Eddie Howe's best managerial moments as Celtic links intensify
So, you’ll have heard the Eddie Howe to Celtic chat already.
The chorus of voices claiming that the ex-Bournemouth man is on the cusp of joining the Bhoys has become a cacophony. It’s no doubt exciting.
Football is a game about the here and now, though. There are plenty who doubt Eddie Howe’s suitability for the role, and that’s totally understandable. His storied managerial stint with Bournemouth ended in disappointment. You could use phrases like “managerial wilderness” if you so chose, since he’s been out of the game for the best part of year.
With that in mind, here are the key results in his career so far. Not only that, the stories behind them and what they meant.
It might not win you over – that’s not our job. But take a look at these and see if you’re sold on Howe by the end.
Burton Albion 0-2 Bournemouth: Eddie Howe’s escapology act complete
When Eddie Howe walked in to Bournemouth AFC as manager, it was a club in utter chaos. Taking over right at the start of 2009, his remit was to make the Cherries respectable, even if that was in defeat.
They’d been deducted 17 points by the FA [Guardian]. Not only that, the club had been placed under a transfer embargo. As jobs go, it took someone with either masochistic tendencies or incredibly loyalty to the club to walk into what looked like a no-win situation. For Howe, it was the latter, but we can’t rule the former out either.
Somehow (somehowe?), Bournemouth didn’t just survive, they stayed in League Two with matches to spare. An away win against Burton Albion put a wonderful end to an incredible underdog story. Goals from Brett Pitman and Alan Connell just didn’t save their league status [BBC].
They probably saved the club.
Bournemouth 8-0 Birmingham City: now we’re talking
We’ve skipped a little ahead here, so to catch you up: Eddie Howe managed to seal promotion to League One, resulting in major interest elsewhere. That speculation eventually told, and Howe went to Burnley in 2011. Long story short, it didn’t work out, with the English manager citing “personal reasons”.
Those personal reasons, it turns out, were incredibly important ones. With his extended family in the south of England, a family bereavement meant that if he could come home, he would. Bournemouth happily accepted that, and Howe began his second stint with the Cherries in October 2012.
Just some info there, for anyone who tells you “He went to Burnley and got homesick”. As ever, the Twitter nay-sayers are missing the actual meat of the story.
Howe picked up where he left off. In his first season back, he brought Bournemouth to the second tier of English football, finishing league runners-up in 12-13. Not two years later, the EFL named him as their “Manager of the Decade” [EFL].
The inexorable rise continued, and was exemplified by an absolute shellacking of Birmingham City. 8-0 was the final scoreline; the biggest win in Championship history, and Bournemouth’s biggest margin of victory since 1956. The Bournemouth Echo described it thusly:
“…The biggest sign that Cherries could be destined for promotion to the Premier League was the manner in which they despatched the opposition without altering a single thing.
“Nothing was overly fancy or rushed – Cherries simply used their usual patient, passing game to devastating effect, taking full advantage of an out-of-sorts City side who were made to look hopeless from the off.”
A first Premier League win: Eddie Howe sets down a marker
As a top-tier coach, Howe’s start was difficult, as could well be expected. Bournemouth didn’t blow anyone away early on, with losses to Aston Villa and Liverpool. If anything, those losses were creditable, given the gulf between the Cherries and the rest of the league. In terms of budget, Howe was working on just a fraction of the clubs around them.
A swift relegation was largely expected, but a shock 4-3 victory over West Ham put some of the doubters in their place.
Callum Wilson’s first top-flight hat-trick sealed a vital away win for the Cherries [BBC]. In an incredibly dramatic meeting, a match which went into half time at 2-0 ended up a seven-goal thriller. The possible future Celtic manager wasn’t getting carried away though. He told the BBC:
“The only disappointment at half-time was that we were not more than 2-0 up.
“We have been really heartened by the two previous games but when you don’t win then naturally the players will question whether we are doing the right things.”
The first of many top-6 skelpings for Eddie Howe: Bournemouth 2-1 Manchester United
Not long after that victory over West Ham United, a bigger name was taken down by the plucky south coasters.
Yes, these were the times when Manchester United were still reeling post-Fergie. However, by the time the Red Devils made their way to the Vitality Stadium, they sat within touching distance of the Premier League summit. This wasn’t a routine victory, by any means.
Junior Stanislas set the tone after two minutes, before a Marouane Fellaini effort put United level. Trusty Bournemouth man, Joshua King, had come through United’s Academy but made no room for sentiment, scoring a 54th-minute winner.
It was a result that Bournemouth needed for more than footballing reasons. Club legend Harry Arter had been through the impossibly awful trauma of a stillbirth just a few days prior. He convinced Howe that he was ready, and played nearly 90 minutes in a historic win for the side.
Howe could’ve just as easily told him no, and been credited either way. However, he managed to pull together a squad in the midst of a disaster, and pulled off something incredible. In perhaps his biggest test as a man-manager, he passed in admirable style.
Now, all that’s left to do is wait. If Howe comes to Celtic, he’ll have more than earned his chance after more than a decade of success.
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