AFC Bournemouth Comment: Love him or hate him, Mitchell saved this football club (From Bournemouth Echo)
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AFC Bournemouth Comment: Love him or hate him, Mitchell saved this football club
EDDIE Mitchell was Cherries' very own Marmite Man.
While much of the club's now far healthier supporter base stuck by him through radio rants, on-pitch altercations, dressing room invasions and fans' forum faux pas, a large number remained scarred by his public relations disasters and a fair degree of pre-empted and unfounded opinion related to his other businesses.
When he appeared on Piers Morgan's '...On Sandbanks' programme in 2008, the former Daily Mirror editor described Mitchell as Dorset's answer to George Clooney. Five years on, bringing a football club back from the brink has taken its toll, although the glint in Mitchell's eye remains.
Regardless of personal feeling, no Cherries supporter should question Mitchell's impact on their beloved club.
As well as being the driving force behind stadium improvements, bringing back Eddie Howe and spearheading the club's push towards Championship football, Mitchell was also the reason Maxim Demin came on board.
It should also be noted that Mitchell turned away the advances of Convers Sports, the consortium which, having found their bid to buy Cherries given short shrift by Mitchell, jumped in the car and cruised along the M27 to purchase Portsmouth. Look what happened there.
He had his low points, of course. His radio interview with the BBC's Mark Chapman was an embarrassment. His on-pitch approach to the North Stand following a 3-0 defeat by Chesterfield in 2011 gained more unwanted headlines. His banning of the Echo six months later was ill-advised and caused more harm than the good he probably intended.
He appointed Paul Groves, a disaster, but he did so through loyalty - a trait that should not be mocked. He then realised his mistake and, along with Demin, pushed the proverbial boat out to bring back the one thing he knew would re-ignite the feelgood factor: Eddie Howe.
That is his greatest achievement among dozens of notable successes.
Mitchell, more philosophical and thoughtful than the brash building company boss many believe him to be, would say you never stop learning in life.
At the age of 59, Mitchell would have learned more about himself over the past four years than in his previous 55. He leaves the club in a stratospherically better position than when he arrived. He has done everything he set out to do. He can leave with his head held high.
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