I watched Bournemouth’s pre-season visit to the mighty Yeovil Town yesterday, and a fun evening was had by all.
Yeovil are trying to avoid a third consecutive relegation, but look no closer to figuring out how to score goals than they were in the previous two seasons. Bournemouth, meanwhile, were magnificent. It was their second choice midfield and attack, but, throughout the game, they upped and upped and upped the tempo, and it was quite exhilarating. They never put the ball in the air, and never stopped running. Distin looked silky smooth at the back next to Mings. The only player who looked out of place was Christian Atsu, who limped off in the first half — Chelsea may have bought a dud there.
But watching this Bournemouth team, you could see the clear articulation of Howe’s vision of what successful football looks like. Dynamic, exciting, creative, and maximising athletic potential.
However, like all promoted teams, the chances are, Bournemouth will go down. Maybe Callum Wilson scores enough goals to keep them up, but more likely he doesn’t. Harry Arter may have starred in the Championship, but more likely he gets bogged down at Premier League level. Either way, Bournemouth are going to be in a fight to avoid the drop, and at some stage of the season will flirt with the relegation zone.
Enter the most depressing and predictable event that will happen this season. The Bournemouth ownership become concerned that they may go down, missing out on another £50 million in TV money and being stuck with some expensive Premier League contracts. The Proper Football Men get on TV and say, while they admire Eddie Howe, he lacks experience at this level. And in the background, one Harry Redknapp emerges from his home in Sandbanks, addresses the TV cameras, and says he knee feels terrific. “Eddie’s done a brilliant job,” says ‘Arry, before noting that he’s managed in the Premier League for 20 years and never been relegated. Eddie Howe feels the pressure, the team tightens up, the dynamic football suffers, the results get worse, and enter ‘Arry as Bournemouth’s saviour.
Please Bournemouth, show you are better than most Premier League clubs, and stick with Eddie Howe through thick and thin this season. No manager could have done more with your club to get it to the Premier League, and there is no one better equipped to keep you in the league. Not even ‘Arry.