Well Eddie Howe certainly has some great competition for that prize. Although south coast’s supreme young manager has been awarded the Football League’s Manager of the Decade last April – quite an honour – he has not had a full season in the Premier League and has only had four seasons in the Championship with AFC Bournemouth and Burnley.
So why do so many people see the promise of this remarkable young man as being unique and such a breath of fresh air compared to other British managers who are already at the top of their game?
Howe’s achievements are simply incredible as a manager. There has not been a more successful lower league manager in the last seven years and he has taken Bournemouth from virtual oblivion with a -17 point deficit in League Two to the Premier League with a short spell in between at Burnley.
Three promotions in six seasons is pretty sensational. It is a record that the likes of Alan Pardew, Sam Allardyce Tony Pulis, Alex Neil and Mark Hughes would be pleased to have. With the exception of Alex Neil, these other British managers have more experience in the Premier League and yet are probably already looking over their shoulders. What’s more this season, we have already seen the fall of Brendan Rodgers, Garry Monk and Tim Sherwood – British managers are rapidly becoming an endangered species!
Howe though is a young mastermind that Gary Lineker claims is “England’s special one”. It is perhaps a little early to give him that recognition, but the 2015/16 season has been yet another remarkable campaign for Eddie and his team.
I have my own thoughts on how good Eddie is, but his best work is certainly done on the training pitch. Here he feels closest to his players and in the environment he loves to be in. Working with players is the side of management that the fans don’t usually get to see that much, and yet it is this talent that has made the Cherries one of the best teams in the country to watch come matchdays.
Eddie always comes across as well spoken, intelligent and studious and it is his passion for improving players that drives him and I suggest that this is part of the reason why he has started being parted from other managers. Players who had hard choices to make, such as Tyrone Mings, Benik Afobe, Ian Harte, Max Gradel and Callum Wilson, were all keen to sign up for some south coast tuition, because they knew that Howe would give them something extra to their game and look to make them better players.
The club does not have the biggest budget in the Premier League and is always fighting bigger opponents, but the attraction of Howe is now likely to help the club pull in more foreign players that is the next stage in the club’s development.
But our question is whether Eddie Howe is Britain’s best? At the moment it is early days. Chris Coleman may grab a few headlines out in France if he can take Wales all the way to European glory in the summer. Sean Dyche was held up as potentially the best manager in the Premier League last season, even though he couldn’t quite keep Burnley up, but now he is set win the Championship.
It is somehow satisfying that Howe has a link with that club and should himself now be seen as the manager working some miracles. His British counterparts have other targets that will define whether they are better than Howe or not to their club owners and fans, but Eddie will not worry about where he comes in the rankings, because for him it’s always been about his local club and doing the best for those around him – that’s what makes him special to all the Bournemouth fans.