Eddie Howe

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What we love about Burnley

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Burnley is one of the truly inspirational stories of the Premier League.

Currently sitting 10th in the league table while the football world waits for the coronavirus to pass, the Clarets are a model for true steady growth. While they haven’t burst to the top like Leicester City has, the club is still a fascinating story

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While the history of the club is a story in and of itself, the Clarets are also currently a club to study, with both a chairman and manager who present positive ideals and embody the identity of the club itself.


Sean Dyche with his Premier League Manager of the Month award for February (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for Premier League)

Sean Dyche: The Burnley boss, the second-longest serving manager in the Premier League just 18 days behind Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe – the man he succeeded – is a model for consistency, mentality, and hard work. In fact, his rise to the managerial position itself is a perfect representation of what he brings to the club. After being unfairly sacked by Watford during an ownership change, he joined the England U-21 setup as a temporary backroom staff member, saying at the time of the ability to have a step back, “When you are in a job, sometimes you can get so into it that you forget what’s going on in the wider world. It’s nice to have a little window to go and reflect and look at others, share stories and practices and get a visual on it.”

That step back lasted three months. With Howe leaving for Bournemouth, he signed on at Burnley and has guided the club to steady growth ever since. His first full season saw Burnley record its best start to a league season in club history, and it was all uphill from there, promoted that same season with a second-place finish despite ridiculous financial constraints that saw the club spend just $500,000 on one player the previous summer, forcing Dyche to use just 23 players the entire campaign.

“The main thing you have to get right as a chairman is to pick the right manager,” said Burnley chairman Mike Garlick upon his hire. “If you do that you are halfway there at least. Sean has been key.” Words have rarely been more prophetic. Having just won the Premier League Manager of the Month award for February, it’s likely that Dyche will eventually leave for a bigger job, he has already given his all to this club and Burnley will forever remember what he brought to the team.

Home grown, working class mentality: The Clarets are the embodiment of the working class Premier League fans, a truly homegrown club. Take this quote from the chairman.

“I was born in the town, about 400 yards from the club. I went to school there, then went to uni and came to London to seek my Fortune. When I was 18 I told my dad I wanted to be chairman of Burnley one day. He said: ‘You must be bloody crackers son.’ It was a lifelong ambition to do this. I think one of the reasons we do so well is that myself and the other directors are all fairly local and we all really care. We are not there to pick up a wage. No director gets paid. You get a night in a hotel paid for but that’s it. I proudly state that I am the Premier League’s poorest owner. Everyone else is a billionaire, virtually. But I am proud of that and what we have achieved because we have had to sweat every asset both on and off the pitch to get the best from it.”

The club is truly local from the top down. And they don’t take anything for granted, not even the recent success and growth. When asked what it means to be established in the Premier League, Garlick said, “No such thing.” They are aware of the season-to-season volatility and the possibility that at any moment all the years of building could be torn down with one bad stretch of games. That’s truly the club of the working class.

Burnley chairman Mike Garlick alongside manager Sean Dyche (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

To rock bottom and back up: Burnley nearly didn’t make it out of the 1987 season alive. A founding member of the Football League in 1888, Burnley was relegated to the Fourth Division for the first time in club history in 1985, having suffered five relegations in a fifteen-year span. With newly-introduced promotion and relegation from the semi-pro ranks and the professional levels, it was thought that dropping out of the Fourth Division and into the Football Conference could be devastating for a club to the point where it could cause some to dissolve. With that in mind, after a horrid season that saw the club knocked out of both Cup competitions in the first round, only victory over Leyton Orient on the final day of the campaign plus a loss by Lincoln City saved the club from dropping out of the professional ranks altogether.

That game lives in club lore, as does support of the fanbase around that famous day. The listed attendance for the game is over 15,000 fans at Turf Moor, nearly 5,000 more than any other game that season and only the second time the club recorded a five-digit attendance figure for any league game.

After five more seasons in the Fourth Division, they would win the league and earn a promotion that would set off a period of growth still being experienced today.

