CHALK and cheese or two peas in a pod?
While Richard Hughes describes Eddie Howe and Harry Redknapp as “completely different characters”, he also knows they have many similar traits.
“For a start, they are both terrible losers!” joked Hughes, as his managers past and present prepared to do battle at Dean Court tomorrow.
Signed by Redknapp from Cherries in June 2002, Hughes went on to realise his Premier League dream during nine eventful years at Portsmouth.
“Harry has an aura about him,” said Hughes. “When he is in the room, people take notice. He comes across as personable and bubbly but he is also very demanding and knows what he wants.
“When you play for him, you know exactly where you stand. There are no grey areas in terms of what he wants from his players and he is very good at cajoling it out of you.
“You want and need to impress him because he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. You know you have to perform because getting on the wrong side of him is not something you will benefit from.
“He is a good man-manager, a good listener and always has time for his players. Everything is geared towards a common goal – getting you to produce.
“He is very much a people’s person in that he wants you to be at your best. He understands his players tactically and leaves you in no uncertain terms what your role brings to the team.
“He would never ask a player to do something they couldn’t and it was a case of square pegs in square holes. It might seem simple but there are plenty of managers who don’t operate like that.”
Inherited by Howe after being persuaded out of retirement by Paul Groves in July 2012, Hughes has been equally impressed by his close friend’s management style.
“Eddie is so detailed in his thinking and nothing is left to chance,” added Hughes.
“His preparation is meticulous, his organisational skills second to none and his training original and diverse.
“He wants players to think for themselves because he knows they will have to on the pitch. One of his greatest strengths is developing and improving players. What sets him apart from others is his ability to get his message across simply and efficiently.
“Everything in training is geared to the next match and I see things develop in games which I have seen put in place on the training ground. That isn’t something I have experienced too often in my 15 years as a pro. Your teaching has to be good and so do your ideas.”
Hughes continued: “They both hate losing and deal with it differently. As a team-mate, Eddie was always a terrible loser and would dwell on it for days.
“He was always very hard on himself, which is an admirable trait. He didn’t think about what others could have done better, he just thought about what he could have done better.
“He has taken that on as a manager and takes defeats very hard. He wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again and that is why he has been successful. He may appear quiet but that is how he comes up with solutions and ideas. He is very quick at finding solutions.
“Harry tended to deal with things differently. He didn’t go as far as to chuck things around the changing room but he would raise his voice. I have seen him very angry. He gets things out of his system, says what he thinks and won’t keep anything to himself.
“It has the same effect because you don’t want to fail the next time. You don’t want to see that vision of him raging and will do everything in your power to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“It has been a fantastic experience to play under both.
They are two completely different characters but both very successful. It has been an invaluable experience in learning so many different traits.
“It is no surprise they are both AFC Bournemouth legends – and worthy ones at that.”