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Better than Gerard Houllier and Graeme Souness – David James verdict on Eddie Howe

9 months ago

David James has been talking about his playing career.

The former goalkeeper having played at ten different clubs.

David James playing under even more numerous managers.

However, he has no doubt as to the best two bosses he played under.

David James declaring Eddie Howe one of the two best, superior to Gerard Houllier and Graeme Souness who he played under at Liverpool, plus many other managers at other clubs.

David James talking to Lord Ping about the two best managers he played under in his career:

“Eddie Howe when I was at Bournemouth in League One. He wasn’t the manager that signed me for Bournemouth, he took over after a few games of me being there.

“We had a dressing room of very interesting and lovable characters. In fact, the best changing room I’ve ever been in was at Bournemouth. We had an amazing harmony. It was bizarre.

“Every morning we would get changed and train at the stadium. The lads would walk in and you could see these characters going through their roles in the team. There was a lot of banter in there, but you knew that the club was going to be successful because the group of players were so close.

“Richard Hughes, who I played with at Portsmouth asked me ‘What do you think of Eddie?’ I thought he was fantastic.

“Eddie’s delivery, and I say this fondly, was quite monotone. He speaks very clearly, very concisely, without emotion. At the time, we had some very gifted younger players who were a little bit insecure and what these players are looking for from a manager is an emotional response – that is what they feel they needed to give them reassurance they were doing the right things. Eddie’s approach was different. At half-time, he would say to his players ‘I’ve asked you to do something on the pitch, if you don’t do it within the next fifteen minutes, I will bring you off.’ He didn’t rant and rave, so the player that was waiting for an emotional response got a very clear message and responded accordingly.

“With me, he was very clear on what he wanted me to do. The irony of this is that I had a clause in my contract that would trigger a one-year extension if I played a certain amount of games. Eddie approached me and said ‘Jamo, next season, we’re looking in a different direction. The clause in your contract is a problem for me. As long as you’re playing well, you’ll stay in the team.’

“I didn’t have a problem with it. I was 42 or 43 years-old at the time and understood my place at the club. We played Walsall away, lost three one – not all of the goals were my fault – he called me into the office and said ‘Jamo, I’m not going to be involving you anymore this season. You’re free to do what you want.’

“He said it in this monotone way and when I walked out of his office, I realised that I just had the nicest sacking that you could ever give a player (laughs)! I totally respected him for the way that he dealt with that. I knew Bournemouth were going to do well – I didn’t think they would get to the Premier League. When they got to the Premier League, there were seven players from League One that went with them two years later.

“When Eddie got the Newcastle job, straight away I thought that Newcastle were going to do well.

“Harry [Redknapp] was effervescent and Eddie was consistent and level.

“Two very different managerial styles but the best I’ve played under.”


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