Eddie Howe

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Bournemouth’s Howe takes voluntary pay cut, first PL manager to do so

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Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is the first Premier League manager to take a pay cut due to the coronavirus suspension.

Howe joins Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake, first team technical director Richard Hughes, and assistant manager Jason Tindall in taking “significant, voluntary” pay cuts.

Howe is the longest-serving manager in the PL. He started with Bournemouth’s academy in 1994 and spent just a few short seasons away from home (Portsmouth and Swindon Town) during his playing career.

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The club has also furloughed employees throughout the organization. From a Bournemouth statement:

There is no script for moments like this. No tactics and no set plays to find a winning formula. But as a board we are continually looking at ways to ensure the future of the club and our employees is protected when the season returns.

We have also advised a number of staff across all areas of the club that they will be temporarily furloughed, as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

These measures have been taken to safeguard the financial stability of the club during what is such an uncertain period, not only in football but for businesses in all industries across the world.

Surely Howe won’t be the last during this uncertain time for clubs and businesses all over the world.

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.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

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
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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.

PL Sunday preview: Bournemouth travel to Sheffield United; City host West Ham

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures promise to have a wide-range of action, as a pair of top-six sides host a pair of bottom dwellers.

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Sheffield United vs. Bournemouth  — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

90 minutes against Bournemouth stands in the way from Sheffield United packing their bags and heading off to Dubai for a week-long winter break. 13 matches and a handful of wins also stands in the way from Sheffield United from qualifying for European competition next season.

The Blades, who are easily the healthiest side in the league, head into Sunday’s match with two thirds of a season for the ages: 36 points in 25 matches, one point behind fifth-place Tottenham – all on their first year back in the league.

Despite the European conversation around the Blades, the mythical 40-point mark remains the objective for Chris Wilder. Once there, they’ll take it one match at a time.

“Forty has always been a big number for a newly-promoted side,” he said leading up to Sunday’s bout. “After we get that it’ll always be about the next three points.”

Eddie Howe‘s Bournemouth, with two consecutive wins under their belts, could be in worse shape. The two-point cushion between (and the back-to-back wins) has been a morale boost for the side, which may be an x-factor on Sunday.

“I don’t think anything has necessarily changed,” Howe said. “We won the game against Brighton, it was a key game. It was a battling performance, a performance full of heart. Villa was a much-improved overall performance. The challenge now is to back it up.”

INJURIES: Sheffield United — OUT: None | Bournemouth — OUT: Danjuma (ankle), Brooks (ankle), Daniels (knee), Kelly (hamstring), Mepham (knee); SUSPENDED: Lerma (one match)

Manchester City vs. West Ham — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

You can’t talk Manchester City without brining up their 22-point deficit to leaders Liverpool. You just can’t. Not even Pep Guardiola was able to circumvent the conversation leading up to Sunday’s game against a depleted West Ham. 

“We cannot deny the gap is big,” he said. “We didn’t expect to be 22 points behind but it’s the reality. We have to accept it and learn from it.”

The question then becomes: Can Manchester City, without Raheem Sterling and all of its flaws, finish the season second best? Leicester City are currently only two points behind, while Chelsea have much ground to make up 10 points back.

It’s far too early to know the answer, but matches like Sunday’s at the Etihad, against inferior opponents, can’t be taken for granted. Guardiola and company have fallen for that too many times this season. They can’t afford to do so again, surely.

As expected, West Ham, who are desperately trying to get out of the relegation threat, are ready to leave it all out on the field, even if the odds stack against them. They have no choice.

“The ones coming up at the moment look much harder, but it’s where we are at the end of the season that will really count,” Irons manager David Moyes said ahead of Sunday’s clash.

INJURIES: Manchester City — OUT: Sané (knee), Sterling (hamstring); SUSPENDED: Zinchenko (one match) | West Ham — OUT: Felipe Anderson (back), Yarmolenko (thigh), Wilshere (hernia)

Howe: My fault things aren’t going well at Bournemouth

Eddie Howe reacts to Bournemouth loss
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There’s real trouble at Bournemouth, who’ve lost two of three-straight relegation six-pointers by a combined 7-0 score line.

The Cherries are in the Bottom Three, the pressure increasing on manager and seemingly untouchable club hero Eddie Howe following a 3-0 home loss to Watford on Sunday.

The home score line in a relegation six-pointer alone would be enough to crush most managers, but Howe has driven the Cherries from the lower leagues to Premier League regular status.

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That’s now in question, though, as Bournemouth is two points away from the safe places after allowing the Hornets to leapfrog them.

