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AFC Bournemouth: Eddie Howe lauds Eddie Mitchell for his drive and vision
Howe has worked under Mitchell’s chairmanship during his two spells in the hot-seat, the pair both having played a pivotal part in putting the club on the road to success.
Mitchell gained a controlling interest in the club in June 2009 – just weeks after Howe had performed a footballing miracle by preserving Cherries’ Football League status.
Then, against a backdrop of financial uncertainty, Howe overcame the odds by leading them to promotion from League Two in Mitchell’s first year at the helm.
Howe left Cherries in third place in League One when he moved to Burnley in January 2011 before returning last season to steer them from the relegation zone to the Championship.
And while the management and players have deservedly taken the credit for Cherries’ on-pitch achievements, Howe has always been quick to praise the crucial roles played by Mitchell and Maxim Demin.
Giving his first interview since Mitchell announced he had stepped down as chairman and sold the family shareholding to Demin, Howe told the Daily Echo: “I was surprised at his decision, as everyone else was.
“Eddie deserves huge credit for the job he has done and for how far the club has progressed under his stewardship. Together with Max, they have transformed it. Eddie is a very driven man and passionate about the football club. That has shown with all his decisions and how hard he has worked.
“The most important thing for the leader of a football club is the infrastructure and that has been the biggest change. A lot goes on behind the scenes that people don’t see. We have had a lot of success on the pitch but the transformation off the pitch has been enormous.
“You only have to look at the training ground, the stadium and the whole structure of the club. There has been a real innovation during his time here.
“He has always been determined to get all the little details right off the pitch and I think that has shown in the current structure we have at the club. It has been left in a very healthy position and, hopefully, we will move forward and go on to be even better.
“Eddie had a vision of how he wanted certain things implemented and deserves credit for channelling it in the right way because sometimes it is easy to just throw money at players.”
Speaking to the Daily Echo yesterday, Mitchell described his first meeting with Howe as “quite hilarious”. He added: “We had a stand-up argument for 10 minutes and were effing and blinding at each other. That was a good start!”
Howe said: “The situation we were both faced with was an incredibly difficult one at the time because the transfer embargo was set to be in place for the season. To go from those really tough times to the spell where we had finances to strengthen the squad was totally different. It all happened in such a short space of time and the transformation has been huge.
“Eddie always wants his staff to be driven and he won’t accept anybody not pulling their weight. I think every good leader has those traits and he certainly set the tone. He was always here first thing in the morning and would leave late at night and work on Sundays. That is what you have to do to get success. He was certainly a driving force behind the club and his hard work has paid off.”
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