PAUL Groves had already been tried, cross-examined and found guilty – even before he was confirmed as Cherries’ new manager yesterday.

And the charges? Well, nobody seems particularly clear on that one.

With the Dean Court faithful playing judge, jury and executioner, Groves has looked doomed right from the moment he took the temporary reins.

Labelled the “cheap” option by a section of the supporters, Groves apparently isn’t a big enough name for a club with money to spend.

But as Eddie Howe proved: Sometimes the cheap option pays dividends.

Certainly Groves’s managerial record is nothing to get excited about – a woeful win percentage of just 23.3 per cent while manager of Grimsby was followed by a double relegation while working under Avram Grant at Portsmouth and West Ham United.

But his time in caretaker charge at Cherries has been far too brief for supporters to make a clear judgement.

He has inherited a squad from Bradbury. Within that squad, there are examples of poor discipline, some well publicised.

Groves’s priority will be trying to recreate the ‘as one’ mentality of the Howe era and, in a squad seemingly full of cliques, the new boss faces a daunting task.

He has already made a small impact on the field, with the performances under his temporary tenure slightly easier on the eye than those served up by Bradbury.

His interview yesterday smacked of confidence and a steely determination to prove his doubters wrong.

But, deep down, Groves knows he will have to win over the supporters still smarting following a season of under-achievement. That will be his biggest challenge yet.

If he succeeds, Eddie Mitchell could be afforded a wry smile. If he fails, Mitchell could be left facing a big challenge of his own.