James TarkowskiA player who could have left the club for a bigger job on multiple occasions, the 27-year-old defender continues to quietly prove himself one of the best in the Premier League. His best season was the 2017/18 campaign, earning himself a pair of caps for the England national team in pre-World Cup friendlies. This season, he is the fifth-best central defender in the Premier League according to WhoScored.com. Tarkowski makes his hay with a large workload of thankless defensive contributions, among the top 10 in the Premier League in both  clearances and blocks per game. A hard worker with little recognition, Tarkowski is another who embodies Burnley’s mentality under Dyche.

Burnley defender James Tarkowski during a February match against Bournemouth (Photo by Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

What we love about Bournemouth

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up it is Bournemouth.

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Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, we focus on a club living in its golden age: AFC Bournemouth.


Bournemouth
(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Eddie Howe, club legend: Bournemouth’s manager started with the club’s academy in 1994 and spent just a few short seasons away from home (Portsmouth and Swindon Town) during his playing career. He took the manager’s seat at age 31 and only left for a brief stint with Burnley. He’s overseen all of Bournemouth’s promotions from League Two to the Premier League, and has kept the club safe for four seasons into the 2019/20 relegation scrap. Once the cherubic upstart manager of a new Premier League club, the 42-year-old Howe is the second-longest serving manager in English football behind Wycombe Wanderers’ Gareth Ainsworth.

They are making the most of their golden age: Winning the Championship in 2014/15 was a major accomplishment, but the Cherries’ stubborn refusal to be relegated has allowed it to solidify the club’s future with five top-flight seasons of big Premier League money. While the Cherries are yet to climb above ninth in a given season and could certainly go down this season, they’ve built an incredible foundation that should keep them relevant for a long, long time.

Bournemouth
Steve Cook has played more times for Bournemouth than any player in its 121-year existenceW (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Club heroes still here: Callum Wilson joined the Cherries in 2014 from Coventry City for less than $5 million and scored 20 times in the promotion-winning season. Joshua King came from Blackburn a year later and has scored 48 times for the Cherries. Both players have been linked with moves to Premier League powers but have thusfar resisted transfers to sit second and sixth on the club’s all-time goal board. Ten of the club’s top 25 players in number of appearances are still in black and red stripes including the top two all-time: Steve Cook (329) and Simon Francis (324).

And some of them are checking in on those made vulnerable by the coronavirus: The Cherries care deeply about the fans who’ve made this journey through the ranks with them, and club leader Cook will be among those ringing up the Bournemouth faithful to make sure they are well and help them in their battles to maintain a positive spirit.

Sloppy Liverpool edge past Bournemouth

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Liverpool beat Bournemouth 2-1 at Anfield on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp‘s men recovered from an early setback to secure another victory and bounce back from a tough week.

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After losing at Watford last weekend to see their hopes of an unbeaten season end, Klopp’s side were also dumped out of the FA Cup by Chelsea in midweek and they fell behind early on to Callum Wilson’s controversial goal. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane both scored in quick succession in the first half to put Liverpool ahead and the rest of the game was a fairly tight encounter as Bournemouth kept battling and almost levelled late on.

Liverpool have now won 22-straight top-flight games at home, setting a new club and top-flight record, and they are 55 Premier League games unbeaten at home, stretching back to April 2017.

With the win they now need just three more victories from to secure their first-ever Premier League title and are 25 points clear atop the table. Bournemouth remain in the relegation zone on 27 points.


3 things we learned

1. VAR sets the precedent: There’s no doubt Callum Wilson pushed Joe Gomez in the build-up to Bournemouth’s early goal but the contact looked pretty natural and the referee waved play on. VAR intervened to check the call but didn’t think it was a clear and obvious error and that set the precedent for the rest of the game. Similar tussles were not called as fouls and whatever you think about Wilson not being penalized, there was consistency in the decisions. In the end it didn’t matter but Wilson’s goal was certainly controversial.

2. Ruthless Liverpool three wins away: It is fair to say Liverpool is limping over the line in their quest to win a first league title in 30 years. A lackluster display mimicked the atmosphere at Anfield as there as an air of expectancy now as everybody just wants to get the job done. Mane and Salah finished off their big chances and even though Liverpool were a little sloppy defensively, they ground out another one-goal win, their 14th of an amazing season.

