At 9 pm on Saturday 1st August 2020, AFC Bournemouth shocked their fanbase, their players and staff by announcing the news that Eddie Howe had left the club by mutual consent.
Six days had passed since the club had beaten Everton 3-1 on the final day of the Premier League season, however, the Cherries had still lost their Premier League status, relegated by just a single point to the Championship.
Immediately after the full-time whistle, Howe declared that he needed “to speak to the owner and the board of directors and see where we go from here. We need to have a strong vision of the future.”
AFC Bournemouth captain Steve Cook was quick to declare his backing for Howe stating that “there’s no other person I can see and would want to guide us back to the Premier League.”
As the week progressed, those close to the club believed that Howe would stay at Dean Court and when AFC Bournemouth owner Maxim Demin made a rate statement, declaring his commitment to AFC Bournemouth and a desire to get the Cherries back to the top flight of English football, everything looked like it was pointing in the direction of Eddie Howe remaining as AFC Bournemouth manager.
— Alex Crook ⚽️🎙 (@alex_crook) August 1, 2020
🍒 Driving home from working on the #FACupFinal, I’ve had to pull in at the services to digest the Eddie Howe news. Honestly speechless. Never saw it coming. I’ll be honest, I was almost certain he’d stay, and have been telling everyone as much. #afcb #EddieHowe
— Kris Temple (@kristemple) August 1, 2020
Still trying to process the news. Didn't really see it coming. The longer time went on, the more I thought Eddie would stay. Most people I spoke to felt the same way.
— Peter Rutzler (@peterrutzler) August 2, 2020
Really sad to hear that Eddie Howe is leaving @afcbournemouth . Been photographing him for over 30 yrs and he’s always been so humble. The last five years was his dream and all the fan’s dreams came alive. He’s a total legend. Thanks for the memories Eddie. All the best #utciad pic.twitter.com/gXyACl5qq8
— Richard Crease (@RichardCrease) August 1, 2020
Should Howe have stayed?
But despite those in the media and around the club believing Howe would be staying, talks between Howe and the AFC Bournemouth resulted in Howe leaving the club.
Howe revealed in his open letter on AFC Bournemouth’s official website…
“After what has been an incredibly challenging few days and following extensive talks between myself and the club I can confirm that we have collectively come to the decision that it would be in the best interests of AFC Bournemouth for me to leave the club by mutual consent.”
Howe went on to add…
“It is difficult to put into words what Bournemouth means to me, both as a town and as a football club. 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.
“Our journey together over the past decade has quite simply been an incredible one and I feel immense pride at what we’ve achieved together in that time.
🍒 I understand only Eddie Howe has currently left @afcbournemouth. Assistant Jason Tindall due to stay on as caretaker boss in the immediate short-term. It’s also understood that the public news of Howe’s departure came as a shock even to the #AFCB players.
— Kris Temple (@kristemple) August 1, 2020
The search for a new manager now begins. Whoever steps foot into the dugout at Dean Court will find shoes that are impossible to fill, but they will inherit a young squad full of potential, hitting the new challenge of life in the Championship.
For the immediate short term, Jason Tindall will continue as caretaker manager. Tindall has worked as assistant boss at Dean Court under both Jimmy Quinn and Eddie Howe, but doesn’t offer that “new direction” that Howe alluded to in his open letter, which could indicate that Tindall and other members of his backroom team could also be set to depart over the coming weeks.
He wanted to write to everyone associated with the club in his own words.
Please read this letter from Eddie after the unbelievable journey we've all been on ❤️ 🖤 https://t.co/7ouQas89bH
— AFC Bournemouth (@afcbournemouth) August 1, 2020
The Vitality Stadium this morning… pic.twitter.com/MIosylMlfO
— Mark McAdam (@markmcadamtv) August 2, 2020
Thank you for everything gaffa🙏🏾🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/8vumcGFK8x
— Nathan Aké (@NathanAke) August 2, 2020
— Steve Cook (@SteveCook28) August 1, 2020
The man who believed in me and pushed me to be better every day, The man who gave me my dream of playing in the Premier League.
