There is little doubt that Leicester coach Claudio Ranieri will be scooping up the LMA Manager of the Year award in the coming weeks after his miracle season with The Foxes, but last year’s winner Eddie Howe may have just defended his crown if it weren’t for the Italian’s feat.
The same way that the name Ferguson means Manchester United or Wenger means Arsenal, Eddie Howe embodies the heart and soul of Bournemouth F.C.
A product of the youth system, Howe has been at the club his whole life (with the exception of an injury marred two years at Portsmouth) making over 270 appearances for Bournemouth.
Howe’s long serving commitment was rewarded with a player coach role in 2006, and after a bumpy ride, which involved an early retirement, he took over as manager in January 2009 at just 31 years of age. After inheriting a club that found itself in the relegation zone, Howe overcame a 17 point deficit to lead Bournemouth to safety.
Howe cemented his legacy the following season after they gained promotion to League One in his first full season, breaking club records along the way. He was rewarded with a stint as Burnley manager and after two years he returned to Bournemouth. Following a second debut season, he guided his side to promotion again. This time to the great heights of the Championship, and after a couple of attempts, Bournemouth’s golden boy led the Cherries to the top tier of English football for the first time.
Many would have expected Bournemouth to be treading dangerous waters this season, and although it wasn’t plain sailing, in their first season in the Premier League they sit 14th after surpassing the coveted 40-point mark.
After a campaign marred by injuries, Bournemouth have surpassed any expectations made of them this season.
Howe, speaking after hitting the 40-point mark said (via Teamtalk):
The togetherness has been at the core of all our success. We have a squad of players who have given absolutely everything.
Although this season hasn’t been plain sailing for the Cherries, there is little doubt that a club of their size has made fantastic strides in establishing themselves as a formidable top tier team; their biggest challenge over the summer could be to keep their beloved manager.
With Roy Hodgson not scheduled to hold talks over a new contract as England manager until after the European Championships it could be a case where there is a future vacancy in the most coveted job in English football, and bookmakers and pundits alike don’t have too many names on the shortlist ahead of the over-achieving Eddie Howe.
Darragh Culhane, Pundit Arena