Howe is not shirking responsibility for the problems of the Vitality Stadium set, which is beset by injuries and ice-cold stars. Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser aren’t making much happen whether industrious or not.

Here’s Howe:

“I’m not going to blame anybody, we are trying to do the right thing just haven’t executed it very well. Confidence, nerves, it is such a key thing. We have been on a difficult run and this week key players have got injured. We had players playing that aren’t 100% fit. When you get a setback were not able to lift ourselves in the way we normally would.

“We are not looking free-scoring and when you concede a goal it seems a long way back. We need to focus on both disciplines. The manager always has to take responsibility when things aren’t going well. Instilling confidence back to the players is my job.”

There’s no time for low confidence; Bournemouth has Norwich City next, a match with a chance for the Cherries to keep at least one team in its rearview mirror.

PL Sunday Preview: Watford travel to Bournemouth; Aston Villa host City

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures won’t be the busiest of all, but it promises to have some drama as bottom-dwellers Bournemouth and Watford face off, while Manchester City travel to Villa Park.

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Bournemouth vs. Watford — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBCSN

It might be difficult to admit, but Nigel Pearson‘s arrival at Watford has done wonders for the club.

The Hornets secured 10 out of the possible 12 points during the festive period, putting the upwards-trending club two points within reach of escaping the drop zone. Throughout that same stretch of four matches, Pearson and company have outscored opponent’s eight goals to two.

The 56-year-old, who last coached Belgium’s Oud-Heverlee Leuven, is implementing an effective and pragmatic 4-2-3-1 system. But perhaps the reason behind the escape trick isn’t solely based on on-field adjustments, but on the emotional investment that the manager is putting forward.

“I’ve been asked a few times already about whether I had still got enthusiasm or the drive or whatever it is to continue to work, and those are the sorts of questions that I’ve asked myself for sure,” he said leading up to Sunday’s match.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we were capable of getting out of the situation that we’re in, but I can’t ask people to be committed if I’m not committed myself, so all those things are very important to me and I think this club has got a really strong identity and there’s potential for us to rediscover what we are as a football club.

“I do feel attached to being a part of that and trying to rediscover that.”

Eddie Howe‘s Bournemouth, on the other hand, are on the opposite site of the spectrum, falling instead of climbing up the table.

Ravaged by injuries, the Cherries picked up a sole point throughout the same span of four matches. Howe, desperate to animate his team (and supporters), is urging for Dean Court to get loud and hostile again – like in the past.

“Teams used to really fear coming here, a tight ground and a great atmosphere,” Howe said. “We now need that feeling back, which only we can create as a team.

“We’ve had good battles with Watford and I imagine this game will be tight again – our motivation levels have to be higher than theirs.”

INJURIES: Bournemouth — OUT: Danjuma (ankle), King (hamstring), Stacey (hamstring), Brooks (ankle), Daniels (knee) | Watford — OUT: Hughes (groin), Janmaat (knee), Cleverley (calf), Welbeck (hamstring), Femenía (hamstring) Prödl (calf)

Aston Villa vs. Manchester City — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Everything is moving at hyperspeed for Aston Villa, and they probably don’t want it that way.

Days after earning a laudable draw against Leicester City in the semi-final of the EFL Cup, Dean Smith and company host back-to-back champions Manchester City. It wasn’t too long ago that Villa lost Wesley and Tom Heaton to season-ending injuries, either.

Smith recognizes at what speed the challenging hurdles are coming at, but instead preaches for concentration from his players.

“We played the second-placed team in the cup and now we’re playing the team that are third and have won back-to-back titles,” the 48-year-old said. “They have a world-class coach and world-class players, they can afford to spend £50m on a right back, so we know the test.”

“They have had some off days this season – they got beat at Norwich and Wolves – so we must have belief in ourselves, as well as concentration.”

Fresh off a 3-1 victory over rivals Manchester United, the sense is that Manchester City are finally finding their groove again.

Pep Guardiola and his team may be out of contention for a third straight title, but they have a lot to prove with the EFL Cup and Champions League still up for grabs. In fact, Sunday’s match against Villa may well be a preview of the EFL Cup final.

“We have to play all the teams. Sometimes they’re at the top, sometimes in the middle, sometimes at the bottom. It’s a historic club,” Guardiola said prior to Sunday’s match. “They changed their last set-up in the last game. We’ll try to maintain the dynamic we have.”

INJURIES: Aston Villa — OUT: Davis (hamstring), Steer (achilles), Heaton (knee), Wesley (knee), McGinn (foot) | Manchester City OUT: Laporte (knee), Sané (knee) (knee)