Bournemouth Manager Eddie Howe has left the club following The Cherries relegation from the Premier League.
The 42 year old led the South Coast club for more than 450 matches that spanned over more than a decade.
The decision was ultimately made by mutual consent with both parties coming to the conclusion that the time was right for a fresh approach.
Following his departure, Howe has published an open letter to the fans:
“The club motto is Together anything is possible and that is something that we’ve always firmly believed and strived to implement.
“That quote is representative of everything that we have tried to achieve as a club and it reflects the values that we all have tried to install in each other. We had a vision and a dream with hard work and unrelenting desire to continuously improve we have always strived to achieve our objectives.”
It was just five years ago that AFC Bournemouth completed their journey from the depths of League Two to the promise land of the Premier League. Eddie Howe’s side sealed their promotion with a 3-0 home win over Bolton.
The win was secured through a Callum Wilson late goal, the England striker had only just signed for three million pounds the previous summer from Coventry City. Subsequently, it meant that the south-coast club were promoted to England’s top flight for the first time in their history.
Indeed, rewind 11 years prior to the club from Dorset’s promotion to the promise land, the Cherries needed a victory just to stay in the Football League, which thankfully they managed against Grimsby Town. This fact alone, however, shows just how remarkable the club’s rise is to arguably one of the ‘the most prestigious and best leagues’ in the world.’
The Cherries this season sadly saw their five-year stay in the top flight come to an end, as they finished 18th just one point and one place below Aston Villa.
There could be a further twist to come, however, as the Dorset club are considering legal action against the goal line technology company, Hawk-Eye because it failed to give Sheffield United a legitimate goal in the first match of Project Restart – the game itself ended 0-0 between the Yorkshire based club and Aston Villa. A compensation agreement between the two parties could subsequently be reached just like Sheffield United received back in 2006/07 when they narrowly missed out on staying up to West Ham.
Standout performances in the Premier League
Throughout their five-year stay in England’s top flight the Cherries were known for their inventive and easy on the eye attacking style of play, however, they never were quite able to solve their defensive issues that would ultimately come back to haunt them in the 2019/2020 campaign.
In total they played 190 matches, winning 56 and losing 91 times. Eddie Howe’s side, however, managed just 38 clean sheets out of those 190 games conceding 330 goals.
Their first season in the Premier League, they managed to finish 16th with a total of 42 points from 38 games, one of their stand out moments that season was achieving a 2-1 victory over Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United side where winger Junior Stanislas somehow managed to score directly from a corner.
The following season they achieved their highest finish in the division, an impressive ninth place with 46 points that was level with their south coast rivals, Southampton.
Eddie Howe’s men produced a number of impressive displays at the Vitality Stadium that year, including a memorable 4-3 victory over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team, which was only secured in the 93rdminute through the currently in demand Dutch centre back Nathan Ake.
The subsequent two seasons saw finishes of 12thand 14th respectively for the South Coast side, where again they were able produce terrific performances against the ‘established top six’ of the Premier League. Another standout performance in particular was an impressive 3-0 against Antonio Conte’s Chelsea at Stanford Bridge. They caused more problems for the Blues the following season by securing a 4-0 win over them at the Vitality.
Where did it go wrong?
The final season for the Cherries in the top flight actually began very well for them as they secured notable 3-1 victories over the likes of Southampton and Everton. While at the start of November they managed their second win over Manchester United at the Vitality Stadium thanks to a former Red Devils reserve team player, King. They also caused more problems for Chelsea at Stanford Bridge as they managed to hold on to a 1-0 win curtsey of a Dan Gosling goal.
Ultimately, however, it was results in the second half of the campaign that proved Eddie Howe’s sides undoing. Poor performances against relegation rivals such as West Ham and Watford where they lost 4-0 and 3-0 respectively proving to be particularly costly in January. While further heavy defeats to the likes of Burnley and Newcastle saw Bournemouth subsequently slide into the relegation zone, before the final nail in the coffin proved to be a 2-0 home defeat to Southampton in their final home game of the season.
They did, however, manage impressive performances towards the end of the season, a 4-1 win over fifth placed Leicester City and a closing 3-1 victory over Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton that ultimately proved in vain as Aston Villa secured the crucial point that they needed to stay up at West Ham.
The benefits of top-flight football
Following the football club’s relegation to The Championship this past the weekend, The Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council leader Vikki Slade said:
“Nothing can take away the achievement and meteoric rise of the club that we witnessed five amazing seasons ago.
“The appeal of Premier League football to national and international audiences has helped to put our area firmly on the map for attracting inward investment and tourism.”
While the Dorset Chamber of Commerce president, Liz Willingham was keen to stress:
“Overnight, we were put on a global map in such a positive way; I know for a fact that the area received a much needed boost in profile and awareness as a result of the club’s Premiership status.
“One example of the difference has been Bournemouth University’s ability to attract new students. A significant increase, particularly in international students, was purely attributed to Bournemouth’s presence on screens all over the world.”
Since their relegation to The Championship as well as losing Eddie Howe, Bournemouth will most likely have to accept the fact that centre back Ake and forward King will move on, while there has already been interest from West Ham and Tottenham in another Cherries striker who helped take them up, the England international striker, Wilson.
For the new manager, the task will inevitably be trying to get The Cherries back to the Premier League. The Championship, however, is always a notoriously competitive and tough division to predict. Next season will certainly be no different with the likes of fellow relegated sides, Watford and Norwich City looking to bounce straight up as well as previous European Cup winners Nottingham Forest, who narrowly missed out on the play-offs it is sure to be as challenging as ever.