Eddie Howe has left Bournemouth by mutual consent, the South Coast club have confirmed.
Howe, 42, has managed Bournemouth for over 450 games and led the Cherries from -17 points in the fourth tier in 2008 to the Premier League in 2014 but after a five-season stay in the PL, they were relegated on the final day of the 2019-20 season by one point.
The former Bournemouth player has been associated with the Cherries for a quarter of a decade and turned them into an attractive, exciting team to watch and he will be highly sought after by Premier League and Championship clubs.
In an open letter to fans detailing his decision, here’s some of what Eddie Howe had to say:
“Having spent a total of 25 years with the club as both a player and a manager this decision – made together with the club – is one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make. However, although the affection and love I have for this football club will always remain, we collectively feel that now is the right time for the club to go in a new direction,” Howe said.
“Bournemouth will always be in my heart, but I firmly believe that now is the right time for the club to have a change. I have always ensured that every decision I have ever made as manager has been in the best interests of the club and its supporters, and this is no different.”
Bournemouth chief executive Neil Blake had the following to say about Howe’s departure, as they will now have to oversee a huge overhaul as they try to bounce straight back to the Premier League.
“Eddie Howe is synonymous with this football club, both as a player and a manager, and that will never change. He is quite simply an AFC Bournemouth legend, having helped transform the identity and history of the club. Myself, our owner Maxim Demin and the board’s gratitude and appreciation for Eddie’s achievements cannot and will never be underestimated,” Blake said.
“A decision like this cannot be taken lightly, which is why this has been discussed together at length over the past few days. It is even harder given our close personal friendship. We wish Eddie well for whatever the future holds and hope he enjoys some much-deserved and well-earned time with his family.”
Howe is, and will always be, a Bournemouth legend for what he did for the club from 2008 to 2011 and 2012 to 2020. Taking them from the brink of extinction amid relegation and financial ruin in the fourth tier to the Premier League in such style was a sight to behold.
Bournemouth have punched above their weight in the Premier League despite being bankrolled by Russian owner Maxim Demin, and with Howe leaving it is now expected that Nathan Ake, Callum Wilson, David Brooks and others star players will follow him out of the door.
As for Howe, it is likely that Crystal Palace, West Ham, Newcastle United and several other Premier League clubs will be interested in hiring him. He has shown enough quality over the last decade to deserve another Premier League job but he will have to rebuild his reputation and may not land one of the top, top jobs he was previously lined up for.
What Howe and Bournemouth achieved over the last decade was legendary. One day there will be a statue of him outside the Vitality Stadium.