By Ellen Farrell.
Howe has taken the once financially-troubled club from League Two to the riches of the top flight but the challenge now for Bournemouth will be keeping hold of the rising star.
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AFC Bournemouth’s 3-0 victory against Charlton Athletic confirmed their promotion to the Premier League as Championship winners and completed a remarkable transformation in fortunes, which has been masterminded by unassuming young manager Eddie Howe.
The 37-year-old is now getting the recognition he deserves and has become one of the most coveted manager outside the top flight, having already been linked with clubs such as West Ham and Newcastle. And now it’s only a matter of time before he is sharing the touchline with the star names of football management on the biggest stage.
He has guided Bournemouth to the Premier League for the first time in their 125-year history in a season which has seen them break numerous records, including their biggest league win after thrashing Birmingham 8-0 and League Cup run, along the way. Howe has received widespread acclaim for his achievements – he was recently named Football League Manager of the Decade, yet he has only been in management for six years. EPL champions Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho may be the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ but it’s Howe who really has worked wonders and in the words of Cherries chairman Jeff Mostyn he has “achieved the impossible”.
In 2009, Bournemouth were staring into the abyss on the brink of liquidation before Mostyn wrote a £100,000 cheque to save the club. Fast forward six years, and the Cherries are set to be rewarded with £130million for making it to the English top flight by becoming the 47th club to grace the Premier League. The south coast club’s 11,700-capacity Goldsands Stadium is the smallest in the Premier League history and will soon host the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, and contend with some of the best footballers in the world.
Former Bournemouth ace Howe began his miracle work when he took charge at Dean Court at the end of 2008. The club had begun the 2008-09 season on minus-17 points in League Two because of administration but avoided relegation in what was dubbed ‘The Great Escape’. Since then, Russian billionaire Maxim Demin has provided some much-needed financial stability after buying the club four years ago.
Howe has overseen three promotions in six seasons and admitted the club’s meteoric rise up the football league doesn’t seem real. He models his style of play on Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and has created an exciting and attractive footballing side that has won his men many admirers. But Howe dismisses claims from rival teams that they have bought their success. Their most expensive signing, top scorer Callum Wilson – who has netted 23 goals this season – cost them £3million from Coventry while midfielder Harry Arter was signed from non-league side Woking FC. Howe insists his men will get their chance at the top level and he will spend wisely next season.
Howe’s success is refreshing and the rising managerial talent will no doubt benefit from working in the Premier League. But the top flight will also be all the better for the presence of a talented young manager who can rival the best of them.
Read more from Ellen Farrell here.