Suzanne Geldard Column: Howe's legacy has already been laid

BOOST: Eddie Howe

BOOST: Eddie Howe

First published in Burnley FC blogs

NO game for Burnley on Saturday means a trip to the Crown Ground for me. It seems strange to think that John Coleman and Jimmy Bell won’t be there. Like fish without chips.

The duo have been part of the furniture, forming the club’s fabric, even, over the last 12 and a half years.

But all good things must come to an end.

Their leap of faith in moving to Rochdale took me back to a little over 12 months ago, when Eddie Howe made the switch from Bournemouth to Burnley.

Having been with the Cherries for over 13 years as player, youth coach and manager - he pretty much had a job for life at Dean Court.

He had a great affinity with the fans, and was hero-worshipped after not only staving off the very real threat of dropping out of the Football League, but following that up with promotion to League One the following season.

The sentiment from Stanley towards Coleman, pictured below, was similar, even before he took the club back into the Football League.

That is his legacy, just like rebuilding Bournemouth was for Howe.

In a little over a year in his current job, the 34-year-old has already made a legacy at Burnley.

Managers have come, gone and complained about facilities at the Gawthorpe training base for years. With good reason.

The changing area and treatment rooms were cold and dank. Unfit for purpose.

Which is why they used to meet at the club, drive in car pools to Padiham, then go back to the club to change and eat, or go straight home.

It wasn’t conducive to team bonding.

Steve Cotterill orchestrated the installation of a replica Turf Moor pitch during his tenure, but the rest went largely untouched after plans to improve the ground and the training ground were put on the back burner when the recession bit.

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Managers have recognised the problems, but Howe was the first to do something about it and made sure that money was made available for work to take place in the summer.

It may have come at the expense of his budget, but if it did it is proving to be worth the sacrifice as the unity the players are experiencing behind the scenes is spilling over on to the pitch.

They are all in it together, and that kind of attitude will be vital when it comes to the crunch of achieving their top six target.

In this January transfer window, the immediate challenge is keeping them together.

So far, so good.

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