Updated: Mar 28
Eddie Howe is an outstanding candidate for the Celtic Head Coach position and in my opinion any Head Coach position.
I will explain further in 7 reasons why I believe this to be the case.
Eddie Howe got a phone call on Hogmanay 2008 from the Bournemouth Chairman, Jeff Mostyn, for Eddie to take the Bournemouth Manager role on an interim basis. Eddie was youth coach at the time and having just turned 31 the month before Eddie was now the youngest Manager in the whole Football League. Eddie was appointed permanent Manager a few weeks later in January 2009.
Minus 17 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wov49A2R04&t=51s is a documentary on Bournemouth’s 2008/2009 season and well worth viewing.
At the time of Eddie’s appointment Bournemouth were 2nd bottom of League 2 with only 7 points after starting the season on minus 17 points due to going into administration. They had a transfer embargo so couldn’t sign anyone in their aim to avoid dropping into the Conference League and possibly going out of business.
Bournemouth ended that season with 46 points and avoided relegation to the Conference League and possible extinction as a team & club.
The following season (2009/2010) Bournemouth came 2nd and gained automatic promotion to League 1.
Such was Eddie Howe’s success and reputation Championship team Burnley came in for him and he finished just outside the play offs in 8th in the 2010/2011 season and 13th in season 2011/2012. The 2011/2012 was a difficult one for Howe personally as his mother died in the March of 2012.
Howe was then approached later in 2012 by Bournemouth to return and was offered more money than he was on at Burnley. His personal circumstances (dealing with the death of his mother) meant that this was the right club at the right time for him to make the change.
At this time Bournemouth getting to the Championship was discussed as an almost impossible dream. Bournemouth in the Championship was just unthinkable. However, in his first season returned (2012/2013) the dream was delivered, and Bournemouth gained automatic promotion to the Championship.
In 2013/2014 the aim would be as a lower budget team to remain in the Championship. Sustaining their position as a Championship team would be a great achievement. They finished 10th that year.
The 2014/2015 season saw them with the 5th highest wage budget in the league and therefore an opportunity to progress. However their wage budget was still only 58% of the top spending club. As ever they overperformed, punching above their weight to win the Championship title with 90pts and 98 goals.
In 2015 at the LMA Awards Eddie Howe was given the award of Manager of the Decade.
The 2015/2016 season in the English Premier League Bournemouth had a wage budget of £25m which was 20th out of 20. Not only that it was only 52% of the wage budget of the 17th biggest spending club. So avoiding regulation was a major challenge. This would also include competing against clubs at the top of the league with 10 times the wage budget of Bournemouth.
That year they avoided relegation by coming 16th.
The following year (2016/2017) Bournemouth had the 17th biggest wage budget at £34m but this was only £9m above the 20th biggest wage budget and was less than half of the £75m the 9th biggest wage budget.
That year Bournemouth achieved 9th and a fantastic top 10 English Premier League finish.
2017/2018 again with the 17th biggest wage budget they finished 12th.
In 2018/2019 Eddie Howe again maintained Bournemouth’s position as a Premier League team finishing 14th. By this time their wage budget were on parity with clubs expected to stay in the league.
In Bournemouth’s 5th season in the top league (2019/2020) they unfortunately had a few injury problems and the finished 18th with 34pts and 1pt behind 17th consigning them to relegation to the Championship.
Eddie Howe had taken Bournemouth from 2nd bottom of League 2 and facing relegation to the Conference League to 5 seasons in the English Premier League and a top 10 finish. An unprecedented and unbelievable performance from a very talented young coach.
Despite the unbelievable and unprecedented success Eddie Howe achieved as described in Part 1 which was endorsed by his Manager of the Decade award, Eddie is still seen by some as a rookie Manager.
Maybe because of his profile connected mostly just to one club but also because of his age. He’s still only 43. Compared to the average age of a Premier League Manager at 53.
Eddie is a very hungry and driven young man which is something I believe we need at Celtic as we look at the next phase of our journey.
A key student of the game he has spent time with many Managers all over the world and includes time with our very own Brendan Rodgers. He is an educated man and is always keen to learn more and more. He used to read the Financial Times and buy shares when he was 18 years old.
He starts work at 6.30am every day and is always working long days striving for that perfection for his teams.
On gaining promotion one of the Bournemouth players phoned Eddie Howe’s wife to say thank you for the sacrifices she does in allowing Eddie to spend all the time he does working for the team.
According to The Athletic in 2015 Liverpool had a short list of 3 candidates for their vacant Manager position. Klopp, Ancelotti and Howe.
In this clip Callum Wilson is asked to describe Eddie Howe in one word and his answer is “tactical” ….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoZN-hC8b-c. Exactly what we need.
Bournemouth Chairman Jeff Mostyn said he is “has an insatiable appetite for self development, to develop the team, he has a loyalty and commitment, he’s calm and collected and he just wants to develop the team in his own style”.
Not only is player development high on Eddie Howe’s agenda but so is self development and this will see him only get better and better.
