Upon hearing the news this morning that Eddie Howe has left his position as manager of Bournemouth I thought it was an opportunity to praise an English manager who performed miracles over several years saving the club from exiting the football league to taking them to the Premier League in such a spectacular manner.
Firstly, I’m no fan of Bournemouth football club. I live nowhere near the area so never got a feel for supporters views but as a football fan I have been consistently impressed with Howe and the way he has conducted himself as a manager.
Too often supporters complain of a lack of opportunities for English managers at the top of the football pyramid. A lack of chances at managing some of the biggest clubs in England or even a crack at the national job.
Yet Howe had been heavily linked with replacing Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. Both Howe and Sean Dyche have worked wonders under tight financial constraints with clubs who are punching above their weight in a league awash with money. A league where the ones with the most money tend to be the clubs picking up the trophies at the end of every season.
To truly understand and appreciate what Howe did at Bournemouth, here is a run down of some of his achievements courtesy of the BBC sport website.
31 December 2008 – Howe, aged just 31, takes caretaker charge with the club 91st in the Football League and facing relegation and potential liquidation. Despite starting the season on -17 points, the Cherries stay up on the final day of the season after winning the last three games.
8 May 2010 – Bournemouth are promoted to League One in Howe’s first full season as permanent boss, finishing second on 83 points.
14 January 2011 – In his first season in League One, Howe takes the Cherries into the play-off positions and is courted by clubs from the Championship. He eventually leaves for Burnley. Bournemouth go on to lose on penalties to Huddersfield in the play-off semi-finals.
16 October 2012 – After 18 months without notable success at Turf Moor, Howe returns to Bournemouth. They are promoted to the Championship behind Doncaster. It is only the second time in the club’s history they have played in the top two tiers.
2 May 2015 – After a 10th-placed finish in their first season in the Championship, Howe guides the Cherries to the title, pipping Watford on the final day. The season includes an 8-0 win at Birmingham and promotion to the top flight is a first for the club.
17 May 2016 – Bournemouth survive with a five-point cushion after a maiden Premier League season which saw them spend £10m on Benik Afobe and beat Chelsea and Manchester United.
Harry Redknapp made some great points in support of Eddie Howe.
“He took a club struggling in the third tier into the championship – which was a miracle – and then into the Premier, which I thought was impossible to do.
Then for five years he had us playing incredible football, beating everybody at different times – it has been amazing.
The stadium only holds 11,000 people, they had no right to get in the Premier League. For 100 years they were never out of division three or four. No disrespect but it would be like Rochdale, or clubs like that, coming into Premier League. It has been incredible.”
Living in the North West of England and seeing the likes of Oldham Athletic and Rochdale close up I understand where Redknapp is coming from.
To take a club who historically float between the lower two divisions of English football rarely getting a mention on the national stage and dwarfed by some of their local neighbours and lead them into battle every week in the Premier League and survive for 5 years is nothing short of miraculous.
Sometimes a player or manager fits with a club better than anywhere else. Howe and Bournemouth had that fit with Howe playing for and managing the club. His 18 months at Burnley failed to set the world on fire but that happens. His time at Turf Moor shouldn’t detract from his work on the South Coast.
Howe can hold his head high despite the end to the season. He conducts himself in an exemplary manner both in the dugout and in interviews. His sides have played good football too. When you see how other managers conduct themselves and spit their dummies out if they are not backed financially by their owners or get decisions on the pitch and compare that to Howe I cannot see too many supporters not wanting Howe at the helm of their club.
I sincerely hope we see Eddie Howe again soon in a dugout and hopefully gets a chance at managing one of the so called “bigger boys”.