – he's done some carvings in Towneley Park – and he spent a full day just carving his face out.


You’re pretty proactive with the decor. Is it an expression of you and your character?

I’d say so. Quite a lot of it, like most of the scarves and some of the shirts in the back room, they’re mine from when I was a kid. I’d rather see it up for me to see rather than stuffed away in a cupboard. The majority of things, when you collect souvenirs from football, you don’t end up doing anything with them. You’ll collect them, put them in a box and put them in the attic or underneath your bed. You don’t see them… That guy that’s out in the beer garden now, he’s just come in for the first time and has been going round taking pictures and he said he’s loving it as a Burnley fan, which is great to hear.

What’s it like on a match day in here?

It’s good. It’s a really good atmosphere. It took us a while… we used to have the odd few fans that were a bit rough and ready, but now it’s a bit more relaxed and we’ve got families coming with kids. We get some of the players’ parents, they’ve come in. You don’t say anything because you don’t want to draw attention, because you want them to enjoy it the same as everyone else and not get harassed.

Do you have a good community going on?

Yeah, it is. But it’s not just football fans. I feel like we’ve gone down the music scene as well, so it’s not just a football related pub anymore. We like to think that even if Burnley got bought by a new owner and the ground moved maybe ten miles away, we’d still be okay without our match day trade. A lot of people know that we’re not just here because we want to make money on a match day, we here seven days a week.

So Burnley’s got to be a massive part of your life really?

Yeah, all my family are from here.


It's good to see a landlady running the show in a very male dominated football environment. That must be quite empowering…

Yeah it is, but I think it’s the age thing as well. People say I’m too young to be doing this. But then that’s why I feel that it works, because obviously you can drink from the age of 18, so why should a pub be aimed at men between the age of 40 and 50? Why shouldn’t we aim at all the different clientele that we can be getting in?

Have you found more success since Burnley have been in the Premier League?

Not really. We’d probably make more money if we went down to be honest, because we’d be winning more games, our away games would be on TV more, and your Saturday three o’clock kick offs don’t get moved as much as they do in the Premier League, so we could plan more around it as well. And plus you get, how many games is it in the Championship? 23? Compared to the Premier League, which is 19. So you get four more games. But as a Burnley fan I’d obviously rather be in the Premier League. I don’t want to be playing Blackburn anytime soon!

How have you collected all the shirts that you have around?

I’ve asked customers. I put mine up originally. I managed to fill one room and a couple of the bar staff donated theirs, so I filled that room first. Then I was looking and thinking that I may as well fill the rest of the pub, and people started putting their own shirts up. My Dad’s friend who passed away, he was 99 a couple of days before he passed away, and his family bought him a Burnley shirt with his name and 99 on the back, and we said we should put that on the roof. That’s a nice thing.

There’s the runners challenge top in there somewhere. Did you hear about the guy that ran to every Burnley away game for charity? He literally ran to every game. He donated one of his shirts and asked if I’d want to put it up. So I don’t mind people donating stuff, it’s nice. It’s like I’ve said to people, if you’re not wearing it, it’s nice to come in and see it rather than have it stuffed away somewhere.

I’ve had to start saying that I can’t take stuff though, because I don’t want it too cluttered. At the moment it looks good and still tidy. We just auctioned off an Aaron Lennon shirt. Me and one of my friends are going to Ghana with the club, doing some volunteering out there with Burnley in the community and taking over football kits and boots, and someone gave me a signed Ashley Barnes shirt, that’s off getting framed now, so I thought I might as well auction one of mine off.

I like the unique stuff; Jayne Brotherton at the Cherry Blossom Art House in Burnley did the Claret and Blue Einstein print dubbed ‘Dychestein’ and we also had a Sean Dyche canvas donated by local artist Bill Bowden.


You can follow The Royal Dyche and Justine on Twitter.