When he first took over Bournemouth the club had a transfer embargo and he couldn’t sign anyone. He didn’t even have a coaching team at that time. Then as they progressed through the leagues they were up against clubs with bigger budgets.
Eddie Howe didn’t moan about player budgets and he was happy to work with the budgets he had.
He openly talks about how he was happy to work with the budgetary constraints imposed upon him.
Many Managers would struggle at Celtic to work with a lower budget while at the same time having high demands set on them. Eddie Howe would be a good fit for us in this aspect of the role.
There seems to be a recent narrative about Eddie Howe and bad expensive signings but this Bournemouth Podcast (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF2g-2Fr_YI) blows that reputation away as they look at every single signing and it is clear that Howe has generated income by developing players. In their review the guys were doing so from a very critical eye and they had only a few signings that could be criticised with quite a few that were viewed as God like signings.
Remember he was making these signings from a position of being up against stronger teams with a bigger budget so there was also going to be an element of high risk/reward in there. Some of the signings regarded as poor didn't actually cost him a high transfer fee.
Some transfers to note;
- Jordan Ibe bought for £16.2m and given a free transfer
- Max Gradel bought for £9m and sold for £1.8m
- Brad Smith bought for £3.24m and given a free transfer
- Lewis Grabban bought for £8.42m and sold for £6.12m
- Glenn Murray bought for £4.86m and sold for £3.15m
- Benik Afobe bought for £11.97m and sold for £10.26m
- Lee Tomlin bought for £3.87 and sold for £3.15m
- Lys Mousset bought for £5.85m and sold for £10m
- Joshua King got on a free and sold for £6m
- Tyrone Mings bought for £10.17m and sold for £20.07m
- Matt Ritchie bought for £0.5m and sold for £10.8m
- Callum Wilson bought for £3.33m and sold for £20.03m
- Aaron Ramsdale bought for £0.5m and sold for £18.5m
- Nathan Ake bought for £20.52m and sold for £40.77m
A profit of £21.39m on the above players.
Market value of Eddie Howe's teams (according to TransferMarkt.co.uk);
- 2008/2009 in League 2. £2.4m which was 15th. (Team finished 21st avoiding relegation).
- 2009/2010 in League 2. £1.6m which was 16th. (Team finished 2nd gaining automatic promotion).
- 2010/2011 in Championship (with Burnley). £35m which was 8th. (Team finished 8th).
- 2011/2012 in Championship (with Burnley). £29m which was 11th. (Team finished 13th).
- 2012/2013 in League 1. £8m which was 6th. (Team finished 2nd gaining automatic promotion).
- 2013/2014 in Championship. £15m which was 18th. (Team finished 10th avoiding relegation).
- 2014/2015 in Championship. £19m which was 17th. (Team were Champions).
- 2015/2016 in English Premier. £66m which was 20th. (Team finished 16th).
- 2016/2017 in English Premier. £93m which was 19th. (Team finished 9th).
- 2017/2018 in English Premier. £104m which was 17th. (Team finished 12th).
- 2018/2019 in English Premier. £155m which was 15th. (Team finished 14th).
- 2019/2020 in English Premier. £280m which was 12th. (Team finished 18th).
The above should dispel any myths that Eddie Howe only achieved success with Bournemouth because he was bankrolled.
8 of the 12 seasons finishing higher than the Market Value position of his team. On the 3 that he didn't one was the first year when he took over in January with the team 2nd bottom, one was in 2011/2012 with Burnley which he was dealing with the death of his mother and the 2019/2020 season where he had a few key injuries to deal with.
Key highlights though are winning promotion in 2010, 2013 and 2015 with Market Value positions of 16th, 6th and 17th, staying in the English Premier League with a Market Value team that was 20th and achieving 9th in the English Premier League with a team with a Market Value of 19th.
Also as well as working within lower budgets working at Celtic brings high demands and Eddie Howe is used to this as he eludes to here ..... https://www.youtube.com/watch
v=bEaEpFu4Pow&t=174s .... on the demands of promotion from the Chairman.
It is not easy for Celtic playing in Scotland to attract Elite Managers and even if we do we struggle to match their ambition. As happened with Rodgers and he ultimately left when he knew the club weren’t going to buy the players he wanted. Apart from the fact Benetiz wouldn't be here long term no matter what if he came .... could you imagine him being happy with any financial restrictions in the future?
Eddie Howe is as good a Manager we could get that wouldn’t get frustrated working within the budgetary constraints we have or the high demands we have. This would also allow him to be here for the long term.
Being a Manager of Celtic for me is more than just tactics and player development it is also about how you conduct yourself.
Tommy Burns always springs to mind when you think of how a Celtic Manager should conduct himself.
Eddie Howe is a very humble, honest and nice guy and is that much so that some question his ability for a bigger job stating that he is too nice.
On Match of the Day 2 … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOMbu9mVbNs … he talks about taking the Positives out of any difficult or negative situation. He never throws any players under the bus and takes full responsibility for the team performance.
Listening to him here ……….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0Wr0tRckJo&t=66s he comes across as a very humble and honourable man.
