Eddie Howe has left his role as Bournemouth manager by mutual consent, bringing to an end his long association with the south-coast club.
The 42-year-old – who had been English league football’s second longest serving boss – was unable to keep the Cherries in the Premier League, with relegation confirmed on the final day of the campaign despite a 3-1 victory at Everton.
Howe departs Bournemouth after more than 450 games in charge across two spells at the Vitality Stadium, penning an emotional letter to supporters in which he admitted the time was right for a change.
Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at what could be next for the 42-year-old.
Howe ended his open letter stressing he would be “taking some time away during the summer break to enjoy some quality time with my family and I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life.” Just how long Howe remains out of the game, though, remains to be seen – especially given the high regard he still holds within football for all the efforts at Bournemouth, despite the way things may have ended. Howe had regularly spoken about the mental toil of a difficult and prolonged campaign having affected him personally. As early as January, he revealed work stresses were disrupting family life, while more recently he has talked of being “consumed” by the job and “hurting” at the club’s continued struggles. It is almost eight years since Howe returned to Dorset following a short stint as Burnley boss. A well-earned break from the stresses of the game in order to contemplate his next steps is on the cards, for the short-term at least.
He wanted to write to everyone associated with the club in his own words.— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) August 1, 2020
Please read this letter from Eddie after the unbelievable journey we've all been on ❤️ 🖤 https://t.co/7ouQas89bH
In previous seasons there has been repeated speculation about Howe being poached by a so-called bigger club. The obvious question is: who? The Cherries’ poor campaign will have tarnished his Premier League reputation somewhat, while there are few – if any – top-flight clubs currently in the market for a manager. Links between Howe and the prime jobs at Arsenal and Tottenham now seem a distant memory. Mid-table sides such as Newcastle and Crystal Palace may be more realistic destinations, if they were to suddenly part company with their respective current managers, of course. West Ham, whose failure to beat Aston Villa sent Bournemouth down, could also be placed in that category. After fighting so hard to get Bournemouth up against the odds, would Howe relish the chance to prove himself all over again? A change, they say, is as good as a rest.
A move abroad or into an international setup are among the other possibilities available to Howe when he feels ready to tackle the game again. In the current uncertain climate, though, heading overseas would not be without its risks – both in terms of health and career. Chris Coleman, David Moyes, Nigel Pearson and Alan Pardew are some of the British managers to have recently tried managing European clubs, each with a varied degree of relative success. A switch north of the border to Scotland could also offer Howe a route back into football, albeit outside the Old Firm, with Celtic and Rangers looking unlikely to make any swift changes. Howe has previously been spoken of as a future England manager, but with Bournemouth’s relegation now on his CV, all such speculation is very much in the past.