There’s a reason why certain things have expiration dates printed on them because once it goes bad, it’s naturally not good for us to consume. The same should technically go for football and if this season is any indicator, there will be a change in the way managers are treated around the world.
How long that change will take to implement, only the world knows but if the tides sweep up just the right way then a change is certainly coming around the bend. Right in time for a new and young group of managers to lead the way and maybe even change the way football is played. The change is already afoot with the managerial age across Europe slowly plummeting and in England, it was supposed to be Eddie Howe leading that charge.
It still might be because there was always something about Eddie Howe from the moment, he became the youngest manager in the Football League at the age of 31. Now nearly eleven years on and Howe’s reputation has hit rock bottom despite everything he has done for the Cherries. The story is world known, with the 41-year-old taking the club from the depths of League Two and into the Premier League within the space of seven years.
And that’s why we’re here. Partly because of his accomplishments with the Cherries but mostly because he’s an English coach who broke the norm. An English coach who destroyed the stereotype of what English managers are by being smart, engaging and with peculiar attention to detail. Add that to the fact that the Cherries have been one of the most watchable teams over the last five years and you have a magical combination.
Simply saying they score more and run more than the sides that have gotten relegated since they got promoted is blasphemous. Because they’ve paved the way before everything went so dreadfully wrong over the last few years and it’s handed Howe the moniker of the bright one. But this season, he, and his band of misfits, has been anything but with them struggling to do anything in reality. Players once good have gone missing, injuries have ravaged the team and continue to do so but that has always been the case.
What has changed is the fact that no matter what Eddie Howe has done, it hasn’t worked because the Cherries have been through this before. Not once but thrice and all three times they survived in the end and yet things don’t look the same. It’s not because Howe has lost his magical touch or because of the catastrophic amount of injuries the club has suffered or even Callum Wilson’s missing shooting boots but because it’s the end.
So far, in England and Scotland alone, 30 managers have been sacked but the average tenure has been 612 days. Spain have sacked seven managers with Valverde and Marcelino spending well over 600 days in charge. The trend continues in Italy, Germany, and France with managers barely surviving beyond the 600 mark. That’s more or less around a season and a half but what’s even more shocking is the fact that at least six managers on that list of thirty in the UK spent more than a thousand days in charge.
That includes Mauricio Pochettino, Phil Parkinson, Danny Crowley, and Jim Bentley who are all managers who’ve transformed their sides in their own way. But exactly like Eddie Howe has watched happened to his side, they were forced to watch as their sides fell apart. AS their philosophies were questioned, their managerial nuance questioned and as their world slowly became less receptive to what they were offering.
Claudio Ranieri joins that group with his management technique now defunct and struggling to cope up with a serious change in tactics around the world. The sheer fact that it worked so fantastically well with Leicester City was because of timing. It all timed out perfect, Pearson getting sacked and Ranieri getting hired, N’Golo Kante being brought in, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy hit their best time as a partnership and so on.
Bournemouth hasn’t experienced the full force of it as of yet with only whispers of Eddie Howe’s ineligibility to coach a Premier League team floating about. But the way you look at it changes everything. Look at each Cherries’ incident as a lone figure and it means nothing, but smash them all together under the moniker of disfunction and it makes a little sense. Ryan Fraser’s lack of a new contract, the issues with goals, injuries and even their lack of a proper B team.
Plus, the fact that this fight against relegation has happened before under Howe’s tenure brings about more questions about him and why he hasn’t handled this much better. But that was always going to happen and Howe really cannot take that all upon himself, even though he will do just that, because that’s the reality of the world he lives in. Every coach has their half-life and the Bournemouth legend has just hit his which is why this has to be the end.
It’s not pretty and certainly not the way Eddie Howe would have imagined leaving his beloved Bournemouth but he has to follow David Wagner’s path. Much like Howe, Wagner could have stayed the entire season at Huddersfield but realized that he had to cut ties to save his career and his beloved Terriers. It proved to be the right move for the German, he’s now at Schalke, but Huddersfield was too late to save.
Bournemouth are not and the plummet from the “Bright one” to “just another English manager” hasn’t started for Howe. It will soon and it’s why his time at the Vitality has come to an unbecoming end and the time has come for his ambitions to flourish elsewhere. It will mean letting the Cherries face the possibility of relegation on their own but despite them being the youngest Premier League side at 97, they can manage.
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