Manager Eddie Howe’s ambition after the euphoria of effectively securing promotion into the Premier League is for the Cherries to win the Championship title. They face Charlton on Saturday. “It’s the end we all want,” he said, “but it’s not in our hands and that’s the frustrating part because we’ve led the league for so long. We’ll have to wait and see what happens regarding Watford’s score.” He referred to the one point advantage they hold over Bournemouth. “We have to focus on trying to win our game. It would be the best way to finish.”
Last Monday’s match against Bolton means only defeat, a Middlesbrough win and a 20-goal swing on Saturday can deny the Cherries promotion, but Howe is adamant this won’t change the approach to the last game. “There’s a desire to win, regardless of whether it’s for a title or not.”
There will be a celebratory bus tour along Bournemouth seafront on 3 May to celebrate the club’s expected promotion to the Premier League, which will be a first in its 116-year history. It’s predicted that up to 45,000 fans could turn out to cheer the Cherries on.
“If the numbers being talked about are true then it will be an unbelievable day for the football club and stay in the memory for a long, long time,” said Howe.
The promotion has put the town bang in the spotlight and Howe recognises big changes ahead. “It’s been great to see the Bournemouth name being talked about around the world. The focus we know now is going to be very intense.” He’s unsure if he and the players are prepared for the scrutiny they will now come under with every comment and every move being analysed. “But I think it goes with the territory. I am quite a private guy and like to do my work on the training pitch. Even I will recognise that to a certain degree that’s going to have to change and I’m going to have to get used to that.”
He sees his long term future at Bournemouth and is determined to keep the best players at the club but admits “I’m very focused on trying to achieve success. We’ll need to build a different team next season to secure success whatever that is at Premier League level.”