The reception among Bournemouth fans to Newcastle’s ongoing pursuit of former Cherries manager, Eddie Howe, is nothing short of inspiring.
While the social media feedback appears ambivalent on Tyneside the same cannot be said in Dorset, where Howe masterminded an incredible surge through the divisions.
In 2009, Howe was appointed manager with the team 10 points adrift in League 2. The team was given a points deduction at the start of that season for leaving administration without a company voluntary agreement (CVA).
It was the same season Luton Town were deducted 30 points, Rotherham United deducted 17 points and Darlington 10 points but that shouldn’t detract from Bournemouth’s achievements.
Survival was sought with a game remaining and one year later, the team was promoted to League One as runners-up.
The fight back continued though Howe left Bournemouth after an initial 100-game stint to take up the Burnley job in 2011. “Personal reasons” was cited for leaving one year later and he was appointed Bournemouth manager for the second time not too long afterwards.
Within three years the team were promoted to the Championship and, having secured the Championship title in 2014/15, made the Premier League ahead of the 2015/16 season.
Howe’s side competed in the division for five seasons – the club finished 9th on one occasion, matching Newcastle’s 44 points in 2017/18 – before relegation in 2019/20 ended his spell on a dampening note.
Bournemouth fan podcast ‘Back of the Net’ hosted a show this morning dispelling some of the myths that appear to have been created, perhaps by the national press but also blindingly by some Newcastle fans who lean more sceptically regarding the appointment.
Contributor Jeff Hayward believed that managing in the Premier League “so successfully” has given Howe “a hard edge.”
He added: “All the players we’ve ever spoken to say he’s a hard task master, absolutely obsessed with the detail of players and their games and how they can improve.
“He’s an obsessive character, not a yes man, and he’s a strong character. He was the driving force behind wanting to leave a physical tangible legacy at AFC Bournemouth with the training ground that is currently in limbo.
“You can see the legacy that he’s left with the team with the team that he bought at the time.
“There are so many players you’re looking at like now thinking ‘well their value hasn’t gone down, you know they’ve only gone up’ and there are some players that we bought for relative peanuts at the time that you know would be going for a lot of money.
“On the pitch he can certainly create a legacy in that way, can’t he?”
One concern that Neil Dawson wanted to brush aside was that because Steve Bruce’s Newcastle beat Howe’s Bournemouth so convincingly in 2020 (a 4-1 win), this could underwhelm some supporters who want a tangible upgrade on Bruce.
He said: “It’s nonsense to just look at one performance against one team. He’s got a track record of getting teams that are in the relegation zone out of the relegation zone.
“He did that in League 2, he effectively did that in League 1… we were in the relegation zone before we got promoted in the same season.
“I’m not saying Newcastle are destined for the Champions League,” Dawson continued, “But there will be a difference though between doing that in League 1 and League 2 and doing it in the Premier League though.
“Their winnable games are coming up very very quickly then they enter a run that is horrendous for any club.”
One thing everyone agreed one was the demand for an attractive style of play which Howe can provide.
Hayward added: “Anyone who’s ever managed at Newcastle will know that you’ve got to give the fans the football that they like.
“They’re a club with that culture of, seeing their teams play exciting football. They want to see their teams playing with passion further excitement, that’s the whole mentality.
“They’re nuts for it up there and it’s a style of football. You cannot go in there and just win games 1-0. You’ve got to go up there and win games playing an exciting brand of football.
“And I think Eddie as an entertainer will fit that mould quite well.”
It remains to be seen if Howe is confirmed as Newcastle manager in the meantime, though current interim head coach Graeme Jones has confirmed this afternoon that he is managing the game against Brighton tomorrow.