Eddie Howe recently made the decision to return to the Cherries after a 23 month absence, despite dropping a league in the process. He cited ‘family reasons’ as an explanation for his return, but is this ‘dream come true’ for the Dean Court faithful going to last?
Howe’s performance with non-existent resources first time around with the club was nothing short of miraculous, saving the club from relegation from the Football League despite a 17 point deduction and then battling to automatic promotion a season later. He then went on to take the Cherries to the top of the League One table for the start of the 2010-11 season only to be snapped up by Burnley FC because of his obvious managerial talent.
His time with Burnley FC, while not a bad performance, was surely not what the Turf Moor club were hoping for after the display he gave on the south coast. He failed to turn transfers into results with Junior Stanislas, Danny Ings and Sam Vokes; all brought in with little effect on score sheets. He was however not forced out, in fact the board were “surprised and disappointed” to see Howe leave.
Now he returns to the “one club [Howe] would contemplate leaving Burnley for.” Going back to a former club is a decision historically wrought with failure (see Kenny Dalglish, Kevin Keegan), however this worry never crossed the fans minds, nor should it have. Howe has an ability to create morale where there is none; the club sprung into life on his arrival. The team hasn’t lost since Howe’s rejoining of the club, and even toppled the seemingly unbeatable Tranmere.
Therein lies the reason why his future remains uncertain, he continues to display his prodigious talent in a way he couldn’t with Burnley. It seems inevitable that he will attract the attention of bigger clubs with bigger bank balances, but the question remains of whether he will stay at his boyhood club or make another move onward and upward. He, as always, seems fully committed to the club and happy about the way the club is moving forward. But with a shortage of outstanding managers throughout the football league, futures are always doubtful.