Daily Mail

Howe would be per­fect for United... if he wasn’t English

- MARTIN SA­MUEL CHIEF SPORTS WRITER Sports · Soccer · Premier League (England) · Manchester United F.C. · Bournemouth · A.F.C. Bournemouth · Morecambe F.C. · Wycombe Wanderers F.C. · Ron Atkinson · Manchester · West Ham United F.C. · West Bromwich Albion F.C. · Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. · Queens · Arsenal F.C. · Middlesbrough · Bolton Wanderers F.C. · Bristol Rovers F.C. · Sheffield Wednesday F.C. · Sheffield · Swindon Town F.C. · Swindon · José Mourinho · Chelsea F.C. · Roman Abramovich · Manchester City Football Club · Everton F.C. · Everton · Josep Guardiola · David Moyes · Real Madrid F.C. · Madrid · Mauricio Pochettino · Tottenham Hotspur Football Club · Eddie Howe · Eric Morecambe · Morecambe · Gareth Ainsworth · West Bromwich · Dave Sexton · Queens Park Rangers F.C. · George Graham · Millwall F.C. · Middlesbrough F.C. · Howard Kendall · Blackburn Rovers F.C. · Blackburn · Howard Wilkinson · Glenn Hoddle · Glenn Hoddle · Chelsea · Zinedine Zidane

IN THIS of all over­achiev­ing sea­sons, Jeff Mostyn knows he is get­ting lucky. As chair­man of Bournemout­h in any other era of English foot­ball, he would be look­ing for a new man­ager by now. Ed­die Howe would be long gone, tempted away by a big­ger club.

In­stead, he re­mains: the longest­serv­ing man­ager in the Premier League, and the third most en­dur­ing across four di­vi­sions. Only Jim Bentley at More­cambe and Gareth Ainsworth of Wy­combe have out­lasted Howe’s six years and 48 days at Bournemout­h, but the elite are never go­ing to come look­ing in the lower leagues for coach­ing tal­ent; not any more.

They used to search there and across the ranks of over-achievers in the top di­vi­sion, though, for a man­ager do­ing an im­pres­sive job in in­aus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances. Ron Atkin­son got the po­si­tion at Manch­ester United be­cause he came third, then fourth, with West Bromwich Al­bion. Dave Sex­ton, another United ap­point­ment, had nar­rowly missed out on the league ti­tle with Queens Park Rangers.

Ge­orge Gra­ham went to Arse­nal hav­ing won pro­mo­tion with Mill­wall. Bruce Rioch suc­ceeded him be­cause cred­itable spells with Mid­dles­brough, Mill­wall and Bolton counted for some­thing. As did Howard Ken­dall’s time at Black­burn Rovers; or Howard Wilkin­son’s re­build­ing of Sh­effield Wed­nes­day; or Glenn Hod­dle’s suc­cess with Swin­don.

Yet if Manch­ester United do tire of Jose Mour­inho at the end of this sea­son — and fail­ure to qual­ify for the Cham­pi­ons League has done for his two pre­de­ces­sors — would Howe (right) get so much as a cur­sory sec­ond glance? It hasn’t got him a sniff so far. Chelsea and Arse­nal re­placed their man­agers this sum­mer and he didn’t get a look-in. Chelsea haven’t ap­pointed an English man­ager since Ro­man Abramovich took over; the same with Sheik Man­sour and Manch­ester City. If Howe’s name is men­tioned it is in con­nec­tion with mid-ta­ble clubs, as a step­ping stone, to see if he could han­dle be­ing in a slightly more ad­van­ta­geous po­si­tion to now. Yet West Ham and Ever­ton both changed man­agers this sum­mer, and went for for­eign coaches with a rep­u­ta­tion for play­ing at­trac­tive foot­ball. An English coach with a sim­i­lar rep­u­ta­tion didn’t in­ter­est them. Howe would, in so many ways, be a per­fect fit at Manch­ester United. With­out doubt he im­proves play­ers — and he plays good foot­ball, fear­lessly, no mat­ter the op­po­si­tion.

Pep Guardi­ola says pri­vately that Howe is the English coach he most ad­mires, par­tic­u­larly his com­mit­ment to play­ing an at­tack­ing style and the way he sets out his team. Were it not for the fact that Manch­ester City’s foot­ball ex­ec­u­tives are Span­ish and their ap­point­ments, so far, have re­flected this, Howe would be a good choice to suc­ceed Guardi­ola one day.

Manch­ester United, mean­while, are more com­monly linked with Zine­dine Zi­dane. It makes sense. He’s a big name, they’re a big name, and the mod­ern game is like an episode of Ab­so­lutely

Fab­u­lous these days. Names,

names, names, Bub­ble dar­ling. Ed Wood­ward will make the call and he has a brand to pro­tect. United went with David Moyes be­fore, and it didn’t work out. Since then, mind, not much has, but at least if Mour­inho is ly­ing sev­enth he’s fa­mous. Win or lose, he dom­i­nates the news agenda. If Howe was in that po­si­tion would ev­ery con­ver­sa­tion be about him?

Howe has never han­dled a squad of world- class play­ers, runs one counter-ar­gu­ment, never played in the Cham­pi­ons League, never set out a team against Real Madrid. But how to get that ex­pe­ri­ence at Bournemout­h — even at Ever­ton? Isn’t what he is do­ing on the south coast ev­i­dence of trans­fer­able skills?

What if Howe was pre­cisely the type of brave soul to get Manch­ester United talked about the way they used to be? What if he could one day in­herit the Guardi­ola project at Manch­ester City, or what Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino has achieved at Tot­ten­ham, and con­tinue get­ting im­prove­ments from those play­ers? In just about ev­ery coun­try in Europe, Howe’s achieve­ment in elite com­pany would have led to ca­reer pro­mo­tion by now. Only here does he re­main Bournemout­h’s pri­vate trea­sure.

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