WHY GAMBLER PITMAN’S SO GLAD THAT HE PICKED CHERRIES
BRETT Pitman gave up on the Championship to rejoin League One Bournemouth – but after six goals in as many games, his gamble looks like paying off.
Prolific in his first spell at Dean Court, the striker was snapped up by Bristol City for £1m in 2010. But despite scoring 20 goals in just 33 starts, the 25year-old became increasingly peripheral at Ashton Gate and was eventually loaned back to Bournemouth in November, one of Derek McInnes’ final acts as manager.
Ironically, the Robins then appointed Sean O’Driscoll, the man who discovered Pitman playing in his native Jersey.
By then, though, it was too late. Pitman had returned to Bournemouth and, with the Cherries set for promotion from League One and Bristol City bottom of the Championship, he now looks set to swap places with his former side.
“It’s a shame it didn’t work out,” he says. “But I don’t regret anything. If you look at my goalsto-games ratio, it’s pretty good.
“The overriding feeling from my time at Bristol is frustration. The only time I had a proper run in the team, I scored quite a lot of goals. I was actually the club’s top scorer in the two full seasons I was there – and that was without really playing much. In the third season, I didn’t really play at all.
“I don’t know if Derek McInnes didn’t fancy me. He liked to play one up front a lot and I’d have been happy to do it, but he obviously felt it didn’t suit me. It was obvious it was time to move on. But the good thing for me is, I know I can score goals in the Championship if we do go up. I’ve proved that at Bristol City.”
The last time Pitman was at Bournemouth, Eddie Howe was a rookie manager and the club was penniless, mired in administration. Now, Howe is older and wiser after 18 months at Burnley, while the club is booming thanks to investment from Russian businessman Maxim Demin.
“Oh, it’s a completely different club,” he says.“From the stadium and the car parks to the training facilities and pitches, everything’s better. It’s a club that’s definitely ready to go to the next level.
“It’s nice to know you’re going to get your money at the end of each month and know that you’ve got a chance of challenging at the right end of the table.”
Pitman also says Howe, whose return from Burnley in October sparked a rise from 20th place to second in the table, is a better manager for his Championship experience.
“He is different,” says Pitman.“I think he’s matured as a manager, and his man-management has really become his major strength. In his first stint here, he probably only had 13 or 14 players to look after, and that was on a good day.
“At Burnley, he was working with a big squad just out of the Premier League and he obviously had to adapt. Now that he’s back here, with 20-odd players, you can see how good he is at handling people.Whether you’re in the team, on the bench or not even in the 16, he treats you exactly the same.
“Eddie was the deciding factor in me coming here. He’s very organised, he knows what he wants. He keeps the lads on their toes motivation-wise, but without going over the top.
“And he wants to play football the right way. It’s really very simple. He want to get it down quick, get out wide and then put balls into the box. For a striker like me, it’s perfect.”
RIGHT CHOICE: Brett Pitman swapped Bristol City in the Championship for League One Bournemouth with boss Eddie Howe, inset.