Bournemouth all but ensured their Premier League survival at the weekend with a 2-1 win at Villa Park taking the Cherries beyond the pivotal 40-point mark.
That the Seasiders achieved this with no fewer than 10 players who were at Dean Court during the club’s League One days – with eight of those playing against Aston Villa on Saturday – is a testament to the managerial ability of Eddie Howe.
But for Claudio Ranieri’s heroics at the King Power Stadium this season Howe would surely have been a shoo-in for Manager of the Year, with his Cherries side playing some attractive football while claiming the scalps of sides like Manchester United, Chelsea and West Ham.
Howe’s loyalty to his players and ability to help them to step up through the ranks marks him out as one to watch but defender Simon Francis hopes it is the south coast club that continues to benefit.
“Credit goes to the manager because he saw enough ability in the squad we had in the League One days to stick with the players, nurture them and manage them in the way he has,” he told the Daily Echo.
“He has been the best manager I’ve worked with so credit goes to him, as well as the lads, who have taken on board everything he is trying to do with the club. Let’s hope that continues for years to come.”
The Cherries host Liverpool this weekend to mark the start of a run of fixtures that would have looked extremely daunting had safety still been in the balance.
Howe’s men are 12/5 to take all three points, with Liverpool 11/10 favourites and the draw on at 12/5.
Win, lose or draw though, Howe’s place in Cherries folklore is secured but can he take the club to even further heights next year?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.