Take a bow – The Fella that got Bournemouth relegated
Let’s face it, not all of us were particularly enamoured at the prospect of Eddie Howe taking over. Opinion was divided and Unai Emery was felt a better choice by a lot of folk.
His appointment was somehow botched as our new owners got to grips with managing an English Premier League club and in the end, the fella that got Bournemouth relegated became our 33rd manager, since 1930.
My own thoughts on Eddie’s appointment were mixed. I would have preferred Emery. Certainly, if he could emulate his success at Sevilla and now Villareal, that would have been something.
As for Eddie Howe, when his stock was rising, before the Bournemouth relegation, his appointment then might have felt more positive. Or perhaps under the Ashley regime, appointing Eddie when Rafa left might have felt like a good move, certainly better than the fella who has been a disaster at West Brom (and virtually everywhere else for that matter).
However, with what seemed like money being no object in the immediate aftermath of the takeover, I am now embarrassed to say that my own thoughts on Eddie’s appointment were that it was rather underwhelming.
Six months on, I am eating humble pie. And frankly, enjoying the taste of it. That’s not to say there weren’t times I felt vindicated, for having not welcomed Eddie’s appointment with as much gusto as others. Leaving SJP after the bitter disappointment of seeing Watford equalise in the dying embers of a match we didn’t deserve to win, I told my son that we were down, that if we couldn’t hang on and beat Watford, there wasn’t much hope.
Incredibly though, starting at Elland Road the following week, we went on the run that saw six wins from the next seven matches which excluding the FA cup third round tie with Cambridge, meant a total of nine matches without defeat.
Looking back, we were enthused by the new training techniques being employed. Gone were the days when Bruce had abdicated any responsibility to get the players fit and organised. The huge amount of time that the players spent away from the training pitch was confined to the dustbin as Eddie tackled the job of getting the players ready for the task with great enthusiasm and with the tactical know how of someone that looked like they cared and that it mattered.
Instilling the belief and a togetherness that had been sadly lacking under Bruce, was achieved almost immediately, cemented by the January signings and the redeployment of big Joe, whose transformation under Eddie cannot be understated, although we can perhaps in part thank the crass stupidity of Ciaran Clark for some of that.
In the warm glow of the aftermath of the Norwich victory, a cursory glance immediately up and down the table tells us how incredible the job Eddie has done actually is. Since his appointment, we’ve not lost against the three sides immediately above us. And bar Watford, we’ve beaten every one of the eleven sides beneath us in the table.
At the match against Leicester last week, Wor flags unveiled a tribute to David Kelly whose last game for us featured a hat-trick on the telly. The tribute concerned what ‘Ned’ had done a full year earlier, his late winner at home to Portsmouth being instrumental in keeping us in the old Second Division and avoiding the fate of what’s happened to a number of other big clubs in recent years, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday spring to mind.
The tribute echoed the words of Clive Tyldsley who was commentating, “You cannot put a price on that goal”.
And here’s the thing, if you couldn’t put a price on Kelly’s strike against Pompey, what price can you put on the achievement of the fella who got Bournemouth relegated?
They said it couldn’t be done; not a single team that has failed to win any of their first fourteen matches has gone on to survive the drop. However, Eddie Howe has managed it, silenced the naysayers and confounded his critics.
Long may his miraculous run continue and with the club and the city genuinely feeling like they are preparing for lift off, what price Eddie Howe landing us a trophy in the next couple of years? I’m not betting against it.
Take a bow, the fella that got Bournemouth relegated.
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