HARRY Arter reckons Cherries’ leading lights have one man to thank for their transformation from underachievers to record breakers – manager Eddie Howe.
The midfielder, a key figure in Cherries’ rise from League One strugglers to a record-breaking 10th-placed finish in the Championship inside two years, has credited the returning boss with extracting the very best from the club’s burgeoning talent.
Arter, signed by Howe during his first stint in the Dean Court dugout, endured a chequered spell under the Cherries hot seat’s next two incumbents and was briefly loaned to Carlisle United by Lee Bradbury before struggling to stay out of the referee’s notebook on his return.
But having become one of many Cherries players to enjoy a renaissance on the back of Howe’s comeback, the 24-year-old playmaker argued the manager’s firm-but-fair approach had helped the squad realise their potential.
“Without being disrespectful towards the people in charge before, they didn’t get the best out of us and that was obvious to see,” said Arter.
“We still had basically the same squad when we got promoted and since then we have added some quality players. I think the lads have responded really well to the manager, he has got the best out of every single player.
“I can’t think of one who has gone backwards. Myself, I feel I have come on leaps and bounds and I’m sure the fans have noticed that with me and all of the players.
“He never lets us rest and you can see that in every game. Last season it would have been easy to congratulate ourselves on getting promoted when we weren’t expected to and we have seen a lot of teams with that mentality get relegated.
“When we played Nottingham Forest at the end of the season we supposedly had nothing to play for while they were pushing for the play-offs, but we were still the much hungrier team. The gaffer has built that steel in us and we all have a lot to thank him for.
“He makes it a good place to be, creates a really good team spirit and makes really good signings. He’s never brought in any big-time Charlies and he would never allow anyone to get to that point.
“Luckily for us we have never had anyone like that. He keeps us on our toes and just has something about him where players don’t want to cross the line.”