Howe’s return gives Bournemouth a much-needed boost
After the arrival of no-less than 10 summer signings, AFC Bournemouth could certainly be branded the League One Man City, but with three former players re-joining the Cherries’ ranks, there’s an undeniable feeling of remembrance surrounding the Goldsands Stadium at the moment.
Since Eddie Howe’s return home, the Cherries have gone 9 unbeaten, picking up 21 points from a possible 27, seeing them storm from relegation candidates to promotion hopefuls; a turnaround Harry Redknapp would be proud of.
Formerly under the management of Paul Groves and Sean Brooks, AFCB started the campaign terribly, picking up a single win from twelve games before Eddie Mitchell gave them the Adidas boot and showed the pair the wrong side of the dressing room doors.
But what’s changed?
King Eddie’s impact was instant, watching from the stands as the team thumped Leyton Orient under the eye of Dennis Rofe, and the lads have never looked back.
Even the most passionate of fans can’t quite put their finger on what Eddie’s done to change the club’s fortunes. Somehow he’s reinvigorated the form of winger Marc Pugh, and even convinced him to extend his contract despite interest from numerous Championship clubs.
With 24 goals from nine games, Howe’s boys have smashed in goals here there and everywhere, striking four past Tranmere in his first game in charge, ending their previous unbeaten league run, and the return of former stars Josh McQuoid and Brett Pitman have certainly re-created that Bournemouth buzz.
It’s not often that anyone in football takes the jump down a division, but Howe’s return from Burnley was sandwiched by McQuoid’s and Pitman’s moves from Millwall and Bristol City respectfully, and let’s not forget Asst. manager Jason Tindall (another former player!). The quartet join one of the biggest and best squads in the league, certainly if FIFA ratings are one to go by at least, and when your £800k record signing can only make the bench, things can’t be that bad.
Eddie Howe looks to be rebuilding his former squad that achieved so much in his previous era. An against the odds relegation survival battle, followed immediately by promotion to League One, and just a couple of years later, Howe’s legacy lives on as the Cherries look to dance into the Championship and follow in the footsteps of South Coast rivals Southampton.
With a millionaire owner, new state of the art training pitches, and the promise of the building of the fourth and final Dean Court stand, AFC Bournemouth are constructing a footballing framework to be proud of.
So what next for the Cherries?
Howe’s army can enjoy a break from league action this weekend, as they make the 716 mile-round trip to Carlisle for their FA Cup second round tie, hoping to emulate the 4-2 win they experienced at Brunton Park exactly a month ago today.
How much longer will the unbeaten run go on for? Will Eddie’s Cherries make the play-offs? The AFC Bournemouth tale could be one for the story books.