We achieved what many thought was impossible, What a journey!
Thank you for everything 🍒 pic.twitter.com/q0q6p9sGFE
— charlie daniels (@chazdaniels13) August 1, 2020
Absolutely shocked and gutted by the news … can’t thank him enough for giving me the opportunity to play in the premier league and for giving me the platform to grow as a person and as a player! I wish you all the best in the future gaffer 😕❤️ pic.twitter.com/Fx7u3uRBD2
— Chris Mepham (@c_meps) August 1, 2020
– My Team mate
– My Friend
– My boss
— Fletch (@SteveFletcher33) August 1, 2020
Forever thankful for everything you’ve done for me over the past 5 years Gaffer! You’ve helped me achieve my dreams and I’m proud to have played a part in an amazing journey for you! Some great memories that will never forget. Good luck on your next chapter ❤️🖤 pic.twitter.com/TGCzQ9g1Fe
— Callum Wilson (@CallumWilson) August 2, 2020
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Very shocked and saddened by the news. Gaffer was a great manager who pushed me everyday to become a better player and a great man who I am proud to of played under, you always believed in me at such a young age and I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me. I wish you all the best for the next chapter of your career.❤️
Thank you for everything gaffer❤️ pic.twitter.com/5uRAfyv35F
— N O (@NnamdiOfoborh4) August 2, 2020
Every young lads dream, their premier league debut. Thank you for giving me this moment and for the belief you’ve continually shown in me. I’ll be forever grateful. All the best gaffer ❤️🖤 pic.twitter.com/akttA2XjOd
— David Brooks (@DRBrooks15) August 2, 2020
Thankyou for all your hard work and giving me the opportunity to live my childhood dream. Good luck on your next chapter gaffer! 🔴⚫️ pic.twitter.com/gp5Ey42OHZ
— Lewis Cook (@lewiscook_) August 2, 2020
You brought me to this club, made me a better player and especially a better person! Gave me my break in the premier league and for this I cannot thank you enough! Gaffer 🍒❤️😢 pic.twitter.com/pGCSRTO1bb
— Aaron (@AaronRamsdale98) August 2, 2020
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From your first academy session, to your first game in charge in League 2, to the incredible journey to the Premier League and to handing me my professional debut. Been an absolute privilege to not only witness your journey, but to be a part of it. Thanks for everything gaffer!
Thank you to the gaffer for giving me the chance to achieve my dream and for improving me as both a player and a person.
Time now to use the disappointment of last season to fuel us for the next. Hopefully see you all down at the Vitality again soon.🤞🏼🍒 pic.twitter.com/arOhHVtqPZ
— Jack Stacey (@jackstacey_) August 3, 2020
I love you Eddie, it’s a shame the board didn’t have the vision to
make the club bigger and achieve training ground and buy back stadium.
I can’t imagine going to games without you as manager and I feel physically ill.
I’ve fallen out of love with football.
He’s not been sacked, he’s left the club. I firmly believe this was his decision and his alone, whether it was down to being drained, or not being given the considerations he wanted. Gutted.
Mutual consent implies the board agreed. They could have told him they were backing him and if he wanted to leave he had to resign.
Difficult to know how to read it, but:
“challenging few days and following extensive talks ” does not seem to me like a straightforward ‘I need a break’ type situation.
The new training facilities that didn’t happen.
The new stadium that didn’t happen.
Losing Nathan Ake from the squad.
Just a few of the possible reasons that are gonna be bandied about ……. but heck, facts don’t lie do they.
To be honest, I don’t blame Eddie one bit.
Class act as usual. No matter what the discussions were, whether asked to leave or wanted out or both his letter is exactly what I would have expected from him. – Join the conversation, click here.