Oh I do like to be beside the seaside! – Eddie Howe returns to Bournemouth
October 16, 2012 in League 1
Managers who drop down divisions for a new job are rare. Those of do it without first being sacked are even rarer. Eddie Howe this week raised plenty of eyebrows by returning to his former (slightly scorned) love. However, seen as though Howe is the best looking manager in the football league – so dreamy – he was welcomed back with open arms at his spiritual home. Rumours abounded when the news first broke that Howe left Burnley before he was pushed, but it seems now those rumours are totally unfounded, as Howe has said he left for family reasons. Those reasons centre around the loss of his mother six months ago and having a young son. Howe was brought up on the south coast and clearly wanted to return to it.
When Howe moved to Burnley two years ago, he was put firmly in the “young talented manager” bracket. It is fair to say that his time at Turf Moor has been disappointing, although not disastrous. Money has been spent and many players have been brought in, but Howe failed to get any kind of momentum going. The likes of Junior Stanislas, Sam Vokes and Danny Ings were all brought in, but all failed to fire with any regularity, although Ings has been sidelined for long periods with injury. The one bright spot had been the recruitment of Charlie Austin, who looks like he could be in for an outstanding season. There was nothing to suggest that Howe was under any pressure from the Burnley board this season despite their average start to the season, but now Howe returns to Dean Court with the club in a completely different position as when he left.
Howe saved Bournemouth from relegation from the Football League in 2009 and then led them to promotion to League 1 in 2010 on a shoe string budget. He was well on the way to getting them into the League 1 playoffs in 2011 before he left – they eventually did end up there. Since then, however, the club has spent millions of pounds updating the training facilities and have even pumped significant money into the playing staff. However, both Lee Bradbury and Paul Groves have not been able to turn this into success. The club will hope bring Howe back will change their fortunes.
It has started well enough; Howe was only appointed on Friday, but on Saturday, Bournemouth managed to record their first home win of the season. Howe was only watching from the crowd but the impact was instant. It’s hard to underestimate the power of a club hero coming back. The lift it gives to everyone is huge, and the fans, owners and players must be thinking “we are in safe hands now”. Howe, however, will want to set the record straight in terms of his own ability. He’ll not want to be remembered as a manager who tried to go higher, failed and then returned to the safety of mid-table League 1. Howe is definitely good enough to take Bournemouth higher – if he does, will another club coming calling for his services though? It seems doubtful he’d leave again.