WINNING has helped Eddie Howe cope with his biggest loss – the untimely death of his mother.

Three years ago today, Howe’s world fell apart when his mum Anne passed away suddenly following a short illness.

At the time, Howe was living some 250 miles away in Manchester, having left Dean Court in January 2011 to manage Burnley.

Raised by their mum in Verwood, Howe and brother Steve Lovell both started their respective playing careers as teenagers with Cherries in the 1990s.

Anne would divide her time between making trips to Scotland – where Lovell went on to make his name – and travelling the length and breadth of England to watch Howe in action for Cherries.

When Howe took over as Cherries manager in January 2009 and signed Lovell some 18 months later, Anne was the proudest mum in the house at Dean Court.

Following his return to Cherries in October 2012, Howe made no secret of the fact his mother’s death had been partly behind his decision, with her loss leading to him taking stock of his own life.

He told the Daily Echo: “My mum’s death certainly changed my perspective on a lot of things – on life, my career and everything. When something like that happens, it makes you re-evaluate and realise what’s really important.

“It was incredibly difficult to deal with and still is. When you lose someone you love so suddenly, it is very hard to take. But when you can’t grieve properly because you are so far away and detached, it is even harder to deal with.

“That is why coming back to this area and to this football club was a real comfort to me. It certainly had a big impact in my personal life and made me a lot happier off the pitch. I was closer to people who had been affected and could also help them.

“There were two totally different sides to coming back – the football part and the family side. They are totally different and there were more reasons to me coming back than I could ever talk about publicly.”

Howe spoke about how his mother had played a vital role in encouraging both him and Steve during their formative years – including going in goal when they would have a kickabout in the local park!

“She was a mum to five kids but, suddenly, found the two youngest boys were quite talented at football,” he added. “With no male figure in our lives to decide what we should do, she had to take that role and make decisions that would shape our careers.

“For any parent with no idea of how the football world works, it can be difficult to guide your kids in the right way as there are many pitfalls. But she did what she thought was right and, with very limited financial strength, she enabled us to start our careers.

“She would spend hours at local parks for me and Steve and would always give us the chance to play and practise. She never put any pressure on us which can be the common problem in which relationships break down.

“Genetics, of course, play a big part in your character as you develop into an adult. But I believe your personality is also formed in the early years of your life and your parents play a huge role in how you develop that personality.

“My mum instilled in me the values of working hard and making sure you always give your best. I am very fortunate to have had that discipline she instilled in me from an early age.”

Since returning to Dorset, Howe has presided over promotion to League One, while Cherries currently top the Championship and are on course to have the best season in the club’s history.

“The pain of losing someone you love is difficult to deal with and my way of dealing with it has been to work even harder,” added Howe.

“After her death, I vowed to myself to do everything I could to be successful in her memory. She sacrificed so much for me and Steve that I wanted that to be remembered by achieving something meaningful with our careers.”