3. Bournemouth cause their own problems: The Cherries did not play badly at all and had chances late on to grab a point at Anfield. It wouldn’t have been undeserved. Eddie Howe‘s side created their own problems on Saturday as Jack Simpson and Jefferson Lerma gave the ball away in the first half and they were punished. If Bournemouth keep playing like this they will drag themselves out of the relegation zone but the big problem is, they have a very tough schedule remaining.

Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah – A superb goal and wonderful trickery all game long, Salah stepped it up when Liverpool needed it. The Egyptian King has now scored 20 goals in all competitions in all three of his seasons as a Liverpool player. A special mention to Nathan Ake too, who was superb for Bournemouth.


Bournemouth got off to a perfect start as they stunned Anfield with an early goal. Wilson was involved in a tussle with Joe Gomez and play continued with Bournemouth attacking down the right and Jefferson Lerma crossed for Wilson to tap home.

VAR was used but it was deemed that Wilson’s push on Gomez wasn’t a clear and obvious error as Bournemouth were 1-0 up. Soon after they were almost 2-0 up as Nathan Ake towered above a crowd of players from a corner and his superb header was fortuitously pushed onto the bar by Adrian.

Liverpool’s first big chance of the game then arrived as Trent Alexander-Arnold played in Roberto Firmino and his powerful effort was well-saved by Aaron Ramsdale who stood tall. Soon after the game turned on its head.

Jack Simpson, who had come on to replace the injured Steve Cook moments earlier, was caught in possession and Salah kept his composure to equalize with a cheeky finish. Moments later Mane put Liverpool 2-1 up as Virgil Van Dijk found the Senegalese forward who finished calmly as Jurgen Klopp went wild on the sidelines.

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Bournemouth hung in there in the second half and almost levelled things up as Ryan Fraser got in over the top and lobbed the ball over Adrian but James Milner appeared from nowhere to hook the ball off the line superbly.

Adrian continued to look uncertain in goal as Bournemouth pushed for an equalizer, while at the other end Virgil van Dijk’s header was saved well by Ramsdale.

Mane then curled an audacious effort off the crossbar late on as Liverpool aimed to see out the game in style, with Roberto Firmino also firing an effort over the bar. Ake almost scored a late winner but was flagged offside as Liverpool held on with minimum fuss, in the end.

Watch Live: Liverpool v. Bournemouth

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Liverpool host Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as Jurgen Klopp’s men aim to get back on track after defeats to Watford, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid in recent weeks.

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The Reds are no longer unbeaten but they’re still 22 points clear atop the table and set to win the Premier League title in record time. So it’s not all doom and gloom for Klopp’s boys despite three away defeats on the spin in all competitions.

Bournemouth and Eddie Howe are desperate for points as they remain deep in the relegation battle and they have an extremely tough run of games to finish up the season with. The Cherries currently sit in the relegation zone on goal difference and when Bournemouth have played Liverpool over the years they have usually struggled, with Liverpool winning their last five games against Bournemouth by an aggregate score of 17-0.

In team news Liverpool are without injured goalkeeper Alisson so Adrian replaces him, while James Milner comes in at left back for Andy Robertson and Joe Gomez returns to center back.

Bournemouth make one change as Josh King is out with a hamstring injury and is replaced by Junior Stanislas.

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Watch Live: Bournemouth v. Sheffield United

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Bournemouth and Sheffield United will go ahead as planned at 9 a.m. ET Sunday despite Storm Ciara concerns causing the postponement of Man City-West Ham (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

A match that would’ve been pegged as a possible relegation bout before the season sees Sheffield United aiming for fifth place with a win.

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The Cherries open the day just two points clear of the drop zone and can climb 15th with a win thanks to Brighton’s Saturday draw with Watford.

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Blades record signing Sander Berge starts in an unchanged side for manager Chris Wilder, while Andrew Surman is the only change to Eddie Howe‘s XI.

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