STAT ATTACK: What can Newcastle fans expect from Eddie Howe?
PA - Owen Humphreys
Eddie Howe is on the verge of succeeding Steve Bruce as Newcastle manager – but what will the club’s new owners be getting?
Here, we look at Howe’s managerial record and how it is likely to be relevant in his new role after a deal was agreed in principle.
Another bite of the Cherry
Howe took Bournemouth from the fourth tier to the Premier League across two spells in charge, interrupted by nearly two years at Burnley, and built up his reputation as the club often punched above their weight.
They finished 16th in their first top-flight season in 2015-16, and were as high as 11th before taking only one point from their last five games, before a ninth-placed finish the following year – albeit closer in points to relegated Hull than seventh-placed Everton.
They finished 12th and 14th in the next two seasons, with their final points tally always between 42 and 46 points across all four seasons, before a horror run of one point from eight games in the back half of the lockdown-disrupted 2019-20 season led to relegation in 18th place on 34 points.
Howe has spent less than a quarter of his Premier League career in the top half of the table and his position at the end of each day, with the off-season excluded, shows an exact 50-50 split between his side being inside or outside of the bottom seven.
That largely reflects Bournemouth’s standing and their relative lack of financial might – but until the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s wealth can be put to use in January, his squad at Newcastle will be of a familiar level.
That familiarity extends to some of the players at his disposal and offers a reason for optimism.
Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Matt Ritchie played under Howe at Bournemouth, with the former pair in particular key to his strongest sides – Ritchie moved north after Bournemouth’s first Premier League season and was effectively replaced by fellow Scotland international Fraser.
Wilson scored 36 goals in four seasons under Howe and Fraser added 16 with 26 assists, while in 2018-19 they combined to set up goals for each other on 12 separate occasions – one short of the Premier League record set by Blackburn’s Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton in 1994-95, a 42-game season.
Howe will need to get the same magic out of his former charges on Tyneside, at least until reinforcements arrive.
Howe’s only previous spells away from Bournemouth as a player or manager have been short-lived, with knee injuries wrecking his time as a player at Portsmouth and no playing time on loan at Swindon before returning back ‘home,’ while he failed to make his mark managing Burnley.
The Clarets finished eighth in the Championship in 2010-11 after he took charge in January and then 13th the following season, before he departed in October 2012 with the club lying 16th and returned to Bournemouth citing personal reasons.
Newcastle offer an exciting opportunity, but also greater scrutiny and a team currently struggling in 19th, and Howe will need to buck the trend to find success away from the south coast.
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