ALTHOUGH the majority of Cherries supporters reckon they have never had it so good, the two Eddies hope it can get better.

Having overseen one of the most memorable periods in the club’s history, you sense neither chairman Mitchell nor manager Howe will be resting on his respective laurels.

While Howe’s thoughts probably turned to next season many months ago, confirmation of Cherries’ promotion last week will have further focused his mind.

He and Mitchell know the summer will bring its fair share of challenges, both on and off the pitch, with an intriguing close season on the horizon. They are challenges the pair will relish.

“There would be no point in carrying on if we didn’t think we could progress and get better,” said Howe. “We tell the players to strive to get better, so, as a club, we have to do the same.”

Force-fed a diet of false dawns down the years, Cherries followers have gorged on nothing but success during the Howe era and the feelgood factor is coursing through the club.

And while Mitchell is still to win over the hardened sceptics and conspiracy theorists, it has certainly been a lean time for his doubters and critics in recent months.

Howe said: “I didn’t know Eddie when he came in but I’m so thankful that he did come in, especially at a time when we were crying out for some stability from the top to feed down to the players.

“He doesn’t get involved in football matters and stays very much in the background but is a huge supporter to us, which is everything that I wanted.

“He is someone you can talk to and is very supportive. He understands the club and where we are in the football pyramid. He is trying to make good decisions for the benefit of the future of this football club. The fact that we have been as stable as we have ever been since I have been associated with the club is credit to him and, hopefully, he can lead us forward to better times.”

Howe’s charges have re-established home rule and Dean Court has again become a stronghold. This resounding victory over Port Vale ensured Cherries would finish the season with the club’s eighth best home record since it joined the Football League in 1923.

Under Howe’s astute stewardship, Cherries have dropped 28 out of 102 points at home. Put into context, they surrendered 20 in their first 12 games of last season before he arrived on the scene like Red Adair.

In-form Port Vale headed to Dorset boasting the third best away record in the division and were unbeaten in their past four visits to Dean Court. The Valiants had also gone six games without losing and were hoping to maintain their late push for the play-offs.

Ahead of kick off, some expectant travelling supporters joined the Cherries faithful in jubilant choruses of “We are going up”. If only they had known. Their chants should have added “in smoke”.

Vale were ruthlessly ripped apart as Cherries hit the fast-forward button and strutted their stuff during the second half as if they were already plying their trade in the league above.

“Home form in any campaign is absolutely crucial,” said Howe. “We need to make Dean Court a fortress next season, like we have this season. We don’t want teams to relish coming here and I think we have had that recently. I don’t think teams have fancied playing us here and, hopefully, we can reproduce that next season.”

While the first half had been tame in comparison, it was certainly not uneventful enough to have sent to sleep one wedding reveller in the executive boxes. However, the guest definitely chose the right 45 minutes to take a nap.

Before nodding off, the lady concerned may have seen Lewis Haldane strike the base of the post for Vale in the 10th minute. However, she probably missed Brett Pitman do likewise for Cherries on the half-hour and also an excellent save from Dan Thomas to deny Craig Davies a minute later.

Pitman’s stunning strike after 53 minutes should have acted as a wake-up call to the hapless Vale defence, with a well-worked corner routine again bearing fruit for Cherries. Instead, the visitors were anaesthetised.

Lively Liam Feeney saw a rasping effort flash past the post before Pitman headed over with the goal at his mercy. The reprieves were short-lived for Vale as Cherries substitute Alan Connell netted with an exquisite chip to double their lead after 76 minutes.

And after Connell had bundled home a third from close range and fellow sub Josh McQuoid had registered his maiden senior goal – both from Feeney’s assists – Cherries were home and dry.

“We had our backsides kicked,” lamented Vale boss Micky Adams. “If our back four had gone any deeper, they would have been playing behind our goalkeeper. I tried to get a message on that goal difference could be crucial next week but it obviously didn’t get through.”

With Cherries’ promotion anthem still probably ringing in his ears, former Southampton star Adams was magnanimous in defeat: “It’s fantastic for Bournemouth to be going to St Mary’s and places like that. We can only dream of things like that. They have done terrifically well.”

Adams knew the day had belonged to Cherries. Perhaps even the season as well.