Eddie Howe is a Bournemouth legend, no doubt about it, but their form this season suggests that the fire he has kept burning for so long, has been extinguished.
There aren’t many management love stories better than the one about Eddie Howe and his beloved Bournemouth.
The former defender came out of the Bournemouth academy as just a boy, and grew into a club-legend, making over 300 appearances for the club over the span of 2 different spells, which lasted 10 seasons. Now, he is the club’s manager and has been for 10 seasons, apart from a 19-month tenure at Burnley from January 2011 to October 2012.
Eddie Howe and Bournemouth are a love story that even the greatest poet in the world couldn’t conjure up. He escaped relegation from League Two with them during his first season 11 years ago, despite a whopping 17-point deficit. That was the start of his journey with them – nearly getting relegated into semi-professional football.
Now, over a decade later, Eddie Howe and Bournemouth are mainstays in the Premier League and are competitive on a yearly basis.
However, Bournemouth have struggled all throughout this 2019-20 season, and as the weeks go by, they are looking more and more likely to be relegated by the time May comes around. This is when things get difficult, because it’s make or break for the club over the next few months and tough decisions will need to be made.
Eddie Howe has been through the underworld and back with Bournemouth, but can a club that has become accustomed to Premier League football be able to accept being relegated? It’s unlikely, as the financial repercussions are massive.
The 42-year-old has achieved monumental success with Bournemouth over the last 12 years, there is no denying that, but how many managers have maintained success at the top level for more than 5 or 6 years with the same club? Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, and maybe a few other legends of the game, perhaps?
Football is an ever-changing culture both on and off the pitch, and it’s near impossible for one man to maintain a high level of success for an extended period of time in a top division.
Eddie Howe did brilliantly to bring Bournemouth to where they are and keep them stable, but their awful form this season, despite some strong spending in transfer windows across the last few years, is proof that his luck has run out at the club which he has dedicated his life to.
It’s becoming more and more clear as the weeks go on that a change in direction is needed at Bournemouth, to get the best out of the money being spent, and keep the club where they belong – the Premier League.
Eddie Howe has already proved himself a superb young manager, and an opportunity to take a step up to another club will come along sooner rather than later. Because of that, Bournemouth and Howe should not be afraid to cut ties before it is too late. Both parties have the potential to improve individually in the years to come, as long as they are apart.