Bournemouth journey from League Two to League One, and League One to the Premier League, it has been seven years now since ‘the cherries’ found themselves on minus 17 points at the bottom of the league two and mired in financial trouble with liquidation knocking on their door, however since then their elevation has been quite remarkable and unbelievable.
Doing the unthinkable in the lower leagues win them the promotion to the top flight for the first time in the 125 years history of the club, a team that could only boast of only a tiny 12,000 seater stadium or thereabout, with a squad of players who were deemed fewer qualities and outside bet for the playoffs en route their trajectory to the top, Howe and his team were able to defy the odds.
After Eddie Howe and his boys had done the impossible in promoting to the elite level of English football, thousands of fans spilled onto the Dean Court pitch after defeating Bolton to celebrate the triumph of the year with Eddie Howe and his team, among the thousands that celebrated with Howe’s Bournemouth was the former-three Lion’s striker Gary Lineker, who glowed in praises for Howe’s achievement and in awe of what the young gaffer had done, Lineker “wondered whether English football had possibly found the English special one”.
No two ways to it, the ‘Cherries’ have had an amazing rise from grass to grace, which is the ‘League Two to the ‘Premier League’ in a matter of few years with Eddie Howe in charge, having said this, it won’t be out of place to also talk a bit about the trajectory of the man Eddie Howe, the manager who masterminded Bournemouth’s promotion despite the financial hardship of the club.
Eddie Howe, started his life as every young kid out there who are at a crossroad of choosing a career that would go on to help them become an important person in the society, as for Howe he was in between choosing football or cricket, thankfully for young Howe who chooses football in the end, and it was a right decision made by the young lad born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.
As a young footballer, Eddie Howe started his football career as a central defender with the Cherries, played his first game in 1995, less than three years later, he played brilliantly for the Cherries, as such in the summer of 1998 he got a call up to play for the English U21 team in the Toulon Tournament, where he got to meet with a host of rising stars of English football such as former Liverpool duo of Jamie Carragher, Emile Heskey, and current Chelsea manager Frank Lampard.
Howe’s breathtaking performances in 2002 got him a move away from Bournemouth to Portsmouth under the renowned Harry Redknapp for a fee of around £400,000. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious career-threatening injury in his second game at the club, where he dislocated his knee cap and shifted a bone under his knee.
Thereafter, he then sustained a microfracture, sadly for Eddie Howe, his joint was never the same again, which brought about his early retirement from football, couple with the fact that the medical treatments he received then was below standard, so in his quest to correct the issues with his knee and get himself fit again, he went to America for treatment, thankfully he got his injury sorted out, but Howe was told he would never be the same again.
The aftermath of his injury, he lost some of his attributes as a central defender, which were his turning ability, jumping, and pace which were all evident in his game after the injury, importantly as a footballer a center defender jumping is extremely important, but in Howe’s case he lost that to injury which made him ended up jumping two feet lower than he had been jumping before the injury.
Having struggled with game time and fitness at Portsmouth, in 2004 with the Cherries in serious financial struggle, yet the fans still wanted their man back at the club, in their quest to bring him back they set up an “EddieShare’ account which did raise over £24, 000 to resign Howe, joining back in 2004 he managed to play for just three seasons more, before finally calling it quit in 2007, and in between 2006-07 he had already been preparing himself for a managerial position, and he ended up taking over the Cherrie’s reserve team.
Howe started his managerial career properly in 2008, when Jimmy Quinn was sacked, surprisingly he was been offered the caretaker manager’s job at the club, albeit you might want to question the fact that Howe wasn’t really ready and ripe for the job, but the Amersham born ended up taking the job and went on to achieved success.
Prior to his reign as the manager of Bournemouth, the Cherries were in an awful position financially in the league at that time, in fact, a year before he took over, the club almost went out of business and playing football, their situation was so pathetic that a team that was playing in the league one the season before we’re forced into administration.
All thanks to the collections from the club faithful which help them survive in 2008, and during this period they were ducked 10 points by the ‘Football League’ as such they were relegated to the league two that season with a debt of almost £4m, they almost couldn’t get to play in the league two, fortunately for them, they were able to navigate their way back in the league two with a massive 17 point deduction.
Eddie Howe & Bournemouth
Eddie Howe began his work as a manager whose team is lying deep in the bottom of the league in 91st out of 92 teams and seven-point from safety, in the top four divisions of English football, life in the lower tier started roughly for Howe’s Bournemouth as he ended up losing his first two matches as a caretaker manager, despite that the management was well pleased with the improvement in the team which ended up getting him the job permanently.
#Minus17. The story behind the dream… 💭
— AFC Bournemouth (@afcbournemouth) March 25, 2019
Before Howe took up the job as a caretaker manager of Bournemouth, he was told that if the club went down that season the club would cease to exist, despite seeing himself as not ripe enough to take up the job of Bournemouth, the club consortium Adam Murry did saw something great in him.
In the end, Howe ended up taking the Cherries out of the relegation water, their safety was confirmed in their final home match and followed up by another win away at Morecambe on the final day of the season, as Howe achieved the impossible which was tagged ‘The Great Escape’ of the season.
Fast forward to Eddie Howe’s full season in charge of the Cherries, they played in the league two again following their great escape the previous year, and surprisingly there was a huge improvement and turnaround from the struggles they were synonymous with, and they ended up finishing second place in the league and got promoted to the league one.
Having achieved the impossible with the Cherries, Howe left Bournemouth in 2011 to handle Championship side Burnley, albeit he didn’t stay long at the Turf Moore before returning back to Bournemouth to replaced Paul Groves, citing personal reasons for his departure, returning back to Bournemouth he secured promotion with them to the Championship as Bournemouth finished second, just one point behind Doncaster, the champions of the division.
Howe’s reign in the Championship ended up with their best ever position in the league with a 10th position finish, they continued with great form the following season in 2014-15 and secured promotion to the Premier League after beating Bolton Wanderers, then eventually won the league finishing with 90 points, an achievement which won him the ‘Manager Of The Decade’ at the Football League awards.
Howe’s Bournemouth promotion to the English topflight league was a huge achievement for a club of their size, as such people were of the opinion that staying up in the top flight would be quite difficult.
However, since they achieved the unimaginable, staying up in the league haven’t been very easy truly, as such as a matter of fact they’re currently swimming in the relegation water in the premier league. But then the question we should ask is, can Howe the god manager still perform the impossible in saving the Cherries from going down?
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.