In the 2 years Eddie Howe has been manager at Dean Court, the AFC Bournemouth has undergone a remarkable transformation.
On New Years Eve 2008, a certain Jimmy Quinn was sent off to tend his garden, never to return. At the same time, the new owner, Adam Murry appointed Eddie Howe in temporary charge of first team matters, which saw the team suffer back to back away defeats against Darlington and Rotherham United, leaving the Cherries 10-points adrift of safety at the bottom of League Two, having started the season with a 17 point deduction and staring at life in the Conference.
Undaunted by the defeats, Eddie Howe was appointed as manager (full time) in time to take charge against table toppers Wycombe Wanderers, which also saw the return of Steve Fletcher to Dean Court from Crawley Town. A rousing performance saw the Cherries win 3-1, which heralded the start of the Greatest of great escapes to avoid the drop in to the Conference.
Inch by inch, AFC Bournemouth edged their way back towards safety, when finally their endeavours paid off. A remarkable 3-1 away against play-off chasing Exeter City saw the Cherries lift themselves out of the bottom 2 for the first time that season.
Work was still to be done though as Eddie's charges had to play relegation rivals Chester City and Grimsby Town in the final few matches to ensure survival. The Cherries turn out at the Deva Stadium turned the away match more in to a home match as the Cherries ran out 2-0 winners, leaving the final home match of the season against Grimsby Town to clinch safety in an emotional 2-1 win. Needless to say, Cherries hero, Steve Fletcher scored the goal that kept AFC Bournemouth in the Football League.
The following season saw Eddie Howe start his first full season in charge with a permanent transfer embargo imposed against the Club as the Football League tightened the screw against AFC Bournemouth, because of the dodgy finances surrounding the Club previously. Never the less, Eddie Howe, with the squad he had, managed to carve out a Club record of 8 wins from the opening 9 matches, which meant that the Cherries were 4-points clear at the top of League Two towards the end of September.
Many a time during the season, AFC Bournemouth were unable to field a full subs bench, and had to fill first team places with youth players being drafted in at the last minute. But still the Cherries continued to carve out results to remain in contention, despite a wobble where only 3 wins were gained out of 10 in a period spanning Christmas and New Year.
Dodgy patch over, and the Cherries got back to winning ways again with back to back away wins against Crewe Alexandra and Rotherham United, which paved the way for the promotion clinching win against Burton Albion on April 24th, 2010. Eddie Howe, had, against the odds shown what is possible on a minimal budget, a permanent transfer embargo, with a squad that was down to the bare bones on more than one occasion. A remarkable achievement by any standard in the modern game.
So to the current season, where the Cherries were not given a pray to survive life back in League One with so many 'big clubs' to face. An opening day defeat against Charlton Athletic seemed to point the way to how things were going to be …... but how wrong we were when the opening home match of the season saw Peterborough United demolished 5-1, with Brett Pitman netting a hat-trick in a 15 minute spell in the second half – a match which proved to be Pitman's last as he was sold to Bristol City in a deal said to be worth £500,000. Despite Pitman's departure, Howe plucked McQuoid out from no where to step in to the breech, which proved to be a master stroke as the youngster was an instant hit, scoring in the 3-0 away win against Tranmere Rovers a few days later.
McQuoid later went on to record back to back hat tricks, matching a club record, in games against Tranmere Rovers (FA Cup) and Walsall (League) before being sold to Millwall.
That sale knocked the Cherries for a couple of matches, but 3-successive wins at the start of 2011 saw the Cherries scoring goals freely again and knocking on the door of automatic promotion to the Championship …....... something we could never have dreamt possible 2 years ago when this fresh faced Eddie Howe was appointed manager.
With that, THANK YOU Eddie Howe for everything you've done for us during your tenure at Dean Court. Not only as a player, but most recently as a manager.
PL W D L F A G.D
League 2 2008/09 21 12 3 6 33 14 +16
League 2 2009/10 46 25 8 13 61 44 +17
League 1 2010/10 24 11 6 7 45 27 +18
Cups 9 3 1 5 13 18 – 5
Overall 100 51 18 31 152 103 +49
How many other managers have a win rate of 51% and do not loose 69& of the games they are in charge of?
THANK YOU EDDIE HOWE.