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Eddie can be Dean Court 'special' one
THERE’S something special about Eddie Howe that makes me believe he can keep Cherries up.
Yes, he’s certainly ‘Mr Nice Guy’ and has no previous managerial experience.
That’s the main characteristic which makes me think Cherries’ caretaker-manager can, with the aid of a large dose of good luck, keep the ailing club alive and safely above the Football League trapdoor.
It gives me no joy in reminding readers that I seriously questioned Cherries’ wisdom in appointing Jimmy Quinn manager four months ago.
Only days after the former Northern Ireland international striker had taken over the Dean Court hot-seat, I wrote in this column I felt Quinn was probably a Conference level manager, not a Football League boss any more.
Of course, Quinn wasn’t helped by the crippling 17-point reduction handed out to the club by the Football League for breaching their financial rules.
Or by the strict financial restrictions that continue to be placed on the relegation-threatened League Two outfit.
However, a lot of Cherries fans had been calling for his head well before he finally left the Dorset club on New Year’s Eve because they didn’t like his style of football, and, sadly, my fears were proved right in the end.
So now Howe, 31, has been given a new broom to sweep through the club, and Cherries’ future lies in his inexperienced hands.
Cherries owners Alastair Saverimutto and Adam Murry have told Howe the manager’s job is his to lose.
But, like former Cherries cult hero Steve Fletcher said in yesterday’s Echo, I prefer to look at it that it is Howe’s job to gain.
Having grown up in Verwood, Howe joined Cherries at a very young age as an apprentice and so is an AFC Bournemouth man through-and-through who genuinely has their fans willing him on to success.
An England Under-21 international, a glittering career was beckoning following his move to Portsmouth as an accomplished central defender.
Cherries fans knew he was always going to leave the club because he was so good, so there were no hard feelings when he departed to Fratton Park.
I’ve no doubt Howe would have gone on to become a much admired and established Premiership/Championship player like his Cherries predecessor Matt Holland.
Agonisingly, he suffered dreadful ill luck, seeing his playing career cruelly cut down by injury shortly after moving away from Dean Court.
But Howe has shown steel by bouncing back from that major personal disappointment and successfully carved out a career on the first steps of the managerial ladder.
Now, he’s taken the next step. The big step.
Of course, being a great player is no guarantee you’ll be a top manager.
But if, like Howe, you treat all people with the respect that you would wish to receive yourself – like every manager should, whether an office manager, a football manager or whoever – I believe you reap your reward.
And I believe Howe will get that reward, and loyalty, from his players.
So there you go, the vibes I have about Howe in the Cherries hot-seat are all good, even if it is the second hardest managers’ job in the Football League after the one at Luton Town.
I can’t put my finger on exactly what I think is special about him, but let’s all hope he goes on to become one of England’s best young managers.
First by keeping Cherries in the Football League on a shoestring budget and against all the odds.
Then by going on to further revive the club’s playing fortunes so they can be mounting a promotion or play-off push to League One rather than continually facing the prospect of staring non-league football in the face.