Bournemouth are in trouble.
For probably the first time since they won promotion to the Premier League, they are in genuine danger of relegation after an abysmal run of form that has seen them lose eight of their last ten games and slip into the bottom three.
So bad have things got, that talk of Eddie Howe’s position, which under most circumstances would be laughed out of the room, is starting to look plausible.
On the Totally Football Show this week Michael Dunne, Cherries fan and author of ‘Dean Court Days’ about Harry Redknapp’s spell at the club, joined us to discuss just how bad things are down on the south coast.
“It’s been an awful run, I think the worst we’ve had in the Premier Legaue,” Michael said. “Eddie can justifiably point to the injuries – Nathan Ake, David Brooks who’s been a real game-changer for us has been out all season, Josh King and Adam Smith have been out at different stages, and he’s never really been able to name the same 11 from one game to the next.
“Whenever a team has a bad run like this there are always rumours of internal strife, and there are small signs of that. There’s been an ongoing problem with Ryan Fraser’s contract and he just hasn’t been the same player as last year, Jordan Ibe’s been dumped out of the squad as a result of a car crash he had that he’s ended up in court for, but there’s been nothing major coming out of the club to suggest Eddie has lost the dressing room.”
Despite this terrible stretch of form and the threat of the drop, if there is talk of him leaving it doesn’t seem to be coming from the fans.
“He certainly has the backing of the fans, and hopefully the players too: I don’t think anybody would like him to move on. We trust him to turn it around, and even if we go down we\’d like him to stay because he knows how to get the club promoted.
“He’s got an awful lot in the bank when it comes to Bournemouth fans. Also you look at a club like Charlton who got rid of Alan Curbishley when they got a bit tired of him, they got rid of him and they sank like a stone. We’re in such an elevated position, nobody else could pull this off with us.
“When he goes – which he will do sooner or later – we will go downhill straight away. He’s irreplaceable in the eyes of the fans, despite this bad run.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that things can carry on as they are, and Michael suggested a couple of things that must change if the team are to recover under Howe.
“We’ve gone into our shells. We don’t go forward fast enough. There’s too many sideways and backwards passes. Everything breaks down, and we don’t create enough. Our shots on goal statistics have plummeted, and I think the fans would like to see the ball going forwards, faster.
“We’re too timid in our play, and I think that’s what the fans would like to see change.”
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