The recent swing in public opinion regarding Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth has been quite incredible.
Once held up as the antidote to English football’s over-reliance on overseas talent to prosper, Howe was, until recently, viewed as one of the most talented and highly sought after managers in the Premier League.
Since his side’s downturn in form, however, the 42-year-old has been slapped with all sorts of pejorative labels, with the most common of course being the football phrase that refuses to die: ‘FRAUD!’.
2020 is the year people realise Eddie Howe is an absolute fraud
— Dom Baker (@dombakerdb) January 12, 2020
Although this is admittedly simplistic, a lot of the ill-feeling towards Bournemouth stems from their development from counter-culture, plucky upstarts, into boring members of the Premier League establishment. When the Cherries burst onto the top-flight there was a certain lovable novelty about them.
Playing in a stadium with a sub-12,000 capacity with an unknown English manager, they soon become the neutrals favourites with their attacking and often exciting football. In the season’s that have transpired thereafter, the excitement has dissipated.
People are tired of little old Bournemouth, feeling that – rather than being a breath of fresh air – the Hampshire-based side are now depriving a Premier League place to a team who actually belongs there. (See: Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday… well, most of the Championship at the moment)
They’re also sick of Eddie Howe.
Well spoken and a fan of David Brent-esque motivational techniques, they have found a new English messiah in the form of the straight talking, belt and braces, quintessentially English and tactically intriguing Chris Wilder. It’s a remarkable fall from grace for a manager who in the past was prophesied as the man to carry on Arsene Wenger’s legacy at Arsenal, as well as being a serious contender for the England job in 2016, before it was given to Sam Allardyce.
At the time of the Three Lions speculation Howe was dismissive of the links, stating that he had not achieved anywhere enough in his career to be linked with such a role. He was being too hard on himself, particularly when the same role had been conducted by the likes of Steve McClaren.
Beginning in 2008, Howe has engaged in an 11-year love affair with the Cherries, punctuated by a brief spell as Sean Dyche’s predecessor as Burnley manager.
Eddie Howe is a decent coach but he’s not a manager. He’s not recruited right at all. Ibe, Smith and Solanke bought for nearly £40 million.
— Minamino FC (@OkSourcee) January 12, 2020
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