Howe to take a break after leaving Bournemouth
Manager plans to spend time with family before returning Hughton among the early contenders to replace him
Eddie Howe plans to take a break from football after leaving Bournemouth, the club at which he spent 25 years as player and manager, on Saturday by mutual consent.
Although Crystal Palace are among those who admire his work and could eventually offer him a route back into the Premier League, Roy Hodgson signed a one-year contract in March and is planning for next season after another generally successful campaign in which his team beat Bournemouth twice.
Howe had one year left on his contract and, while it is unlikely that Bournemouth would have sacked their most successful manager, there were also concerns from their side over results during the past 18 months. They hope to move quickly in hiring a new manager and Chris Hughton, who masterminded Championship promotions at Newcastle United and Brighton, is among the early contenders.
Jason Tindall, Howe’s long-time assistant, has so far stayed and the club are hoping to avoid mass upheaval behind the scenes.
Howe has been managing continuously at Bournemouth and Burnley since he became the Football League’s youngest manager at the age of 31 and, although now only 42, has already taken charge of nearly 600 games.
Talks had been going on between Howe and Bournemouth, notably owner Max Demin and chief executive Neill Blake, since Thursday and it was eventually decided on Saturday that he would leave.
Although Howe had frequently cast doubt on his future over recent weeks, and may well have left even if Bournemouth had stayed up, his departure still surprised staff.
Howe aims “to enjoy some quality time with my family” – he has two young sons – but is expected to resume his managerial career when sufficiently recharged.
Although relegation with Bournemouth represents the first significant setback of his managerial career, his success in taking the club from 23rd in League Two to three promotions and then five seasons in the top flight represents an extraordinary body of work.
The Football Association rated him a future England manager in 2016 but backed away from hiring him over concerns that it would have been too early in his career.
Howe has since been in the frame for various jobs, including those at Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton and Southampton, but never looked seriously likely to leave Bournemouth.
Howe’s previous success in keeping Bournemouth up during four seasons in the Premier League had prompted questions as to whether he had realistically taken the club as far as he could, but he was enthused by plans to build a new stadium and training ground. It may be significant that both projects have since been paused and, while land for the training ground has been purchased and planning permission has been granted, he will be hugely disappointed to have left before that more concrete legacy has been realised.
Harry Redknapp, who managed Howe as a player and was the first manager to lead Bournemouth even into the second tier of English football, was shocked by his friend’s departure. “I felt sure he would look to get the club back up next season,” he said. “He took a club struggling in the third tier into the championship – which was a miracle – and then into the Premier, which I thought was impossible to do. Then for five years he had us playing incredible football, beating everybody at different times – it has been amazing.
“The stadium only holds 11,000 people, they had no right to get in the Premier League. For 100 years they were never out of division three or four.
“No disrespect but it would be like Rochdale, or clubs like that, coming into the Premier League. It has been incredible.
“It will not be an easy job to follow him.”
Rest period: Eddie Howe wants to recharge his batteries and spend time with his young family after taking charge of nearly 600 games