After more than 450 games as manager across two spells in charge, Eddie Howe’s time at Bournemouth has come to an end.
After a five-year spell in the Premier League, Bournemouth were relegated on the final day of the season and this has caused the club and manager to bring to an end his time in charge by “mutual consent”.
It was a true fairy tale run for Howe, who took over at Bournemouth during his most recent spell in 2012, as he oversaw three promotions before this most recent failure.
Bournemouth were 23rd in League Two when Howe took over and he led them to three promotions in six seasons to get to the Premier League. But it hasn’t always been all fun and games at the Vitality Stadium.
Howe was heavily backed by part-owner Maxim Demin and that financial backing was a large reason why they were able to push through the leagues at such a fast rate. Even in the Premier League, Howe spent a lot of money improving the squad to make them capable of hanging around in the top division.
It worked for a while but recruitment has suffered in recent years and they’ve got closer and closer to the drop each season until they eventually went down this year.
Players like Jordon Ibe were signed for £15million with the idea that they would develop him with first team football. During this season, he featured just twice and left the club prior to the end of the season when his contract expired as he was deemed surplus to requirements. Dominic Solanke is another one, who was signed for £19million but scored just 3 goals in 32 league games this season and all of those were post lockdown.
While Howe is undoubtedly a legend at the club, the narrative that the club were relegated because of just players not performing is greatly exaggerated because of how well he’s done in the past. The reality of the situation is that he just wasn’t good enough anymore.
As much as the players didn’t perform and that is absolutely true, Howe failed to adapt to the more recent demands of the game. He didn’t work on getting Bournemouth to be more solid and continued to play an attacking style throughout his time, even when it was clear that it wasn’t working and something needed to change.
If Bournemouth are smart, they should look to bring in Chris Houghton as a replacement. He has experience in the Premier League and Championship, while also being capable of working on a tighter budget and fighting relegation as he did with Brighton.
Howe’s reputation among the media will likely see him land another Premier League job, where he will spend money and struggle once again unless he adapts his methods and ideologies.