Upon hearing the news that Arsene Wenger had signed a new two-year contract at the Emirates, Arsenal’s fan-base was split in its satisfaction.
For many, Wenger is considered the greatest of the greats, a heroic mastermind to whom economics and pragmatism comes all too naturally, Wenger has indeed previously remarked he treats the clubs own money “as if it is my[Wenger’s] own”.
20 consecutive years of Champions League qualification, leading the club through their transition from Highbury to the Emirates, a 49-game unbeaten streak and a record seven FA cups: for me there is no question.
Arsene Wenger is inarguably within the realms of being classified as one of the greatest football managers our earth has been blessed to see. Though of course as is the well known adage, “all good things must come to an end”.
The occupant of the “Arsene Wenger’s successor” tagline has certainly some predecessor to live up to. A number of world-class managers continue to be linked to the managerial hot-seat at the Emirates, though one name persistently remains amidst the paper talk and gossip columns. That man is Eddie Howe.
Howe for me represents so many humane values that I personally value in equal weighting. Integrity, politeness, an innate ability to articulate himself and a rapport of such genuine nature with the board, his players and the fan base. Eddie Howe is for many Mr Bournemouth.
The footballing achievements Howe has had at Bournemouth are simply mesmeric. To take a team from the brink of relegation from the football league to achieving a top-half Premier League finish within a decade is simply unimaginable. Howe did it in six years.
For many, Howe’s inexperience outside of Bournemouth would prove to be preventive in fully considering him for a huge job in the Premier League, let alone succeeding one of the greats from within our game. Though it must be considered that Howe has not had the level of opportunity that a club like Arsenal represents, who is to say he could not rise to the challenge?
Arsene Wenger is a pragmatist, an economist and unquestionably a legend of this footballing era. For me, he is unparalleled with regard to the barriers he has overcome, the financial restrictions he underwent whilst transitioning to the Emirates and also the players he has developed and allowed to realise their potential. Simeone, Allegri, Tuchel: the high profile European managers continue to be linked with succeeding Arsene Wenger. But why not Howe?
Though if Eddie Howe’s managerial prospects continue to improve on a similarly upwards trajectory, one would find it far from surprising to see him considered upon Wenger’s assumed retirement in two seasons times. This is a man of character, principle and all with an undertone of fairness and charm. Eddie Howe – you’ve got my backing, though for now let us appreciate a managerial great who for me will be remembered for years, decades and certainly beyond.
Written by Tom Newman.
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