He is a very loyal person (as per his dedication to Bournemouth) and he stated at the time the only club he would leave Burnley for was to go back to Bournemouth. If Eddie Howe came to Celtic he would be here for the long term and the only job he would leave us in the lurch for would be the England Manager role.
An example of the type of man he is when he was the first English Premier League Manager to take a pay cut as a result of COVID.
5) Attractive Football
At Celtic we pride ourselves on the attractive football we have seen over the years and as we build for the future it is imperative we have someone who will deliver football that will excite us.
Steve Clarke has been rumoured to be in the frame but his style of play is not that what we want. That might be a bit unfair on Steve Clarke as he has a tremendous coaching record and while his football has been pragmatic and to avoid defeat it doesn’t mean to say he couldn’t succeed with attacking football if given a chance.
However why take the risk when there is someone like Eddie Howe available? Howe’s football is all about attacking football and scoring more goals than they concede. This principle stayed with him through all his time and included his time in the English Premier League where a more defensive minded approached would have been accepted.
As can be seen here …. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tipZaYBpI5g ...... Harry Redknapp lauds over Eddie Howe’s attractive Football. “I’ve seen the best football I’ve seen in years watching Bournemouth”.
Eddie Howe says he always plays to win and has never played a game not to lose. This is exactly the type of Manager we need. We need to win every game and some Managers have never faced that type of challenge.
Gordon Strachan did well for us but sometimes his football wasn’t the greatest to watch. Strachan’s strategy before joining us was always about making sure his teams wouldn’t get beat.
Eddie Howe, with 3 promotions knows what it takes to be a Manager of a team where 3 points is a must.
Brendan Rodgers talks about Eddie Howe’s philosophy being similar to his ……https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhj7GeF7Z-M and Eddie talks about his attractive and attacking football philosophy here with Gary Lineker …. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy9LHfBrSWM&t=38s
Eddie Howe plays a 442 system with attacking full backs and wide players who have pace and are tasked with creating. Sometimes it may revert to a 4411.
Eddie Howe's teams have always been higher up in the goal scoring tables than their actual league position and having his teams playing attacking and attractive football would definitely make him a favourite of the Celtic support.
Despite the comments earlier about Eddie Howe’s young age and potential it doesn’t come at the expense of experience.
There is often a debate on what type of Manager is the best to aim for;
- a) the Manager who has bags of experience and has tasted success and learnt from failures
- b) the up and coming Manager who has bags of potential and new thinking as well as a hunger that the experienced Managers don’t have.
- There are merits to both arguments but with Eddie Howe we have someone up and coming who is hungry but has bags of experience as well.
Eddie Howe has coaching experience from the age of 29 when he was reserve team coach at Bournemouth then Managerial experience from the age of 31.
He has put his wits against some of the top Managers in the game. He has had to tactically prepare for games against teams managed by Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelloti, and Jurgen Klopp among others.
He has had 200+ games against English Premier League teams and has had 545 games in total as a Manager.
Compare that to Clarke (209), Keane (181), Martinez (494) and Dyche (430) and he’s had more games than all of them, despite being younger. Even Mark Hughes (610 games) and the wealth of experience he has gained is only 65 games more than Eddie Howe.
An example of the kind of tactical battles he is up against can be listened to here as Eddie Howe explains how he set up to beat Conte’s Chelsea ……….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9M-W8sy09Qw&t=3s
The good thing about Eddie Howe is that he has experience (with 3 promotions) of having to win every game (similar to Celtic in the league) but he has also experience of playing against far better teams like Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd etc where the objective is more not to get beat (similar to Celtic in some European games). This would give us the best of both worlds.
On 8th December 2018, Jurgen Klopp said “Eddie Howe is one of the best Managers I have ever met”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9DLXknbuSE
7) Player Development
One of Eddie Howe’s greatest strengths is his development of his players and this is an ideal fit for us as a club geared to buy players, develop them and the sell them for a big profit. Whilst winning trophies in the meantime.
Graham Hunter (Spanish Football Journalist) talking to Eddie Howe … “I’ve never met one yet (a leading coach) who is as clear about the need to individually brief and analyse with players
which is an enormous time drain for you but that is essential for your success to be so detailed with individuals and it’s a net gain in the time you spend on that” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr_Y6iPC-wk&t=2508s
The 7 reasons then to go for Eddie Howe are;
1) Achievements and taking Bournemouth from 2nd bottom of League 2 to 5 years in the EPL
2) Potential as he's only 43 and was in the shortlist for the Liverpool role to replace Rodgers
3) Resources and the fact he can punch above his weight as proven by his performance versus market value of the team.
4) Humility and as an example he was the first EPL Manager to take a pay cut during COVID
5) He plays Attractive Football as was lauded by Harry Redknapp
6) Despite being young he is still Experienced with 545 games and Klopp says Eddie Howe is one of the best Managers he has ever met.
7) His reputation for Player Development is exactly what Celtic need and Journalist Graham Hunter he has never met anyone yet who is as clear on individually developing players.
Please give me feedback on the above whether you like and it has changed your views on Eddie Howe or whether you disagree with any points. Please let me know.
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