Sunday, 13 October 2019

Seven years on since Eddie and JT's return

Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall could celebrate an amazing seven years since their return to AFC Bournemouth on 12 October 2012, when the Cherries sat 21st in League One, and were about to watch as AFCB took on Leyton Orient, on 13 October 2012, under Dennis Rofe's stewardship. How things have moved on. These may be distant memories to some hard core fans when compared to the dizzy heights of the Premier League. Yet, AFCB's roots are very precious to fans and the manager who himself feels privileged just to be the Cherries manager.
Eddie Howe has had an amazing last seven years,
but what do the next seven years hold for him and AFCB?
Reading the article on the Bournemouth Echo yesterday, I was pleased to hear that Eddie also mentioned that he would not want fans to forget that he spent some 20 months at Burnley and that that period was so important for him to be where he is today. It is what I felt when writing 'Eddie Had A Dream', which by the way is published as an ebook on Monday! The chapter I wrote entitled 'Dressed in Claret' highlights the challenges Eddie had as a young manager in the Championship for the first time saddled with a club that had been in the Premier League but was in need of rebuilding. The period did not go so well for Eddie, but when he returned to Bournemouth, he had so much more knowledge of how a strong Championship team would need to operate. Working with players that had been in the Premier League will have given him more idea of the qualities he needed to find in players going forward.

The return to the Cherries worked like a dream and the players at Dean Court were a good mixture of newly signed players and some of the old guard, who had knowledge of how Eddie and Jason worked before, during the Minus 17 season and the promotion to League One. Players like Marc Pugh and Harry Arter would be the heartbeat of a new AFC Bournemouth that would now include Steve Cook, Tommy Elphick and Charlie Daniels. A team that would take League One by storm to finish second, behind Doncaster Rovers in 2013, and win promotion to the Championship for only the second time in the club's history.

Here is a short extract from 'Eddie Had A Dream' on the events of 12 October 2012.

'Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall strode out onto the pitch at Dean Court in their immaculate suits and thin black and navy-blue ties to rapturous applause. It must have been strange for the Leyton Orient away supporters looking on at the scenes. My feelings were just full of delight to see the managerial team smiling and waving in the sunshine, knowing that they would do their best for the club. It was a new beginning. I also believed that the players that were still at the club from when Howe and JT first managed at Bournemouth would be telling the newer players that they could achieve something special. Winning games was not guaranteed but everyone was in it together. The mood felt good and work would be fun, if hard for the players. But as fans we knew what we were getting – a man who would do everything he could to get some wins.'
Those memories seem like yesterday, but time has moved on so fast. I am one of those who like to remember every detail in trying to understand how Eddie Howe managed to build this club into the Premier League force that it has become today. It wasn't at all easy and there were some big defeats as well as wins, but the homecoming was like a whirlwind and it seems unbelievable that it happened. But happen it did, and while similar stories may be recounted by fans at AFC Wimbledon, Watford, Blackpool and Wigan, there are only a handful of clubs that have had a similar rise up the leagues. We should feel very proud of our management team for what they have achieved and celebrate with them what has been a fantastic last seven years.

To recall more of these memories and moments form the last 25 years, make sure you either an ebook copy of 'Eddie Had A Dream' which will be yours to keep from Monday 14 October, or wait until 21 October when the paperback version is released also on Amazon/Kindle.

To find the paperback book next week, just type Eddie Had A Dream into the search field on Amazon.

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