10 years ago Bournemouth had just begun the new season in League Two with -17 points, which had been docked for financial problems. It was a dire position to be in and relegation out of the football league looked almost certain for the Cherries.
Just after Christmas, with the club struggling on and off the pitch, and many points between them and safety, Bournemouth brought in a new manager. The man they chose had been at the club as a player since 1995, before becoming a youth-team coach and then caretaker manager. Despite his two games as caretaker boss both ending with defeat, Eddie Howe was appointed as the permanent manager.
And it turned out to be the best decision by the board, with Howe bringing Bournemouth out of the relegation and into safety. And it was all uphill from there. The following season the Cherries earned promotion to League One despite having a transfer embargo. He took a job at Burnley soon after that, but returned to Bournemouth the following season.
Again, Howe helped the club earn promotion by finishing runners-up in League One. It only took two Championship seasons and Bournemouth were in the Premier League. It had taken the club just seven seasons to rise from the depths of League Two to the Premier League, and Eddie Howe had been there for most of the journey. Now that Arsene Wenger has left Arsenal, Howe is the current longest-serving manager in the Premier League, as well as the youngest. And like Wenger, the legacy he is building at the club could be felt for years.
With the money the club has made from three seasons in the PL, Bournemouth are looking to build a new stadium and training ground, and they have just broken their transfer record by bringing in Jefferson Lerma for £25m. Eddie Howe says he wants more, including a run in the FA Cup, and if they can maintain their PL status for a few more seasons they will be able to invest in more talent and new facilities that will only see them improve.
The TV money has come in at a perfect time for a club like Bournemouth. The money can make such a difference to the smaller clubs, whereas the bigger clubs already had financial power, so although it helps it isn’t a game changer the way it is for smaller clubs.
Bournemouth have done a great job of building a good team, instead of getting random star players so that the side looks good on paper. I think that’s one of the things that hurts most teams battling to survive in the PL. When you don’t have the financial support like a Man Utd or a Man City you need to be smart with your transfers. That is one of the reasons why, if Bournemouth keep slowly and smartly building their squad and don’t get carried away, they should have a great season again. And soon enough a new stadium will be waiting.