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The Eddie Howe story: Part two
THEIR union was more by circumstance than design, but you get the impression that Eddie Howe has found his ultimate right-hand man in Jason Tindall.
For starters, they share the same ethos when it comes to football.
They want to play the game the right way and be easy on the eye, but not at the expense of their defensive duties.
Having both been centre halves in their heyday, they have a strong focus on running a tight ship too.
But what Burnley manager Howe admires about his assistant perhaps more than anything, though, is how in tune they are behind the scenes.
“The most important thing for me is that he is a hard worker. He shares my work ethic,” he said.
“If I’m working late, he’s working with me. And he’s someone who I can trust 100 per cent.
“He is a good coach. We’ve always clicked as a team.”
Born just 14 days apart, Howe in Amersham and Tindall in London’s Mile End, their paths crossed at Dean Court, where they went on to share the pain and frustration of having their playing careers cut short by injury.
But Howe admits it is their differences away from the football field that enhance their working relationship.
“We’re very different,” he said.
“I think sometimes for a manager and assistant you need that.
“I’m the serious one. I’m a deep thinker.
“Jason is a more light-hearted personality and spontaneous. He’s good company – good to be around – and a good talker.
“People warm to Jase.”
Is it the archetypal ‘good cop, bad cop’ relationship?
Howe doesn’t wholeheartedly agree with such a generalisation, but there is a chain of command.
He knows the buck stops with him.
“There’s an element of good cop, bad cop – not much, but naturally because I’m the manager I have to make the decisions,” he acknowledged.
“I think he is his own man, his own personality. He’s a good guy.”
The sense of esteem is clearly mutual, as after helping to steer Bournemouth from the foot of the Football League to the brink of the League One play-offs in a two-year period, Tindall travelled 212 miles from the south coast to Turf Moor to keep their prolific partnership in tact.
So it’s perhaps surprising to hear their union wasn’t borne from a long-standing friendship.
“We’d been team-mates at Bournemouth. You could say we were friends but we weren’t what you’d call close,” Howe revealed.
“That’s not to say I didn’t like him – I did – but we would never socialise together.
“We always had respect for each other though.”
It developed into a seemingly unbreakable bond, although, Howe continued: “It was never planned.
“He was the manager of Weymouth and I was the reserve team manager at Bournemouth.
“I got the sack when Kevin Bond and Rob Newman did and Jason was appointed assistant when Jimmy Quinn came in as manager in (September) 2008.
“I went to look after the centre of excellence at that point, but then unfortunately Jimmy got the sack a few months later and I was appointed manager and I asked Jason to stay on.”
After an impressive spell in caretaker charge, Howe was given the job full-time.
Both aged 31, with Tindall just a fortnight Howe’s senior, they became the youngest managerial partnership in the Football League.
“That was always the talking point for the first couple of months and it did grate a little bit, but after that it got mentioned less and less,” said Howe.
Instead, results began to do the talking, drawing him to the attention of former England manager Graham Taylor, who was 31 himself when he steered Lincoln City to the old Division Four title in his first managerial post, after injury had forced him to hang up his boots also.
In an interview with the Bournemouth Echo 12 months ago, Taylor said: “I don’t know how Eddie has approached it and times have changed so much.
“But I picked up very early that I couldn’t be boss of the boys and one of the boys.
“At Lincoln, I went from being one of 24 players to someone who was managing 23 players.
“I learned very quickly that I had to be accessible to the players and hope they would appreciate what I was doing, but I also needed to have a distance as well.”
Howe’s situation, was slightly different when it came to making the transition from player to manager.
“I didn’t find it difficult because I had been reserve team manager at Bournemouth for a year and a half and then the centre of excellence manager,” he said.
“I’d stopped playing for around two years so the players no longer identified me as a player but as a coach.
“I separated myself straight away from playing. I think you have to.”