​The recent swing in public opinion regarding Eddie Howe's Bournemouth has been quite incredible. 


Once held up as the antidote to English football's over-reliance on overseas talent to prosper, Howe was, until recently, viewed as one of the most talented and highly sought after managers in the Premier League. 


Since his side's downturn in form, however, the 42-year-old has been slapped with all sorts of pejorative labels, with the most common of course being the football phrase that refuses to die: 'FRAUD!'.  

Although this is admittedly simplistic, a lot of the ill-feeling towards Bournemouth stems from their development from counter-culture, plucky upstarts, into boring members of the Premier League establishment. When the Cherries burst onto the top-flight there was a certain lovable novelty about them. 


Playing in a stadium with a sub-12,000 capacity with an unknown English manager, they soon become the neutrals favourites with their attacking and often exciting football. In the season's that have transpired thereafter, the excitement has dissipated. 


People are tired of little old Bournemouth, feeling that - rather than being a breath of fresh air - the Dor-based side are now depriving a Premier League place to a team who actually belongs there. (See: Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday... well, most of the Championship at the moment)

Steve Cook,Dan Gosling

They're also sick of Eddie Howe. 


Well spoken and a fan of David Brent-esque motivational techniques, they have found a new English messiah in the form of the straight talking, belt and braces, quintessentially English and tactically intriguing Chris Wilder.  It's a remarkable fall from grace for a manager who in the past was prophesied as the man to carry on Arsene Wenger's legacy at Arsenal, as well as being a serious contender for the England job in 2016, before it was given to Sam Allardyce. 


At the time of the Three Lions speculation Howe was dismissive of the links, stating that he had not achieved anywhere enough in his career to be linked with such a role. He was being too hard on himself, particularly when the same role had been conducted by the likes of Steve McClaren. 


Beginning in 2008, Howe has engaged in an 11-year love affair with the Cherries, punctuated by a brief spell as Sean Dyche's predecessor as Burnley manager. When he took over at Dean Court, as it was known then, Bournemouth were teetering on the edge of survival in League Two, with financial issues threatening the club's very existence. 


Eight years and three promotions later, smart investment and Howe's clever management saw the Cherries promoted to the Premier League. Since then, the club have largely managed to keep themselves out of relegation trouble, with Sunday's meeting against Watford marking the first time that Howe's side have started a game in the bottom three in two years. 

Eddie Howe,Jason Tindall

So what has gone wrong at Bournemouth then? 


While not being the sole factor in the Cherries demise - they can also point to a ridiculous blight of injuries this season - the club's transfer policy over the past few seasons has been misguided and imbalanced, helping to exacerbate their problems this season. 


That is not to say that Howe is completely incapable of operating in the transfer market. The signing of David Brooks for a knockdown price last summer is testament to that. Brooks and a few others aside though, Bournemouth's poor recruitment has been harshly exposed this season. 


The signings of Jordon Ibe and Dominic Solanke for a combined £34m are proving to be another example of superb business from Liverpool, while splashing £16m on Arnaut Danjuma for a return of zero goals and zero assists must also be questioned.

Bringing in Jefferson Lerma for £25m is also hard to defend, with the Colombian rashness doing little to compensate for the shortcomings of another disappointing recent recruit in Phillip Billing. For a club like Bournemouth, who suffer from a dearth of top young talent due to their Category Three youth academy, the effects of misspending funds on recruiting players are amplified - and so it has proved this season. 


However, perhaps the bigger issue has been a pair of ill-advised summer departures. Since being sold to Aston Villa, Tyrone Mings has earned himself an England call up and is currently leading the league in blocks this season. The Cherries, on the other hand, look ludicrously understaffed at centre-back, with the calamitous displays of Steve Cook being of particular worry.


Allowing Lys Mousset to depart has also backfired, with the Frenchman's five goals and three assists for Sheffield United giving him more goal involvements than any member of the Cherries squad this season.

Joao Cancelo,Tyrone Mings

The departures of Mings and Mousset were short-sighted and indicative of wider failings with Bournemouth's transfer policy over the past few years. Although poor recruitment is not the only reason for the Cherries' drastic decline, it has certainly not helped Howe's attempts to address his side's slump.


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