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COMMENT: Football is not the only reason for Howe
ON the face of it, leaving Burnley for Bournemouth would seem a bizarre career choice for Eddie Howe.
After making the step up 21 months ago, from League One to the Championship, to go back now – with 18 months left to run on his contract and the job only half done – seems unthinkable.
But this, I feel, is not entirely a football decision.
Although football is largely his life, so too is his family – one that has experienced huge changes since he swapped the south coast for the north west in January 2011.
In August that year he became a father for the first time with the birth of his son, Harry.
This year dealt him the worst time in his life, however, with the sudden death of his mother, Annie, in March.
After taking minimal time out in the circumstances, Howe ploughed himself back into work, determined to continue to be successful in memory of his biggest supporter.
Mother and son were extremely close, and such a devastating loss has, naturally, lingered. Perhaps home had never felt so far away.
It would be naive to think that football didn’t come into his reckoning at all though.
Before leaving Bournemouth Howe had offers from Charlton, Peterborough, Southampton and Crystal Palace to take charge.
He turned them all down and instead went on to pick Burnley as his next step.
He felt it was the right club, the best club, for his development as a manager. There was a plan. Burnley set out their ambitions. They matched those of Howe and his assistant, Jason Tindall.
Although they were moving north for the first time in their careers, they felt it was right.
But soon after arriving at Turf Moor the goalposts moved. Budgets changed the next summer, consequently so did transfer targets.
Key players were sold just before and after the start of the season and only a portion of that money was recycled in the squad.
It was a similar story this summer, with the sale of star man Jay Rodriguez.
Howe still wanted to deliver results with stylish passing football this season.
It has been delivered in patches, but the goals conceded have made it an almost impossible task, with frustration flooding down from the terraces to the touchline.
He has met one hurdle after another.
Although his answer to the question about links to Bournemouth was ambiguous when it first broke, he meant it when he said he was proud to manage the club. He put his heart and soul into the job.
Right now, however, it seems his heart belongs at home.
I have no doubt that when Howe leaves Turf Moor for the last time, he will do so with great sadness.
Howe is a thinker, an analyser, probably one factor in this dragging on for as long as it has.
His mind is now made up.
Burnley must now think carefully about their next move.
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